Sunday, September 17, 2017

Horse #1

One thing I particularly appreciated about seeing these wild Pryor Mountain horses was the variation in the color of their coats. The three in the painting are quite different from one another and the painting was inspired after seeing them together.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Ugly Stage

For the artists reading this, don't know if this happens to you but it does to me.
Hitting the ugly stage of a painting. All of a sudden a good plan becomes a mess.
The brilliant execution flounders. There is no hope of recovery.

Well, maybe there is. I've been doing this long enough to know that if I keep working at it I can move through it. But there is always that lingering doubt.

On this piece it happened on the left to middle background trees. I could not see the forest for the trees or maybe it was the other way around. Rather than stop and take a photo (and you would have been able to see the mess) I kept working it. No food, no distractions, no stopping, just trying to quiet my intellectual hesitations and let the painting happen.

It took a while but I believe I came out the other side. The background now speaks more to my experience with the horses than I originally envisioned.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Wild Horses!

Heading home from seeing the eclipse in Wyoming (totality was awesome) I had a chance to spend time with the Pryor Mountain Wild Horses. It has been decades since I have seen wild horses. Ever since a chance encounter in Nevada, I have wanted to see them again.
Through the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center in Lovell, Wyoming ( I was hooked up with Kristen who, through her contact with the Cloud Foundation, knows these horses by name.

A rugged almost two hour trip by ATV to one of the high points in the horses' 38,000 acre range was worth every bump. In total I saw about 50 different horses! They were eating, running, drinking, splashing in water, mock fighting, mating, resting in the shade, and nuzzling each other. I could not have asked for more. Though I took over 2500 reference photos, I had plenty of time to sit and watch them especially at the spring-fed pond. I must admit I was expecting more mangy looking animals. Hardly. These horses looked like they had just come from a groomer - gleaming coats, toned muscles, and full of energy. I saw a colt, a gorgeous 21-year old stallion and every age in between. The horses' range is in and near the Bighorn Canyon National Recreational Area. (Note: the recreational area is in Wyoming and Montana and quite a scenic drive on route 37.) They are descended from Spanish Colonial horses which arrived in the 1500's and herds have roamed the Pryor Mountains for more than 200 years.

What to paint first? I knew I wanted to start with a large painting. The experience was too overwhelming for a miniature as my first piece. I worked up numerous compositions and then one seemed to stand out. Once I changed the setting to a more interesting section we hiked I had my idea.

Detail of painting

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


Track Team
10" X 30"
Original Oil

Pronghorn are considered the second fastest land animal after the cheetah. They can reach speeds up to 55 mph and maintain it for 1/2 mile. This speed demon can run 35 mph for 4 miles. Either speed would clearly outdistance any of North America's current predators. One theory suggests they evolved their fleetness to outrun the extinct North American cheetah and prehistoric lions and jaguars. Regardless of the origin of their speed, a slate of pronghorn would make for an impressive track team.

Friday, September 1, 2017


Adding the whites (titanium white and a little cadmium yellow deep for warmth) is what I have been waiting for. All of a sudden the animals had shape and substance. Though I have pushed the color on this piece, it still feels like a natural representation to me. All that is left is the foreground grasses and final touches.