Thursday, June 23, 2011
This is the latest painting I've completed. It's titled Etta in Winter and is 22"x28" in acrylic. It is a commission for the owner of Etta, the mustang that I have been working with. The photo that I worked from was taken in late March while she still had her winter coat. March in Park City, Utah is still quite wintry! Now in June her face is almost white, although she still has those dark grey markings above and below her eyes. I'm now starting to varnish my paintings. Left unprotected acrylics attract dust which can be very difficult to remove. Unlike oils however, I can't go back to add or change the painting itself. At least that is according to the technical information from the goldenpaint.com website. I'm now thinking more about the life of the painting in someone's home...if a bottle of champagne gets sprayed all over it, how will the owner clean it? This way it will be a lot easier and not damaging to the painting. Plus the varnish finish creates a uniform surface.
I'm about to embark on a new adventure and life. A week from today I will be moving to Moberly, Missouri to join my sweetheart Charlie. The cost of living (housing) is significantly less than just about anywhere in the West, except maybe Butte MT. But I will be 2 1/2 hours from Kansas City and St. Louis each, where there are world class art museums and large art districts. I also plan to get involved in the art scene in Moberly and Columbia. My belongings will be put on an ABF trailer, which will then deliver them to Moberly July 8. In the meantime, I plan to take a southerly route through Monument Valley and onto Santa Fe, where I plan to stay a couple of days to visit galleries and the Georgia O'Keefe museum. I've read that Santa Fe is the second largest art center after New York City. So it would be great to see it on the way to my new home. I also plan to stop in Canon City, where I used to live in southern Colorado. There I will check out the Paint Factory, a Paint Horse breeding and selling facility, which has been the source of a number of my paintings. If time and opportunity exist, I'll also go to the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Center. That center is actually part of an inmate program where inmates gentle and train mustangs so they can be adopted. It's a win-win situation for all. The inmates learn a livelihood, they grow in their work with the horses, and the horses end up with a home.
I will miss the West a great deal because it has been my muse since the 70s. But I plan to make regular trips out there. I already have a plane ticket to Butte in September. I will visit friends and pick up my studio furniture and jewelry tools, and drive back in a 10' rental truck. I plan to visit the Buffalo Bill Center in Cody and the National Cowboy and Westerm Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City on the way back to Missouri. Hopefully I'll be able to stop in and visit SLC and Etta in Park City. I will miss her very much. I've become very attached to her.
I will later post Sweethearts, which was the image of the giclee print that was in the silent auction at the Barn Party earlier this month. I need to reduce the image first, and right now packing is my priority.
Friday, June 3, 2011
In early April I began participating in Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) at the Equestrian program at the National Ability Center in Park City UT. I began it because I felt kinda silly loving to paint horses but feeling, well, uh, afraid of them! So I've been working on that weekly. The horse that I've been learning with has been Etta, a 4 year old mustang from the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Center in Herriman UT, southwest of Salt Lake City. One thing that I realized before I began this work was that I knew I needed to work with a small horse; it just feels safer since I am very small. It has been utterly amazing to work with her! She is what they call green in that she has not been trained yet to accept riders. While she is small (13-14 hands) her energy is big. But there's been plenty to learn in doing ground work with her. She still has a lot of herd behaviors in that she is super sensitive to her environment and really wants to be close for assurance. So a lot of my work has consisted of setting boundaries, as well as learning to read her body and actions so that I can connect better with her. It is amazing to be able to lead her around the round pen with no halter or lead, just connection through my action and energy. I'm learning that horses require that we humans be congruent in our emotions and behavior. When I discuss a fear or concern, she walks up and relaxes by me. Today I discussed why I had to leave the workworld and she basically gave me a horse hug! Etta will be going to the trainer's for a couple of months this summer. Today I realized that in our work we've been training her to be more comfortable with people. The photo on my profile is of me with Etta.
I am currently working on a commission of Etta for the staff member who owns her. In addition to posting that image, I will also be posting soon about the Barn Party, a fund raising event for the Equestrian programs at the National Ability Center.