Sunday, 27 February 2011

A friendly face in colour.

Having a little fun here with pen and ink work on the computer.....what do you think, am I losing the plot? 

Friday, 25 February 2011

Bad Riding....Good Art!

All in life must balance itself in some way or other, I tend to find. Yesterday I had the most shocking awful riding lesson in about a year on the lovely Rocky. I have only ridden him twice before and both times found him a wonderful little horse....a push button pony they would call him if he was a little shorter in stance. Not last night however, as I struggled with canter transitions for fully 40 minutes on him.  As my difficulties turned to despair my technique went from bad to worse, and I wound up looking like I was dancing the funky chicken on his back. So badly wrong and so humiliating -I don't take failure well in any aspect of my life, if ever there is a chink in my armour, this is it.I dismounted sweaty, with cramp in my right calf and ready to chuck in riding all together....whats the point, thought I, if I am still as poorly as this after all this time? What if I am one of those riders who can only ever ride a great horse. Is that a bad thing?

Anyhow, last nights despair over, the dark cloud has passed and today I took to paper and effortlessly drew a pen and ink of a gorgeous horse called Hudson.  It was just one of those days you sit and draw, no hesitation or indecision.... do they call it 'flow'? Whatever it is I was in the zone.

I wondered how one thing I love can come so easy and another thing I love feel so impossibly hard.....then I realised that this was just the artists equivalent of a good riding day.  Now I just have to relish the moment and hold onto the feeling....... magic.

Maybe I could bottle it and sell it on my Etsy as handmade elixir of creativity?

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Living life at a canter

Just pictures words. Going with the 'living life at a canter' theme in every which way, I thought today I would conserve some least that's my excuse!


Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Art on canter strides

A little project underway, I have a few ideas that I am going to work with this week around prints, these are some sketches that I will base them around....




Monday, 21 February 2011

Sam: not giving me an easy ride...again

My lovely Sam has been giving me a rough ride on the painting front, and I had to start him again. I am roughly back where I was a few days ago, although I hope with a little finesse. I now need to keep a nice light seat until the finish line. Please Sam, give me a break and let me finish in a little more style than last time I rode you!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Art for remembering footfall in Canter

This is for my friend Jane. She says she can't remember the footfalls, so this is the first of three for canter, this would be going clockwise around the school....hope it helps

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Return of the Happy Hacker

Finally today, after many months of 'thinking about it' I made it out today on a hack. This is a big moment and marks the return of the happy hacker.

You see for many years hacking was horse riding to me...the schooling stuff was a means to an end, thing that just happened the weeks in between ..... I swear I learned to canter while out pony trekking, with a yell over a shoulder of 'just hang on to the front of the saddle and you'll be fine'. It was not a collected composed experience, and I am sure I am still trying to right bad habits in the school learned through just getting on with it in big open spaces.

photo by Graham Lewis on Flickr
Creative Commons 2.0
 As a child I lived for a few years in Oban in Argyll. We spent a lot of time driving the hundred miles back and forth to Glasgow so that less adapted family could get a fix of city life.
Not for me the city (in those days)  I spent the long drive back to Oban gazing out the window fixated with the countryside.

The drive up to Argyll is dramatic and beautiful, changing through hills and forests to bare hillsides of falling shale where trees had been felled. The whole drive the eight year old me imagined myself riding, as we whizzed past the fields and the fences, I saw every inch of the landscape was there to be ridden in my imagination - cantering across, ditches, fences, my mind raced on horseback the whole journey back home. Hacking held no fear in those days.

Then things changed. I had my incident on the flighty racehorse many years back, and stayed away from horses a long while after. When I came back to riding a couple of years ago, all I wanted to do was go on a hack, still no real sense of fear. But when I finally did all changed.

The minute we got into an open field and somewhere in my subconscious, everything to do with Sam, that feeling of no control came back to me. A switch flicked, the colour drained from my face and my seat became electric. Needless to the sense of alarm in my whole body quickly got through to the horse, and I had a hack fraught with bucking, bolting and unplanned gallops. That was a year ago and I rode the painful journey back to the stables, my hands blistered with the battle of wills that had ensued, dismounted with relief to have my life in my hands. I swore as I sat quaking for 2 hours afterwards I would be happy never to go out on a hack again in my life.

Craigengillan Horses
Well the eight year old girl inside me just wouldn't let it lie, not at all happy with the notion that you could close that happy chapter.
Today marks the moment when the return of the childhood exhilaration of horse riding in through the open country, either in reality of just imagined, was once again tangible.

The scenery was wonderful through my beautiful Craigengillan Estate. My trusty stead, Trio, a beautiful grey, in need of just the right amount of encouragement to keep up as we cantered through the woodland path and only got slightly twitchy at a creaking tree - isn't it peculiar the things that set them off ? And so with delight my riding friend Jane and I will make the short jaunt to Craigengellan again for great riding, lovely scenery and good natured horses again, very, very soon!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Horse personalities affected by careers - study | - International horse news

A bit lengthy, but fascinating stuff!

Horse personalities affected by careers - study - International horse news

Cantering in forward seat wobbles!

What a great lesson tonight, working on cantering in the forward seat or jumping position, as we call it here - I think they call it two point in the US?  Ringing in my ears are these words.... "heels down, keep your inside leg long, soften your knees, toes up, bottom further back" was like a loop, by the time I reached the end its was  back to the beginning for "heels down".

I have a bit of work to do here, but a great teacher.

As I queried my tipping forward with Kerry at the end of the lesson, I got such a precise pointer, it was magic..... totally at the crux of the matter as only a really great instructor seems to do: "your weight wasn't in the centre of the saddle" so we had a shifty around in walk  "nope, further back than that", cue me shifting back to what I think is the right place "nope, further still" before finally "that's it!"

Lightbulb moment:"Good grief, is that where I should have been?"

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

My horse art: I wish I still had a real Sam!

Here is the lovely late great Sam, nearly done. He is coming along nicely now after a brief moment of  'nearly in the bin' earlier in the week....the artists among you may understand!



Tuesday, 15 February 2011

A horse doodle a day

Even when there are not enough hours in the day you still have to draw.....because you must, every day.  So I picked at random a horse blog and drew a horse callled Gem. It is like a ritual to know you are always moving, When I don't have the time - or patience - to work on a painting it is still always worth picking up the pens, if only to allow yourself just 1 or 2 minutes to doodle something. It stops you gettig too uptight about 'getting it right' because there are always days you will not, and if you get to scared to make a mistake you won't do anything at all!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

My New Domain:

To my horsey arty friends out there, I have a new website address as I finally went for it and bought a domain. Having made it over the 'how do you link your domain to your host' fence, it is now officially working in fine order....I'd call it a clear round to the novice IT geek that I am fast becoming.

And so, my website is now

I have built it on wix, but wondering if the home screen is to slow on opening....I am a bit twitchy and impatient when browsing and I wonder if others are the same?

I would love any feedback or comments on the site so that I can improve it. Thanks!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Sam stands: Painting of a Thoroughbred started today

This is a new one I have just started....based on Sam, a beautiful sweet natured horse I loaned about 13 years ago.

Copyright EquineArtPortraitscom

He was such a handsome fella, a 16 hand Chestnut Thoroughbred, a retired racehorse who was a little out of condition when I began riding him, but soon much too fit for the relative novice that I was. 

I adored Sam, until such time as I broke my arm jumping off him at a gallop. Then I still adored him but was in no fit state to ride even a bicycle for more than a year after. He passed a few years after our short dalliance.

I have no photos of him....not one. I guess I was too busy riding him to think of a camera, after all, no phone cameras back in the days! Although I don't have a picture, I do in my head, and having leafed through my books I found his horsey doppelganger and set to work adding some background in keeping with the Mugdock surroundings that I associate with the lovely Sam...

To Sam, you handsome big horse. I hope I can do you some justice with this one when I finish.....and I forgive you your love of the grass under your toes.x

Friday, 11 February 2011

Equine Art a Big Trend in 2011

I stumbled across a rash of interiors blogs and articles highlighting that Equine Art is the big trend of 2011.

It certainley seems to be a trend in my home right now, although I am not sure my presentation of them is at all what the article had in mind.

Right now, my house is littered with paintings of horses, framed and unframed, in a great big random creative guddle.I suspect if I hung them all, it might take things a little too far for my husbands tastes.

It is nice to see a little crossover between my horsey other professional interest - when I am  not painting ar riding horses I am an Interior Designer - and it did think maybe the horse art thing is a bit less 'niche' than it seems. You know me, I don't need a lot of encouragement to work on my horsey art as it is, but seeing this does actually gee me up a bit.....I feel a little creative weekend flurry coming on!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Every day a school day...

Nothing to do with riding or art, this one, but related to the journey I have started. I am now around 5 weeks into my personal creative plight to develop my art and an online profile.

I now have more logins and passwords than I ever though possible and I am beginning to realise that to a non techy such as myself, this is a bit of an education. To my amazement I know have some limited understanding of blogging, pinging, domains, name servers, analytics IDs and all sorts else.  My husband is beginning to blank at my technical speak, which is a bit of a role reversal.

Somehow I have even managed to link a domain to a host, although I am not quite yet sure I have a clear concept of either, but  does that really matter.....what do you know, it worked!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Four Seasons in One Day

I had a riding lesson today, thankfully indoors, as our lovely West of Scotland climate threw everything it could muster at us between the hours of 9am and mid-day. On the school run at 9am, light rain, but by the time I headed up towards the stables it was lashing. I headed up the hill through a river flowing down it from the Garden Centre Cafe.

Wading round a pond at the entrance door I regretted not putting the riding wellies being on - seemed like bad etiquette to wear you riding boots in a coffee shop, but it wouldn't be the first time - as I negotiated the water hurdle, and went inside for a quick coffee and half an hours work on the laptop before my ride. Nose down 30 minutes and work done, I looked out the panoramic window and Flaming Nora, it's snowing again and visibility has reduced to zero. I was delighted, couldn't have faced the icy drench again but had to sit in the car fully 10 minutes to demist a now freezing cold car full of wet clothes, not to mention a bit of snow.

Got to Hazelden and tacked up Monty for our lesson, managing to get nothing in a fanckle, which is unlike me. I had a great 45 minute lesson with Kerry and finding that now that my ego got over itself, I am learning much better. I have started to ride  a little more with my legs and less with my hands. Although my hands and waist still have a tendency to go awry whenever Monty stops listening but I am really starting to get this and am so much more aware when things are wrong. After about 25 minutes in Monty suddenly started to carry himself much better, moving forward well, but with a spring he was lighter in my hands and in a much better shape. The private lessons are so valuable at this stage. I have learned how visual and tactile a learner I am, and it is difficult to absorb the finer points in a group lesson. Today I found myself feeling the difference of a correct grip on the reins , my fingers wrapped around tighter but my elbows soft, and looking and seeing if those thumbs pointed right at Monty's great big donkey ears.

During the lesson the temperature plummeted and while I sweated it out in 20, 15 and 10 metre canter circles poor was Kerry frozen to the point at which you feel that someone must have severed your little toe while you were not looking and placed it back in your boot, right there but not attached. And yet, this afternoon the sun was shining and I headed out to pick up the kids in a lightweight trench coat. Only in Scotland, I am sure, can we experience at least 3 of the 4 seasons in the course of school hours!

Saturday, 5 February 2011

For my riding friends, a great link.

This blog is too good not to share, I have to post a link for my riding friends, especially Jane as I know she will love it. There is so much to read and see in there I don't know where to begin. Written from the heart and just a delight. Enjoy!

What a difference a day makes.

Here is Hudson once more, looking a little more refined! Right now he is treading the line between 'nearly done' and completely 'over worked'....I think we call it 'finished'

Hudson in Watercolour & Pencil
copyright EquineArtPortraits

Friday, 4 February 2011

Friday night art (with wine)

I am working on this lovely big horse at the moment. His name is Hudson, and he is only part done at the moment.....needs a bit of detail work on him but I am happy with this for an arty evening in front of the TV with a nice glass of red wine!
Watercolour of Hudson (in progress)
copyright EquineArtPortraits
Much better to do the detail work in good light and with no wine, I find!

One day it will all fall into place.

Another horse riding lesson last night, in much the same vein as through the week, and again a tough time trying to eradicate some bad habits, but at least this time there were 3 others to share the work with.

Our riding instructor tells us we must ride with our legs always, even on a forward going horse, and that one day we will get on a horse, any horse, and ride it beautifully. Then we will know what we have been working at for all these years.....and once we get that feeling, get it really right, we will never forget it.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Updates to website and Equine Ad's link

I have had a wee tinker with the website this week, and you can find me here, until such time as I make my mind up on my domain:

And I have updated my 'Equine Ad' too....

Hoping to bring in some traffic and feedback we'll see how that goes!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Drawing under the influence

I have always been quite malleable coming easily under the influence of other people  and things that I see or feel on a  day to day seems this has not changed.

Despite the fact that my intention was to work a portrait of a Clydesdale this week in a more realistic style,  instead I have found myself coming into the creative gravitational field of my creative friend Abi, as embarks on a new printmaking project

And so my creative tangent looks like this right now.

copyright EquineArtPortraits
Not sure where it is leading, but I have been going with the urge to work in pen and ink with just a colour wash. I am going to play around with this for a few days and I may yet get around to booking that induction at the print studio...