Monday, March 31, 2008

Painting Sketch

My latest painting sketch for my Daily Riding Essentials Collection. This is a quick acrylic sketch of my favorite leather backed German body brush. The horses LOVE this brush. M graham acrylics on canvas panel. Measures 6 x 9.
Available for purchase $35 includes shipping!
To purchase

Lonely Again and Blanket of Snow, horse photos.

Here are two more from yesterday.
Donna Ridgway

Montana mustangs in the snow, nature photo.

I was sitting at my studio desk yesterday, trying to get interested in a painting I was working on. Nothing was happening. I mean nothing. It was frightening, there's never a time when I can't paint.

I kept thinking about my camera. I looked outside, the sun was shining bright and the air was warm, totally opposite of the day before, when a huge blizzard hit our area. Snow was melting, birds were singing...I felt so restless inside.

Robert was cleaning his office. I didn't say anything to interrupt him, just went in and plugged in the camera batteries, still wondering if we should bother to spend the money for gas it would take to get us to the mountains....I looked outside again....the sun was so beautiful...I knew we'd get great photos with that light....

"Hey Robert!" I yelled, "Let's grab the camera and go shoot some pictures!"

His hands were deep in dishwater, washing his model car collection. There was no hesitation in his voice, he said, instantly, "Ok, let's go!" I heard the drain come out of the sink and the water whoosh away.

We fixed a lunch and off we went.

On my personal blog, you'll find many more photos from the shots we took, but these are the photos that were calling me to come out. They're the reason I was so restless I couldn't paint...these were the shots that had to be taken!

The sun didn't remain with us on this photo shoot. A storm moved in over the mountains and across the prairie. It was one of those heavy, wet, snows. I froze nearly to death taking these photos, but the chance was there, and I wasn't about to miss it.

Sometimes when you have a very strong, restless feeling, it's time to pay attention to it, you never know what's out there, waiting for you.
Donna Ridgway

If you click the photos, you can see a larger version of them.
Email Meif you have questions, or want to inquire about purchasing a painting.

Remember, you can find horse art, Western art, Mule and Donkey art
wildlife art, cow art, and animal paintings, for sale on my website.

Cowboy Dreams

I found this photo of my grandson Mark (now just turned eleven and almost as tall as I am) in a forgotten pile in the corner of the studio. It was a cute shot of him trudging out to greet my Thoroughbred, but I felt it could be enhanced.

I scanned the original print (this was from my pre-digital days), added the horses to the background, who were on site when I took the original shot, but not in the photo as it was, then decided to incorporate a cowboy, horse and cattle from a more recent shoot. I like to tell a story with my images when possible, and this one carries something of a universal message for the dreams and aspirations of many youngsters, both boys and girls. A little corner of this dressage riding grandma still wants to be a cowboy when I grow up!

To purchase this or any of my photo images, contact me at Thanks for looking.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Thoughts of Spring - and Foals!

I almost sold this pastel painting a week ago, but the woman decided that she wanted an oil instead. I had to take it out of storage and hung it on the wall while she made up her mind. It has been such a cheerful addition to that wall that I've left it up and have enjoyed it every day since.

This little foal had just been turned out with his mother and was showing his juvenile exuberance by running, bucking and prancing around the pasture, doing lots of "airs above the ground". The title is "Feel So Fine" and it is available for purchase framed. If you would like something new to brighten up your wall this Spring, please contact me through my website by clicking on the image above.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Welsh Cob Study

We have a coming 4 year old welsh filly [Sec. D] and she is so beautiful I feel the need to paint and draw her often. Today I did just that......I did a 8 x8 " graphite study of her eye and forelock, but it was her eye that caught my eye! This study will become a painting.
You can see more studies on my mixed media page on my website.
And when the painting of Miss Maggie is done, that will be there too.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Gypsy Vanner

I am calling this painting done! I really enjoyed painting this one.This was from a lovely reference photo that I found in the Wet Canvas reference library. I am including some close-up photos so you can see the brushwork on the legs and details on the head.
This is measures 24 X 24, M Graham acrylics on triple primed hardboard and varnished.
You can click on the images to see enlarged views. To Purchase
Art of the Horse

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Life sized Draft Horse Mural

I am in the process of painting a team of life sized belgians at a local business. This is me still pretty early on in the process. If you'd like to see how it is progressing I invite you to follow along by either visiting my blog at or read about it here: You are also welcome to stop by Lehman's in Kidron, Ohio to see me painting during store hours in the Buggy Barn! My web site at shows examples of my other work in watercolors, pastels, graphite and oils. I am available to do horse portraits in any of these mediums-- large or small!
Thanks for stopping by!
Sue Steiner

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Lonesome Charlie
24 x 18 original acrylic

Everyone, this is Charlie. At least, that's what I call him. He's a rodeo horse I saw last summer. He was a little banged up, I'm not sure what from, and it broke my heart. Whenever I'd look at his picture, I'd envision him as a wanderer, a nomad, a vagabond, travelling the country, always on the road. Then, this reminded me, strangely enough, of Boxcar Willie, and then travelling vagabonds, derelicts, and, winos! Okay, stay with me here and how some ideas come through in the strangest ways. Thinking of cheap wine then reminded me of a wine my friends used to drink when we were, well, young. We'd put our money together and buy magnums of this really nasty, cheap wine called Lonesome Charlie. My dad always used to say that was a wino's drink.
So, that's the strange process which occured when I thought of his name.

I also debated with myself whether or not to paint the wounds. After much wrestling, I decided to go for it. Most horse paintings are always beautiful, showing perfect horses. Reality isn't always so. Things happen, and Charlie happened to have battle wounds, or whatever they were. So, there's much conflict in this piece. Beauty vs. reality, perfection vs. raw wounds, green pastures vs. being a road warrior. So, here's Charlie, both beautiful and imperfect, but real.

You can see more of my art at

Sunday, March 9, 2008

A Quiet Moment on the Training Track

While racing scenes are always exciting, I think I enjoy portraying the quieter moments on the backstretch best. I took photos of this Thoroughbred and rider one morning at Woodbine when I was filling in for my trainer friend while she took some time off. Often a rider will "back up" before galloping - this just means he or she will jog the horse on the outside rail going the "wrong" way (clockwise) to warm up. After backing up it's customary to turn the horse in to face the infield and stand a moment before carrying on with the morning gallop. This horse looked relaxed but ready to proceed. There's something magical about the light this time of day. Mornings at the track are filled with hope and promise.

This painting is an 18 x 14 oil on Raphael linen board. It was the first oil I did on this surface, and I quickly fell in love! The original is framed and available for sale, and giclée reproductions can also be ordered. For more information, just visit my website, or send me an email. The working title for this piece was "Pause" but I'm not sure it has stuck yet. If you have any thoughts or ideas, I'd be happy to hear them!

If you're interested in seeing some of the progress shots of this painting, have a look on my blog. You might have to go back a few months. As a bonus, I've got some pretty cute foal photos up there as well!

Linda Shantz

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Carousel Horse

The Carousel Horse
On the outside, of a beautiful carousel horse, you see shiny paint, a wooden shell, glossy colors....but look deeply into their eyes and you will see the soul of a trapped horse, who longs to be free. He doesn't want to go round and round any longer. He wants to leap from the slick, circling platform onto green meadows and feel clean air sucking through his lungs.

You don't know it, but at night, when the carousel shuts down, the hooves are freed from their pedestals, wood becomes living flesh, and the horse's wish is granted.

When I was a child, and I visited the carousel with my grandparents, the horses knew I was "one of those who understood". They'd came to my house in the dead of night and I'd hear their impatient hooves outside my window. I could open the window and make the leap onto one of their backs and spend the rest of the magical night flying across the ground on the wildest of wild horses....the carousel!
Donna Ridgway
This painting is 8X10" on gallery wrapped canvas.
See more carousel horses here.
Email Meif you have questions, or want to inquire about purchasing a painting.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Wild girls

I did a photo shoot for a friend a few weeks ago. Mostly she wanted shots of her partner working with his Clydesdale, plus a few other of their horses. I was happy to be there since they had such an interesting assortment of horses and other species in a very nice setting. Having good backgrounds is a bonus for me. I was done with my other shots and went to see what else I could find to shoot when these young mares came charging out of the trees. The black one is a Canadian by breed, the other two are Hackneys (not the pony, but Hackney horses, which I hadn't seen before).

Contact me by email to purchase prints or for inquiries.

See more photos on my blog:

Lori's Foal

"Lori's Foal"
This is a pastel portrait I did a while ago.
My focus was on the coming of spring.
Lori was a horse I rode for a little while at Haskins Farm. She had a filly in the spring, 1997. I visited her and her newborn. One day they were outside in the corral enjoying the sun and warm weather. It was one of the First warm days of Spring and there was still some snow leftover. I watched as the foal investigated the snow and then rolled and played in it. I took a few photos of them. I then made a picture of "Mom" and her foal near a small pile of melting snow. My tribute to "Beings of spring".

Lori's Foal is available in cards at my

and on a writing journal at my Cafepress store.

Happy Spring

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Mar 5 - Elin Pendleton, 5 x 7 Oil of Clouds and Cows

This little 5 x 7 oil was started in the February Riverside workshop on the third day, demonstrating how skies can come together with the "magic three" plus white--how all skies can easily be done with this limited triad plus an occasional oddball color. In this case I added the cool yellow in various places.
I was specifically addressing the values in the sky during the lecture that accompanied the demonstration--emphasizing that the shadows on clouds are always lighter than any shadow on the ground, which makes for a believable "up there" in one's composition. Yes, there can be dramatic skies, but keeping those dark shadow clouds a skosh lighter than the shadows on the ground makes it readable for the viewer. And it always has to READ RIGHT.
Here's the version as the attendees at the workshop saw it--I didn't finish it until later on, and it is now on display, framed up at the Norco Western Art Show, which opens tomorrow with the Sponsors/Buyers Reception and Dinner.

You can see my entire blog here.

If you need to email me directly, please click here.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Mar 3 - Elin Pendleton paints mules as a demonstration

Here's another painting I took over to Norco this morning for the Western Art Show next weekend. An odd size at 12 x 13.5 inches, I painted this one as a demonstration for the workshop last month, depicting morning light using the Color System (even though the source photo was a black and white, and taken later in the day) for the students.

What I really like about it is the color harmony of the yellows, dusty salmon colors and the blues and violets, creating a nice complimentary balance. The distant buildings are essential for that color balance, even though they are compromised with cool yellow to gray them down. Note the darker shadow shapes in the nearby areas, where distant shadows are not as much of a contrast. "As things get further away, the contrast of values lessens".

This one is hanging and framed in dark warm wood on the wall of my "space" in Nellie Weaver Hall in Norco. The premier buyers' night will be this Thursday. I have nine paintings over there, and I like every one of 'em... High hopes here, even in a downturned retail market!

You can see my entire blog here.

If you need to email me directly, please click here.

Hi! And an introduction!

I'd like to thank Donna for inviting me to join this blog. I wanted to introduce myself. My name is Deborah O'Sullivan and I am (suprise!) an equine artist. I have been involved in the horse industry as a catch rider and then trainer. I evolved from showing jumpers on the A circuit to switching to Dressage and specializing in equine and rider biomechanics. I am a die hard Thoroughbred person. I have bought many horses from the killers and retrained them to new careers. One of my own went on to become a highly successful amateur /owner jumper. My most recent TB (and heart horse) was a wonderful third level Dressage horse and had to be retired because of health issues. I am a self taught artist and was strongly influenced by Sam Savitt in my youth. Most recently I am very influenced by Elin Pendleton who I am delighted to find on this blog! I am a stickler for correct anatomy, biomechanics and equipment in equine artwork yet I ahve deviated from my previous hyper-realistic style to favoring lots of color and the use of brushstrokes to capture the emotion of the moment. I work in watercolors and acrylics. You can visit me website at Art of the Horse
I ,also, maintain a blog at Art of the Horse Blog
I welcome comments and any artist that would like to do a link exchange, feel free to contact me with your info! I am delighted to be among such a wonderful group of artists!
Here are some recently completed paintings and they are available for sale on my blog.
This one is titled Baroque 3.
More info available here.. Baroque 3

This next painting is a watercolor and was completed last year. It is part of my training scale series and is titled Connection. Original and prints available for sale here....

And for good measure here is a photo of me and my TB G (aka Giovanni) an ex racehorse purchased from the killers for 35 cents a pound and a case of Hamm's beer to seal the deal.......

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Mar 2 - Elin Pendleton, Acrylic 24 x 30 Landscape

I didn't realize how much time has gone by--but then again, February is a short month. Here's one of the paintings that was in process during the last workshop, sitting on my easel awaiting time to finish it before delivery to the Norco Western Art Show next weekend. This is a 24 x 30 acrylic, and is loosely taken from the area behind us up on Box Springs Mountain.
It is done with many, many layers of acrylic paint, applied thinly and semi-transparently, and this digital image cannot show the depth and richness of all of those layers. I'm almost pleased with it.
There are five horses coming down from the hillside, and they are so much a part of the landscape that one notes them only secondarily after the pathway contrasts and colorful autumn foliage, yet they will hold your attention long after your eye wanders the landscape.
This and eight other paintings will be delivered tomorrow to Norco, where I'm honored to be a Premier artist for this weekend show. Lots of fun and western art and artists whose company I always enjoy!
The workshop was, according to the attendees, a roaring success. The survivors of "Color Boot Camp" are shown here on my studio steps with one of the many paintings they did during the concentrated weekend. I am so pleased that every artist came away with important knowledge they can use immediately! The Yahoo group "Color System" is a-buzz with their new painting journeys! In two weeks, the second workshop will be taking off!

You can see my entire blog here.

If you need to email me directly, please click here.