Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The art of Kate Dardine

I'm Kate Dardine, and I am happy to have been invited to be a part of this blog with my fellow equine artists.

I was born and raised in Norwalk, Connecticut and spent my childhood exploring the wooded area surrounding my home. I voraciously read the Audubon Encyclopedia from cover to cover (all 12 volumes!), learning to identify and draw the birds and animals I quietly observed. But I wasn’t satisfied – there were no horses in either the Audubon Encyclodedia or my neighborhood! So I begged my mother to take me to horse shows (we went every year to the famous Ox Ridge Horse Show in New Canaan, Connecticut) where I would bask in the sights and the smells.

When I was a teenager, I worked at a local riding stable where I would get to ride in exchange for mucking out stalls and brushing horses. My dream of owning a horse of my own finally came when I was 35, living in Colorado. I purchased an old half-mustang gelding named Buck, who was, appropriately enough, a buckskin. It was with Buck that I started to learn to really communicate with a horse. Since then I’ve had the privilege of sharing my life with many horses, some of whom have lived out their final years with me, some who have moved on to other families.

My time spent with horses has taught me humility, patience, courage, perseverance, sacrifice, confidence, trust and much, much more. To me, there is a spiritual side to the horse-human relationship. Horses, if you listen, have much to say about the world in which we live. They are a connection to the natural rhythms of the universe, and are aware in a way that I think the ancient ones were aware, on a more intuitive level. In today’s culture of consumerism, computers, cars and cell phones, we are often doing two or three tasks at once, all the while thinking ahead to what else needs to be done. Many of us work all day in buildings with no windows. We live in a state of disconnect.

Living and working with horses, one learns to re-connect, to live in the moment. To be aware of the signals you are sending out, through your thoughts and your body language. To be aware of the signals your horse is communicating to you; the flick of an ear, the swish of a tail, a subtle turning of the head toward or away from you. To truly experience horsemanship, one must clear the mind of clutter and chatter, and learn to breathe and move in unison with the horse. Riding is not an act of domination and subjugation, rather, it is an intricate dance, in which both human and horse are willing partners.

In my current work, which I call Equine Inspiration, it is this very mindful-ness that I strive to accomplish in my painting. To let the equine image act as a metaphor for reconnecting to the pulse of the natural world. To shrug off the stress, the fear, the ambivalence and the apathy of the modern world. Each painting is a journey, as I explore thoughts and feelings and let my horse-muse lead me to new discovery.
To view my work, please visit You can also email me at 10% of all proceeds from sales from my website benefits Colorado Thoroughbred Rescue.

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