Friday, August 31, 2007

Old News from Saratoga

I'm back home in Ocala with photos to post. As I mentioned, new laptop - no card reader, no imaging software. Next trip things are gonna change...

hard spunHard Spun being led by Larry Jones to saddle for the King's Bishop.

Another season comes to a close at Saratoga. Sigh. I'm already planning next year. If I can find a place to stay that will let me bring my cats, I'll do the entire meet.

street senseStreet Sense and Calvin Borel walking together before being legged up for the Travers Stakes.

I got some great shots of Street Sense paddock side. He has the cool demeanor of a champ, yet there's something wild, volatile and dangerous about him. Stubborn and ornery as well. Calvin knows this.

for your reppoCinchy "For Your Reppo", another Travers contender.

Michael bet on Grasshopper, but wouldn't do an exacta as he figured Street Sense would pull off the Travers. I didn't realize until later that my clients, Four Roses Thoroughbreds owned Helsinki. The trifecta. Damn, I've got to start paying attention to pertinent things.

peter williamsArtist Peter Williams painting in the paddock at Saratoga.

equine artistArtist Sharon Crute painting on Broadway in Saratoga.

I painted out on the sidewalk for four days. It's difficult to concentrate on the painting but that's not what this is about. I interact and chat with passersby while networking and conducting business. Some of the people I meet are fascinating and I always pick up some commission work. People want to know about the process, the inspiration and how it's all created. They love to hear the stories and what I'm thinking about when I decide to start a piece. Children especially will not pass by without dragging their parents over to see. I have an opportunity to understand how the viewer reacts to my painting and what questions or reactions they may experience but might be too shy to voice. I encourage dialog by breaking the ice with a simple friendly greeting. In pushing the envelope and striking out in new areas with my artwork, this interaction is vitally important to me. I need to see and feel these initial reactions.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Saratoga Trip No. 2

I've arrived with a new laptop but no imaging software and no card reader so these posts will be picture starved. You'll have to visualize and use your imagination. Hey, I'm a painter and my talents lie elsewhere from this tech stuff.

This afternoon we perused the "arts district" on Beekman St. which isn't catching on as hoped. It looks artsy and well maintained but it isn't really growing. It's a challenge to get the race goers anywhere other than Broadway with all the cool shops, restaurants and bars. Plus it's just so pretty and energy is high, it's a natural destination after the races.

Earlier we visited the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. Finally. Akin to living in central Florida and never visiting Disney. It's full of interesting stuff and memorabilia along with a wonderful gallery exhibit of paintings by the Voss family.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

New Cargo Trailer

Nothing too exciting with this blog extraordinaire. Last week was spent preparing for Saratoga trip with giclees and readying canvases for sidewalk sideshow. Can't wait.

Made a run to Douglas, Georgia today to pick up our new cargo trailer. Michael had it custom built to haul artwork. "Blue Bayou" (our trusty Ford Van) is no longer large enough to accommodate my growing canvases - thus it's duties have been reassigned.

cargo trailerBoth did well in the extreme, sweltering heat. My original plan was to resell this puppy for a profit when we go north, but now that it's in my possession, I'm inclined to reconsider. It's perfect for schlepping art stuff.

painting pullerSo, I started a couple of canvases. One is of the oft requested Saratoga "backside", and the other is of Curlin - but now I'm not so sure of his marketability. My fantasy was to have Street Sense, Curlin and Rags to Riches reunite in the Travers (like everyone else) for the race of the decade. Rags to Riches was obviously knocked out from the incredible Belmont effort and Curling, well, I have faith in the laid-back dude. Street Sense is obviously in very capable hands and continues forward momentum. Now we direct new respect to Any Given Saturday. How does an artist predict who to paint and what will sell?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Space Shuttle Endeavour

Heavens, (!) does this make me wish I'd been a better student. Spent the day at Kennedy Space Center.

With better tickets, one can take a bus to the open causeway where the view includes the launchpad. I was grateful for the cheapos, it was about 99 degrees and we could at least take refuge in air conditioning.

The sound! Not so much thunderous as anticipated, but rather the loudest of crackling and snapping. A KSC spokesman told us that anyone hanging around within 800 feet of the launch would be killed by the sound waves. And the nearby fauna?


That tiny white speck in the middle lower third is the shuttle, probably over Africa as it reaches speeds of over 17,000 MPH within a minute or two. A comment heard on TV regarding the incidence of drinking amongst astronauts: they're basically taking off on a giant stick of dynamite. That would make me ponder a glass or two of merlot...

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Middleburg, Virginia

middleburg virginiaIdyllic landscape of Middleburg, Virginia.

Middleburg was a bust as far as this artist is concerned. The horrendous traffic getting there should have served as an indication. The little downtown is funky enough, but the gallery representation I was seeking turned up nil. One gallery that expressed an interest in my work in weeks prior didn't have anything horse-related in the building. Another gallery, The Sporting Gallery, was a representative of the dead artist society. The director, Liz Dubinitz, was friendly and interesting to talk with but not interested in carrying my work. Poop. We moved on, taking a scenic route past civil war history and ghosts to Warrenton, about 25 miles south. More gallery dead ends but a tack shop, Horse Country Saddlery turned out to be promising in the gift item department. Owner Marion Maggiolo was a delight and already carried my coasters and placemats. She informed me that there are 27 hunt clubs in Virginia. Which one to join?

So, the hell with Middleburg, let's get back to Saratoga...

oklahoma training trackGolden light filtering through the trees at Oklahoma training track, that's what I was after.

And it's because year after year I receive requests for Saratoga backside paintings. I've finally decided to, duh, acquiesce. Love the wet reflections in this shot.

haskellOf course I have to hang out on the fence for awhile and drive Michael crazy. A truckload of Gold Bond couldn't cure his itch.

Congrats to Any Given Saturday for nailing the Haskell. Curlin looked like he was tiring, needed the race, sets him up for the next go round. Hard Spun? Always trying, always a bridesmaid.

Friday, August 03, 2007

More from Saratoga

nick zitoMichael wanted me to photograph some well-known trainers which felt weird seeing that we used to work along side them every day. But he was thinking ahead in blogging terms, always the marketer, so here goes.

Nick Zito was engaged with owners, intense and thoughtful at Oklahoma trackside. Did you know that Nick and his wife rescue thoroughbreds from slaughter houses? And the killer wagon?
That's why he'll always be my hero. What heart-wrenching, honorable work. Class act in many ways.

I aimed my camera at Wayne Lukas as he rode with his set of silent, stoic exercise riders. He glared at me so intently I decided I didn't want to jeopardize a thoroughly enjoyable morning. I think he recognized Michael who loved to aggravate him whenever the opportunity arose.

Did I mention that Michael and I were accused of bringing Florida weather up with us? I actually brought jackets and jeans. Ha! It was as if we never left home. Hot and humid as hell.

Below is a candid of Bobby Frankel, no doubt waxing philosophical
about the proposed "Win and You're In" program. He watches his horses train from that very bench at the end of his barn. It's a clear view of the middle of the turn.

bobby frankelBobby Frankel and admirers.

oklahoma training trackThese are the shots that an artist lives for. Between the 7/8 and 3/4 poles around the turn.

barry bonds Michael built in the mid-80's for the Savin family. It's located on Gridley Street off Nelson parallel to the 3/4 chute at the main track. Before the addition of the barn in back, our horses had a clear view of the training track for the standardbreds at Saratoga Raceway (which by the way has a casino). The trotters train all day long and our horses thought if was fascinating, faces stuck in the back stall windows. Barclay Tagg was in it for awhile and now it's occupied by Barry Bonds. The old haunt is holding up well.

barclay taggIt's a long walk down the street to the main track to train. Amidst traffic and all which is now closed to through traffic. Can't tell you how many horses moi walked down this street to the track - and to the paddock.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Scenes of Broadway

Those of you who've enjoyed strolling the sidewalks of Broadway in the heart of Saratoga Springs, New York, know what a lovely experience it is. Funky shops, trendy restaurants, bookstores and all manner of hipness line a beautifully maintained street replete with lush landscaping.

If only downtown Ocala could look this divine, I'd stay home in the summers...

new yorkThis is the entrance to the historic Adelphi Hotel. It's rumored that a healthy population of bats inhabit the belfry. I believe it. Years back, a painting of mine was exhibited in the business almost directly across the street. When I retrieved it, there was a little bat asleep and hanging from the top stretcher bar. The concierge was mortified but I knew it was a symbol of my official initiation into the milieu of Saratoga summers.

horse artSaratoga has extended the painted horses project, just like our Horse Fever community project here in Ocala. Fresh horses are positioned up and down the street and around town. This one was my favorite, the cave design rendered in earth tones.

This is one of many, many Victorian mansions. Such grand old ladies decked out in summer finery. This one is imposing at the corner of Broadway and Circular Drive.

horse racingAfter some time, frequent visits to a favorite place generates wonderful friendships with the locals. Our good friends, Steve and Mandy and our newest good friend, Julia Rose.