Updated: Apr 13
I have a lifelong interest in horses, and since returning to the UK, it rekindled my passion for drawing, painting and spending time with them.
Painting the horse is very difficult as they never stand still and are curious enough to have a go at eating your pencils and smudging any work you try to do in their stable. Sitting outside under the sky in the fields works best for me, and then I can usually get close enough to see their eyes' colours and absorb their characters. Then they typically become more interested in the grass, and I observe them from a distance and then draw.
Although I appreciate any horse, from the Shetland pony to the thoroughbred stallion, I find the racehorse a dichotomy of magnificence and humbleness. The horse is a vegetarian, yet the speed a racehorse can run can, at times, reach up to 44 miles an hour, a record set by the 2-year-old filly 'Winning Brew ' in 2008—incredible energy for an animal that only eats plants.
The horse drawings work best with charcoal as it allows more speed and is kinder to mistakes than the pencil. The fields in Newmarket tend to have the perfect backdrop for contemplation as they are devoid of buildings and settled in flat pastoral areas with few interruptions except the dividing fences between fields. I like this as it allows space and encourages a sense of vastness.
The new paintings hint at the transcendental emptiness one can sense when dreaming or not thinking. The backgrounds are an essential aspect of their characters. I am keen to create cathedral-like feelings when you view the horse. Also, nodding to the racehorses, many that leave legacies.
Although all racehorses are special and unique in their ways, as it's all about bloodlines, what may not produce record-breaking results may go on to deliver an outstanding foal with the perfect temperament, speed, strength and looks. Horses slow me down. Whenever I spend time with a horse, I feel more peaceful and want to stroke it or try to be at one with its nature. I want my oil paintings to have this awareness and for the viewer to take some time to contemplate the horse and the vastness it embodies.
I like the ethereal landscape as it encourages the viewer to take a step back, reflect and breathe. The horse acts as a messenger to be in the present moment, not looking back nor forward but just like them to be here and now. The horse works, rests and lives predominantly under the sky, their cathedral, their place of contemplation and rest.
The horse is always in the present moment, and I think r eyes, she realises much more than we can comprehend. Although they do not talk like we do, horses communicate all the time, perhaps telepathically. The colours they see are probably unlike our pigment colours but are more structural and based on energy and auras. All animals have this gift of seeing and hearing another dimension rooted in frequencies and energy vibrations.
Like a rainbow, you can never grasp the horse's attention but get fleeting glimpses of their love.