Sunday, 28 August 2011

Wipe that stupid grin off your face...

I can't.

You see, we went out on a two hour hack at Craigengellan Estate yesterday.

I think the wind must have changed in the middle of one of the dozen or so canters that we had across fields and through woodland tracks, and that excitement and exhilaration got smacked onto my face so firmly that it it's here for at least the whole week.

The smile will not budge. My friends and I had such stupid grins on our faces on the drive back home, we probably looked like we were a more than a little drunk.

Tearing across fields on the back of a horse is surely up there as one of the most incredible things that you can experience in a lifetime. The fact that you can book in to do it all again whenever you like - or can afford to - is just odd, kind of like buying happiness of sorts. They say money can't do that, but I suspect any horse owner knows that this is not an entirely truthful fact.

I feel incredibly lucky to be comfortably off enough to afford this pleasure, if not a horse....although I will keep on buying the lottery tickets in hope.

Thursday, 18 August 2011


Honest, it really isn't but a while back I asked if anyone would mind me using their horse photos for paintings. By a complete fluke that I have painted another from Red Hot Ruby.

Chestnut Mare. Copyright A Cairns

This painting looks nothing at all like I thought it would when I started. Realism is not really my natural style, but the watercolours and I had an argument into the early hours of the morning (watercolours don't really like to be overworked!) and by the time I looked at it again in the morning it was either this route or get the charcoal  or acrylics out and start to really muck about.

So the former route got me something finished, I think, although I am in half a mind as to work in a background, but has also left me a more than a little confused.

If it was hanging on a wall in my house, I'm not sure I would recognise it as my own....very odd.

All part of the journey though. I expect it might well push my next painting further in the opposite direction.

Monday, 15 August 2011

10,000 Hours of Practise

I have just devoured Malcolm Caldwell's 'Outliers: The Story of Success' over a few days this week, a brilliant and insightful read into some of the hidden factors that shape success. I seem to have all but given up on fiction for the moment, but this is the sort of book I pick up and just can't put down .

It seems, based on the research outlined in this book that if you want to be really good at anything - sport, playing the piano, art, riding horses - then over and above some kind of natural ability you need to put in somewhere in the region of 10,000 hours of practise.

That's 20 hours a week for 10 years or so. I started thinking about my equine art, and I think just about squeeze that in - at times I do less, at others maybe I do more, but I am not yet 'consistent'. On that note, this book has given me a good old shunt in the right direction and you should expect a lot more Horse Art to appear on this blog as I work towards more consistent practise, starting with last night and this mornings work.

In Progress Watercolour Painting (copyright A Cairns)
If I keep this up, then you can expect to be the first to see some masterpieces (?!) appearing on this blog in around 9 years and 2 months time - good things come to those who wait!

Now what does this mean for our collective quests to be better riders? Well for me, it is not good, some of you who are a little younger or have your own horse may fair better.

Let us assume I have a few hundred hours in the bank, between my childhood riding, young adulthood and  my return to riding a few years ago, say 500 hours all in. So if I keep going at my current rate of 1 lesson a week and a ride on Merlyn, plus maybe a 2 hour hack a month, then it comes to around 150 hours a year. This leads me to conclude that I should be quite good then at riding if I keep it up for another 63 years or so....I'll be a hundred then! Hilarious....start young, that's what I say.

Ah well, time does fly when you are having fun!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Carmargue Horse Painting: Ink and Watercolour

Carmargue Horses (watercolour and ink)
copyright  retained A Cairns
Still no canvasses.....watercolour will be the medium of the week, I think.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Carmargue Horses

Carmargue Horses
copyright retained
Warming up for some art this week absence of canvasses we have pen and ink sketch with digital zest.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Brotherly love: Carmargue Horses

Brotherly Love: Horses near Montpelier
Last in a series of horsey photos with a European flavour..... and this is a holiday snap of my own, taken on holiday in France a just a few days ago (hence all the European horse photos that I have been using to fill in while away on holiday!)

The area we stayed in is full of the lovely Carmargue horses, an ancient breed found in South of France and I caught these cow-boys sharing a moment in the field beside our campsite in between their bull running. One came back with a bloodied nose, but after watching them relieve their itches on the barbed wire fences I am not sure he even felt it.

The Carmargue horses: Friendly faces near our campsite
Other than with each other, they had lovely natures and to be honest I think half the argument was over who was getting the most attention or treats from the families passing by on the way in and out of the campsite each day!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Tilework in Spain

Image: R Croal (with permission)
Part of a series of horsey photos with a  European flavour,
courstesy of a very good friend.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Popping out to the shops in Spain

Image: R Croal (with permission)
Part of a series of horsey photos with a  European flavour,
courstesy of a very good friend.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Horses in Northern France

Image: R Croal (with permission)
Part of a series of horsey photos with a  European flavour,
courstesy of a very good friend.