It took a trip back to Kentucky and a visit to the Kentucky Horse Park to remind me of a long lost love…
When I was little, from as early as I can remember drawing, I remember drawing horses. Part of this could have been the fault of my older sister Susan who lived and breathed and rode and drew horses. But I loved them on my own, always looking for them in pastures, tv shows, horses races (on tv) and books. My favorite stories were always ones with horses, from C. W. Anderson’s Blaze series to Walter Farley’s Black Stallion books. And I loved when I made a new friend and discovered she loved horses too.
I drew them and drew them and drew them. And when I took oil painting lessons in the 5th grade at the Sherwood Rec Center and finally got to pick out the subject matter I wanted to paint, it was the Black Stallion from Farley’s book.
I lived and breathed horses and even though I didn’t have one, that didn’t keep me from imagining I did. I pretended to ride around on my imaginary horse and we had amazing adventures together. When I was in the 7th or 8th grade, my parents made my dream come true and they purchased a beautiful half Arabian/half Quarter Horse mare named Tyka for me. I loved her so much. I rode her, brushed her, played with her, and even got to enjoy the sweet little 3/4 Arab filly she had.
Not long after that, as I was getting well into my teenage years, my interests began changing and I had less time for my sweet horses. My parents sold the little filly to a hippotherapy place in Sherwood (these were not as common back then) and sold Tyka to some folks north of town. I missed my horses, but I was developing other interests.
Life came along. I grew up. Went to college. Got married. Had children. These are all beautiful and wonderful things in the story that is my life. With all of this busyness going on, I completely forgot about horses and forgot about art.
When I started painting again (seriously), I had the privilege of spending some time with Laurie Justus Pace. I loved her artwork because she painted with a palette knife (which was so cool to me) AND she painted horses! I remember her telling me at one point (and actually on more than one occasion) that I needed to find my “thing” that I painted and was known for. For some reason I got it in my head that because she painted horses, that was her thing and couldn’t be my thing. She never said that to me. That was just a voice in my head telling me a lie.
So I have painted things I love: dogs and cats, hearts, lighthouses, landscapes, and doors. I truly love these things or I never would have painted them. But it always felt like something was missing — like it wasn’t really me.
And then I went to the Kentucky Horse Park July 24, 2019. And that changed everything.
It reawakened that love for horses I had so long ago. I guess I thought that horse-lover part of me was no longer there, but it absolutely is. And it’s exciting and hopeful. I wondered if I could even draw a horse anymore because I haven’t in probably at least 35 years, but I picked up my pencil and after a few tries, there it was….and maybe even better than before because I know a little more about composition, values, proportion, etc.
It’s like it all came back. And I am incredibly excited about it.