Lately, I’ve been driving out to the state park in the mornings before I settle in at the office. Today it was raining but I just parked in front of some dunes, rolled down the passenger side window and zenned right out.
My husband and I are camping on a friend’s property for a week or so here in Tucson, AZ, and I’m taking the opportunity to paint horses!
This morning’s effort is a painting of a horse eating her breakfast in a small paddock.
I have always liked horses as subject matter, although I was never a riding enthusiast growing up. That said, when I was twelve or so, my sister and I pedaled our bikes for miles to a small farm every Saturday where we’d ride ponies all day long, stopping only for lunch. The farm belonged to Mr. and Mrs. S., friends of our parents whose kids had long since moved on to mini-bikes. They were happy to have us exercise the ponies. I didn’t much care for the long bike ride, although I’m sure my mother felt I needed the exercise. Mary probably would’ve have biked three times as far for half the riding time. She was crazy about horses.
I remember the air was hot and full of buzzing deer flies. We rode along mini bike trails out in the piney woods for hours. Socks was a dapple grey, the smaller of the two, and she took good care of me, patiently putting up with my considerable lack of riding skills. My sister’s mount was another matter. A beautiful appaloosa, Gepetta was almost horse-sized, very smart and an opportunist, as she regularly tried to buck Mary off at the first available sandy patch on the trail, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.
Once while we were eating sandwiches at the house, Mr. S. happened to overhear us telling Mrs. S. about Mary getting dumped. Mary hadn’t been hurt by the fall and we’d just followed Gepetta back to the house as usual and planned to go out again after lunch. But Mr. S. immediately went outside to where the ponies were hitched, and picked up Gepetta and threw her onto her back, saddle and all. She scrambled back up and stood there, shaking, while he yelled at her. Gepetta never bucked Mary off again, but I think Mary would’ve died before she’d have ratted Gepetta out to Mr. S. again anyway.
Eventually the ponies were sold or maybe I refused to bike over there, I can’t remember how or why we stopped going. Mary continued to find horses to ride, I continued to accompany her when she pestered me into it. I never have been a confident rider and in general I prefer to paint them, although our friend here put me up on her horse Easy last night and it was sweet. He’s a patient horse, too, very gentle, just how I remember Socks.
Sunsets in winter time are so full of drama! Dark clouds! Orange and yellow reflections! So pretty. I love it here.
Walking in the woods with the doggies and came across this big boy leaning over the road like he’s a boss or something. I take my life lessons where I can find them.
Another glorious sunrise out in the Manistee National Forest, my favorite place to be in the morning.
This scene if from a recent walk along the dunes in wintertime. I love the Ludington State Park!
This painting is from a walk along the beach in the middle of Michigan winter. I love this time of year because there is so much drama. It’s a beautiful time to visit the beach!
Last weekend during a break between snow storms my husband and I went out to the state park and walked along the shore for a bit. It was so pretty out there. I love how the beach grass reflects the last light of the day and how the snow peeks out between all the clumps. It’s beautiful here.
Sometimes you don’t have to go any farther than your own front yard for inspiration. Glinda had it right!
When I was walking along one of the many two track roads in the Manistee National Forest I was spooked by a rustling in the trees. Turned out to be a deer! I’m sure he was more nervous than I was since he was all alone and not accompanied by two pooches!