Another project that I have been working on is horse illustrations/art. Something I did a long time ago that I picked up again just recently. We used to own racehorses and I would sit in the paddock and sketch the horses as they were getting tacked up and harnessed for races. A lot of the horse folks would peek over my shoulder as I used to sketch. It was a lot of fun and I used to love it. We haven’t had a racehorse for a while now but it was awesome. My husband used to drive our horses in the races.
I also collect model horses and being part of the model horse world, you have to go to Kentucky for the Breyerfest at least once. Breyerfest is an annual model horse event held at the Kentucky Horse Park every year. I went a few times and it was a lot of fun. I did a lot of things there, like watch a polo match, that I was never able to do before. I was able to see John Henry and Cigar, were stabled there. (John Henry was a naughty biting horse so there was extra fencing around his paddock.) Some racing greats like Man O’ War are buried there. There are breeds from around the world there so you can see them in person. My personal fave is the Akhal Take. I want one.
The American Saddlebred Association is headquartered there and that brings us to today’s sketch. This was originally intended to be posted on Independence Day but didn’t, and it was the next one in my sketch book, so I am posting it today.
American Saddlebreds, aka Saddle Horses, were bred to essentially be gaited riding horses. They are a true American breed and they have a long history for gentle temperament, used as mounts in battle, performance in the show ring, as well as just pleasure riding.
There is a challenge going on called World Watercolor Month. There is a list of prompts and all that but you aren’t required to use the list. I haven’t done this challenge in previous years but since I am in the middle of working on a project that is a mix of watercolor and gouache, I figured I would post these for the Watercolor month.
I like to do self inflicted challenges. They are good for keeping me in the creative mode. The latest is going back to my roots and creating some horses. I used to draw and paint horses all of the time when I was young. I had a little handbag I would carry with me that had my “herd” in it. I can’t believe I shlepped my tiny Breyer stablemates and other horses around with me and they are still Live Show Quality to this day. The reason why I stopped drawing horses and segued into plein air and other art is because I didn’t want to be pigeon holed doing one thing. I never regretted that decision and the many, many years of painting plein air and sketching on location has made me a much more diverse and versatile artist.
I am not sure I’ll be posting horses every day. These take a while, but I will be posting something with watercolor, even if I am out “guerrilla” sketching.
Today’s horse is a Morgan. The first one I did in my sketchbook. I picked the Morgan Horse since it is the first breed of horse that was created in the United States. The Morgan Horse breed came from one stallion, “Figure,” or “Justin Morgan’s horse. From that one stallion, we have horses like the Standardbred, American Saddlebred and other American breeds. You can read a story about this horse in a book by Marguerite Henry called “Justin Morgan had a Horse.” It’s a children’s book with wonderful illustrations by Wesley Dennis. I still have my original book.
I belong to an illustrator’s group and we recently had an A-Z challenge. I played with all sorts of lettering… I thought of all sorts of ideas, notes jotted, ideas written out…. but couldn’t get anything on paper until we did a Zoom last week and a pretzel was one of the objects for us to draw. Many of the illustrators commented about drawing pretzels and where you could get the best pretzels or whose bagged pretzels were the best. (I kept quiet, knowing that the Philly Pretzel is the best soft pretzel, especially right out of the oven.)
I sketched a bunch of Pretzels. Tried different versions. Tried pastels, tried gouache….
Until finally, my finished piece.
I separated the different types, soft, hard, candy covered and I just had to add a pretzel bun.