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July 29, 2017

prelude and bernardo

There is a book of Juane Xue’s work called , ‘Color is my wealth’. I share this sentiment, as color is the driving factor in most of my paintings.

But lately I’d been craving the feel of charcoal in my hand, the smooth way it goes onto the paper, the play between dark, rich passages, and lighter ones lifted out with a kneaded eraser.  When I was 10 years old, I started out learning to draw with charcoal in my art lessons with Abe Weiner. It remains a medium I’m familiar and comfortable with. The fact that color doesn’t figure in charcoal drawings lets me focus on form and texture. Very relaxing actually. In painting you have to juggle form, value, intensity, all the while keeping an eye on color balance as well.

Our neighbor who keeps his horses in the field behind our house is very ill. Over the past 20 years, we have had so much pleasure from Bernardo, a large Groninger work horse and jumper. I rode him once, and D let me help train him, and taught me to fit him up with all the carriage equipment and harnesses. Whenever D was away, I attended to Bernardo’s sore hoof, and made sure that he had enough food and water. Now his owner is in the hospital, the horse will probably be sold.

I made these drawings for him to remind him of the good things in life, while he lies in pain in a bed far from his home and horses. The second sketch is of Junarla, and her new foal, Juno, quite a character already as you can see below. D bought Juno in a more optimistic time, to have a new horse to train because Bernard is already around 20 years old. I sent the drawings off last week, hopefully they are giving our friend some solace. I guess Juno, now 2 1/2,  will be sold as well.

juno n junarla

Juno and Junarla, ‘Come on mommy and play’  charcoal on paper 18 x 24″

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mare and foal   summer 2013

mare and foal summer 2013

We are blessed this summer to have two mares and their foals living in the field bordering our back garden.

There is a horse breeder who keeps his prize stock in this area, other years we’ve had a whole herd one field further away.

But it is nothing like this summer, having them right outside our back door where we can watch and interact with them daily.

back field

horses in late spring 2012

Other years, Bernardo and Prelude have been in this field-  soul mates who hate to be separated, yet usually are every winter when their respective owners board them in different stables.

So I have had adequate opportunity to make endless sketches of various horses over the years. When I was small, horses were all I ever drew. As an adult I have had to learn the proportions all over again through continuous observation, as well as some anatomical study.

It is ongoing learning,  but I am happy with the freshness of the watercolour at the top of this post, which is a product of all the work that had gone before.