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.
In the studio, I mix my oil colors on a glass palette. It’s smooth and easy to mush the paint around on, and it’s easy to clean. But there is something about scraping the palette off when I’m done that I avoid. Not the mixed colors – those get mixed together, making a nice neutral for the next day’s work. It’s the dollops of cadmium yellow, alizarin crimson, cobalt blue that have yet to be mixed that I have a hard time disposing of.
At the end of a session, I cover all my color potions on the palette with plastic wrap. I always truly expect to come back the next morning … but many days, something else takes priority. Like the photography half of my business: a magazine’s deadline, or photo orders that need to be delivered, or something. When I’m closing up the painting studio for the evening, my brain won’t let me believe that it might be days on end before I’m standing in front of the easel again!
When I finally do escape the confines of my computer chair and step into the painting studio again, this leaves me to begin my next painting session with the task of cleaning the dried paint off my palette. Out come the glass scraper, mineral spirits, paper towels…. In a way, it’s a mental transition space, a ritual few moments when I can clear my brain of everything outside the studio.
So maybe it’s not a bad thing after all!