In between photographing dressage and painting commissioned portraits, I’ve been working on a series of still life painting of bright, colorful horse show ribbons and shiny horsey things like bits and trophies. These paintings are all larger than life, hyper-realistic tromp l’oeil. This particular one is of lux ribbons won at a National Championship, complete with swanky fringe….. I placed them on polka dotted fabric just for fun! Scroll through the photos to see the intricate details.
Oil on canvas, 30″ x 30″
My iPad sketch of the Rijksmuseum from my hotel window.
The art is awesome, of course. The tourists… well, lets just say that the art of art viewing has changed over the years. There are those of us who go to a museum to actually look at the paintings, because so much of what is included in a painting simply can’t be seen in a photograph: the values are more subtle, and the gamut of colors that one can see with the naked eye far exceeds the approximately 256 shades that can be viewed over the internet. But don’t tell that to the hordes! We stood off to the side of Night Watch just to observe the throngs jockeying for position in front of one of the greatest painted masterpieces in history, only to take a quick snap with their winkie camera and then move on without ever having seen it. On the other hand, big thanks to the Rijksmuseum for allowing photography throughout the museum!
How to view art, circa 2013
We, of course, like to look at the art AND the art watchers! We also, of course, gravitate to anything that includes a critter, so here are some that we found, some obvious and the main subject, and others tucked away in the background. I apologize for not having attribution on two of them!
(wish I remembered where this one was from!
Detail, The Nave and Choir of the Mariakerk in Utrech: Pieter Jansz Saenredram
Fresco in the Main Hall
Morning Ride Along the Beach: Anton Mauve
Axel with his favorite subjects
The Battle of Waterloo, Jan William Pieneman. This massive painting takes up an entire wall.
Detail of The Battle of Waterloo: Jan William Pieneman
Hagen:Halt At C
Dogs at Hagen
Hagen: Snappy Salute
Hagen: Waiting For The Jpg
On this trip, I have adopted a new medium, the iPad as sketch pad. I knew I wouldn’t be able to go five weeks without painting, but the thought of dragging a suitcase full of my oil painting rig, even as portable as it is, seemed daunting. The whole routine of setting up, painting and cleaning up throughout a tour that isn’t, in fact, a dedicated painting trip didn’t seem feasible. Not to mention wearing paint-spattered clothing when it wouldn’t be considered suitable attire! I’ve traveled with my miniature watercolor set on previous Europe trips, but it just isn’t completely satisfying. Painting on the iPad is clean, quick, and less obvious, but it is all new, so we will see how this evolves!
I’m trying out a variety of apps, because I can. While. Photoshop is hundreds of dollars, apps are not. So far, my preference is Procreate and ArtStudio, but I’m also playing with SketchBook Pro and Paper By 53. I’m using a Bluetooth enable stylus for greater accuracy and to save the screen from endless finger smudges.
The coolest thing about working on the iPad is the Undo button. I’ve joked for years that when I’m painting with oils I’d love to be able to hit Command+Z to remove that last unnecessary stroke, and with this I can. The main difficulty I’m finding is seeing the screen clearly in bright light, of course. The most effective work around I’m finding is to paint in the VIP tent, which has the added benefit of being close to the WC, coffee and bar…. And the heaters on chilly mornings!
I collect horse show ribbons.
It has been decades since I have ridden competitively. When I was showing, it was piecemeal, just a local show once in a while. Because I’ve been photographing horse show shows since my college days in New York, my career as a photographer always took precedence over my “career” showing horses. Therefore, every ribbon I earned was a treasure to me.
In our collection we have ribbons from many shows, many years, from many countries. Since most of the ribbons that I garnered in the ring have long since faded: blue to lavender; kelly green to the color of hay, most of the ones that I paint are gifts or mementos from show organizers or sponsors. The ribbons in this painting were from Canada, where red is first place, and blue is second, the opposite of our American placings.
You can purchase this 8×10 oil on canvas called Three Ribbons by following this link.