I’ve finished two paintings of horses over at the Jackson Hole Horse Rescue (say that three times fast!). I recently started volunteering with the horses which has led me to sketch and paint them. It is such a privilege to be around these beautiful graceful animals.
I’ve discovered my favorite thing to do with horses is not to ride them, or brush out a mane, but to sketch them. That’s my way of capturing the world around me, of absorbing it. I can look at a painting I did standing next to the Seine in Paris and the painting takes me back to that moment. It’s no wonder because it takes a couple of hours to do a small plein air painting so basically I’m staring at my subject and intensely studying it for two hours. I can even remember the weather and how the day felt.
So it’s understandable that I enjoy sketching horses from life. I walk out into the middle of the pasture with my sketchbook and pencils. And a few treats in my pocket. Those horses will do anything for treats. All but the shyest walk up to me and see what I’m doing. And I’m not fooling myself, they also think there’s a chance for a treat. I know I’ll remember these sketching sessions out in the warm sunlight when the ground is covered in 3 feet of snow and the horses have gone to winter pasture.
These two paintings you see sitting on my easel were painted using a combination of photos and sketches. And as I sketch more and more, I’ll build up my knowledge of the horses form. I always like challenging myself and this is a challenge I’m enjoying.
This time of year, every year, there is a fundraising campaign in Jackson where donations are matched by 50%. So it’s the perfect time for me to sell some of my work to benefit the horses at the Jackson Hole Horse Rescue. The JHHR is a place for neglected, abused, and elderly horses. Most of the horses can be trained or nursed back to health and then hopefully adopted into a caring home. This makes room for new horses to be rescued and cared for.
As I write this I’ve already sold one to a collector in Houston which I’m thrilled about.
When we built this house in Jackson Hole next to a ranch, we had no idea that we were also next door to the Jackson Hole Horse Rescue. I’ve watched the horses through the windows for the last couple of years and then as I learned more about the rescue operation, I wanted to be involved. Like many volunteer activities, I am the one being blessed by the time spent with the horses.