Several readers have asked questions about the painting “Spanish Quadrille” which I used on my Christmas card.
The inspiration came during a trip to Spain in the 1980’s. I was doing some photography work for the Spanish Tourism Bureau, and the assignment on this trip was the Feria Del Caballo in Jerez de la Frontera. (Jerez was the site of the World Equestrian Games in 2002.) This feria is all about Spanish horses, Spanish wine and Spanish dancing…. Talk about a peach of an assignment, huh? Did I mention that most of the Spanish horses were ridden by handsome Spanish men? During the day there was a big, multi-faceted horse show going on, with classes for breed horses and carriage classes for everything up to a six-horse hitch. On the avenues of the fair ground, caballeros would parade their Andalusian horses up and down the lanes, stopping for beverages in front of the casetas set up by the various wineries, many of which specialize in Spanish sherry, known locally as Jerez. Watching – and being watched – were women and girls dressed in their colorful Flamenco dresses.
In the evening there were exhibitions at the Spanish National School (Fundation Real Escuela del Arte Ecuestre). They included a performance by the riders of the school, who rode an 8 horse quadrille in perfect synchronization, and showed airs above the ground both under saddle and in hand. And one of the highlights for me was this performance of caballeros with senioritas riding pillion.
We were given wonderful locations to shoot from: the Royal Box is just above the centerline of the arena. But it was night, it was under ambient light and the film was pushed to its limits to capture the action in the low light. But there is a certain magic to them that keeps inspiring me to paint from them, even though there is little detail and a great deal of grain in them.
This painting is now available as a print, in either 8″x16″ or 12″x24″ sizes. The original hangs in my house…. Contact me if you’d like to convince me to sell it!