HORSE: Born to Run

HORSE: Born to Run, Oil on linen, 30X30.

Michelangelo was quoted as saying ‘Every block of stone has  has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” This painting indeed made that impression on me. 

My intention was to paint a picture of horses running wildly across a prairie kicking up sand. I worked on the painting changing colors and images for quite a while, but it just didn’t seem to work for me. One day I just sat down in front of it and began talking to the painting. “What do you want me to do?” I feel the spirit of the horses joy in and freedom in taking off running while at my friend’s horse farm and want to translate that on this stretched linen.

I got up and grabbed some charcoal and just began making gestures on the canvas with the intention of wiping it all out and beginning from scratch. However, as I sketched, I was compelled again to pick up my paint brush and mix up my favorite colors of siennas and ochres of which Roussillon in Provence is so famous, and a few hours later this painting of horses emerged.

Sometimes you have to stop thinking and just let feelings take over.  That can be a lot harder than one thinks.

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Spirit of the Wild Horses, Acrylic on linen, 30X30, $675.

Spirit of the Wild Horses, Acrylic on linen, 30X30, $675.

W.C. Fields once said, “Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.” Wish we all had more ‘horse sense’. There is something about horses that draws us to them. They have the most beautiful shaped bodies that in motion mesmerizes me. Even the motion of standing and looking back at me, makes my heart skip a beat.

Another reason I’m fascinated with horses is because I’ve never heard of one horse killing another. However, at least in movies, I’ve seen them helping each other. Right there is a lot we could learn.

Horses respond to us. They think about what we need. This thought is primal in Horse Therapy.

Horse therapy is the discipline of using horses to provide  experiences to promote emotional growth.  Horse therapists use horses in activities in order to achieve goals that enhance physical, emotional, social, cognitive, behavioral and educational skills for people who have disabilities as well as emotional problems. The horses provide a way for persons who have had a traumatic experience or disabilities to react when they are otherwise therapy resistant.

I watched a program on PBS last year that showed a horse therapy program where the instructor had the horse stand in the middle of an arena. The person was supposed to get the horse to move outside of a large circle without touching the horse. Many of the students often clap, whistle, yell, but none of that is successful. The lesson to learn is when others, be it parents, friends, counselors or associates, try and get us to do something the best way is probably not yelling, or forcing, but relating to the other party in a positive manner.

I have friends who own Clearwind Farm in Winston-Salem, where they use horses to facilitate emotional growth and learning through Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP). EAP’s focus is to involve clients in activities with horses to learn and apply non-verbal communication skills.

What makes horses perfect in this venture is they are large and powerful. For those who need to overcome some fear and become more confident, working with and being able to communicate with this powerful animal gives them self-confidence.

The artwork, Spirit of the Wild Horses, will be in the exhibit, Art of the Horse, at Fine Art Carolina in Mebane, NC. The opening reception is Friday, May 3, 7-9 pm.