Monday, November 29, 2010

Photos, photos everywhere, and not a Belgian to be found...

It's 1:00 in the morning, and I have been roused from my bed by a haunting vision of two Belgian mares standing in a meadow.  Seriously.  These two mares were the subject of a photo shoot back in the spring of 2010, and one of the bargains struck with the owner (before he allowed me to go slogging in knee high mud through his fields) was that I would send him a print of one of the paintings I would create featuring his two lovely horses.  "Tempest" was actually inspired by this photo shoot - although it looks nothing like a calm, placid 15 year old Belgian mare contentedly nibbling at her hay.  I hesitate to send him a print of one of his mares looking like a wild beastie from a Walter Farley novel.

(Here is the finished "Tempest", btw.  Turn it on it's side and squint your eyes, and you can just see a quiet, elderly mare with a slight breeze ruffling her mane.  Such is the magic of art.)

"Tempest"  © Joanna Zeller Quentin 2010.  All Right Reserved.

But, alas, the end of the year is fast approaching, and my plan of delivering a small painting to this gentlemen is in peril... because I can't find the darn photographs.  Here in my studio I have thousands of photos.  Hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of shots - mostly horses (followed by birds and then big cats and then everything else), all sorted and catalogued by subject.  Want a rodeo scene?  Check.  Want a picture of kids with their ponies?  Got it.  Want a Saddlebred just stepping into the sunlight with a glittering ribbon pinned to her bridle?  Here you go!  Jumpers and dressage and reining and lungeing, I've got them all.  All reference shots, and all mine.  But 23 pictures of two mares, a field, an old man who would have fit perfectly in the last century puttering around his farmyard, sweet shots of plowed earth, broken cornstalks and rich, heavy, black Illinois topsoil?  I have no idea where they went.  And now it will drive me crazy.

It does, however, give me an excuse to pull open my heavy filing cabinet drawers, grab a handful of pictures, and dream.  Here's a painting, and here's a painting, and here's an etching, a drawing, a watercolor.  In my hands I hold the promise of so much great art!  Magical moments where the light and shadow have come together with the action and the sentiment and the pure equine form - and somewhere buried in all of that is exactly what I'm trying to say with my paintings and drawings.  Look at this creature, this thing, this miracle, this wild, four legged spirit partnered with man to do amazing and athletic things.  Look at him jump and race and run.  Look at him cut cattle or execute a canter pirouette.  Look at him safely cart children around the field or step into the show ring before thousands of spectators in a world class competitive setting.  And look at the relationship forged between man and beast.  We can guide a half ton animal around with a piece of leather.  We can ask him to jump over 5' fences.  We can watch him separate cattle from the herd or chase a ball around while his rider swings a large stick in the air.  We can put him in a starting gate, throw the doors open, and expect him to fly down a dirt track, striving to vanquish every other horse on the field.

Painting after painting after painting.  Photograph after photograph after photograph.  Idea after idea after idea, until finally the idea becomes inspiration, and the inspiration translates to the art.

NEW!  "Colors of the Wind" © Joanna Zeller Quentin 2010.  All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Florestan I by Sheona Hamilton-Grant

Mention Florestan and you automatically mention: success, beauty, quality and ... history.
Florestan I is a German Warmblood (Rheinland) breading stallion with amazing statistics.

Since 1989, this Fidelio-Rheingold son has sired over 5000 mares (yep three 0's after the 5) which has resulted in the following historical statistics. (Actually, I have it from good authority that he is so successful that it is near impossible to count all of his offspring...)

55 registered sons in the Stallion registry
200 State premium mares in Germany alone.
Approximately 2000 show horses registered at the German National Equestrian Federation.
1.2 Million Euros life time earnings.

A bronze statue of Florestan I can also be found in Wickrath Germany

Knowing all this, you can now all fully understand the honour and the excitement I experienced last spring when I was given, not only a private photo-shoot with the star but also the request to draw a portrait of him. (A great big thank you to Andrea Stricker, his groom and rider, for her time.)

I went for something different.
I wanted to steer away from the classic head-shot.
I was looking to portray the cheeky, clever, smart and inventive horse that he his.

His professionalism was amazing.
Like a model, he enjoyed every moment spent in front of the camera and gave me pose after pose, spoiling me with workable material.

However, it wasn't until I caught him off guard that I knew I had my moment, my portrait.
A glimpse of the normal, ever inventive, young at heart champion sire.

This pose captures everything: his beauty, presence , charisma and character.
At 24 he's far from feeling or looking his age and has definitely mastered the art of holding on...

"Holding On"
Pencil on Paper. 29x40 cm

Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved.

More of my work can be viewed at

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Still Life With Black Horse ~~ Painting a Dog a Day by Kimberly Kelly Santini

Here is one of my all-time favorite paintings, "Still Life With Black Horse," 10" x 24", acrylics on gallery stretched canvas, $479. I have loved this one since the moment I shot the reference photo and began painting in my mind's eye.

"Still Life" has been exhibited and won numerous awards. It even earned me the moniker of "The Lady Who Paints Horse's Butts." (By the way, there is a PG and an R rated version of this nickname.)

But it is still looking for a home.

Might that be yours? (email me if so!)

The painting is a great shape and can be tucked into a smaller space very easily - but don't be fooled. It has a strong presence and will become a conversation starter.

"Is that a horse's butt?"

Just imagine your snappy comeback!

Since today I am a slave to the book manuscript, I figured that I would share one of my favs. You can see a larger version/view here. Enjoy!!

Thanks for looking at, and sharing, my artwork with your friends and family -

Can You Hear the Flies Buzzing?

When this painting hung in the studio, I swear there was always the drone of a horsefly.

"Swish," 22" x 28", acrylics on gallery stretched canvas, $919.

Another reason why I'm "The Lady Who Paints Horses Butts."

This painting has been around the block as well, racking up all sorts of awards. "Swish" was also published in the inauguralRicheson 75 International Landscape & Exteriorspublication.

But he's ready to settle down, now, and find a new home too.

Please let me know if you are know of a good place!

Inquiries may always come to me.