Saturday, March 29, 2008

Champions Now and Future

curlin dubaiGreat day of racing, huh? Curlin didn't disappoint and performed as the bona fide champion he is. Let the glut of Curlin paintings begin! Got art?

All the races from Dubai were broadcast on HRTV today. Way cool.

Congrats to the connections of Diamond Stripes as well. A card of diamond stripes dubaiwell wishes is in order seeing that they're my clients. Their farm is just up the road from moi. I'm thrilled for them and it was fun to see the joy in the winner's circle. Oh yeah, and the big gray is a Florida-bred.

Big Brown hammered the Florida Derby easily and was reminiscent of another three-year-old monster who campaigned a couple of years ago. Oh so impressive.

In between the races, we ran over to the Live Oak Championship Combined Driving. I wanted to visit with some artist friends who were there exhibiting as I'm only mildly interested in driving. Anticipated event is the obstacle course which was in progress when we arrived. As I wandered over to take a look, a horse had fallen over a fence in an obstacle and got tangled up. Who knew such a genteel sport could be so dangerous?

live oak drivingSomeone quickly showed up with a - get this - chain saw. Um, what, no hammer and crowbar? They even put up the blue screens for I what imagine was in case of a slip and/or wayward flailing leg.

four in handThe rest of the team would have no part of the buzz saw and broke loose. I don't blame them.

chain sawsThankfully, the freed horse walks away unscathed from the horrifying power tool.

chester webberAnd the games go on...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Museum Exhibits and More

Yesterday we headed down to Deland early to deliver my paintings to the Museum of Florida Art for their Equus IV exhibit next month. The opening reception is Friday, April 10th from 5-7pm if you happen to be in the area. I thought the museum was part of Stetson University but no, just very close neighbors. Anywho, the museum has expanded and updated and looks terrific.

We also loaded the canoe in the van and on the way home put in at DeLeon Springs. Odd place, very shallow water, only saw one small gator in the water. However, there was a huge and healthy population of birds.

ponce deleon springsOsprey with fresh catch.

canoeingCoots were in abundance such as these flying/paddling away from our approach.

Michael says I must get back in the studio Monday. The time away has provided an opportunity to be introspective of my current affairs, heal my body and fall in love with my garden. It's okay to have goals and desires, but not to the extent of my over-the-top obsessiveness. Being this driven has proven to be unhealthy - it's stolen the joy of painting and the joy of living. Many sleepless nights have paid the price of my ambition. Because there are no accidents, I happened to pick up a copy of Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth" after hearing Oprah touting it. Illuminating, thought-provoking and life-changing. If you're restless and uneasy as I have been, I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Last summer Michael and I dug a drainage ditch in our front yard to alleviate some of the water generated by our Florida downpours. Digging must have activated lots of long dormant seeds of phlox, a wildflower that grows everywhere in central Florida in the spring. They just appeared uninvited yet tolerated more affectionately than relatives.

art studioWell, of course Michael can't mow down these beauties. Oh sure, an elegant excuse.

phloxThey've imposed themselves with attitude.

rosesOur Florida roses strain to compete.

calico catMoi's planting table of tomatoes, peppers and cosmos. The gargoyle is Babush.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Florida Thoroughbred Charities

Last weekend hosted the annual Florida Thoroughbred Charities fundraiser. It was held at the Ocala Hilton providing elegant surroundings and delicious food. As an artist, this organization tops my list for donating.

The following photos were provided by my dear friend, photographer extraordinaire Cindy Mikell.

florida thoroughbred charitiesDick Hancock, Executive Vice President of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association gives a hug to daughter Ellie.

post time usaGene Stevens, (Post Time U.S.A.), Carolyn Hine and Frank Stronach.

todd pletcherTodd Pletcher.

florida thoroughbred breeders' and owners' associationMoi's large giclee reproduction "Harrowing" slated for the live auction.

sharon cruteThe artist with partner V.P. in charge of marketing, sales, research and debt collection.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Glory of Horses

mural mosaicHere's an awesome website: Mural Mosaic. Individual artists paint on separate toned panels and when assembled, it becomes an amazing whole image. A "mother image" is painted in tones and then distributed to artists to interpret, keeping faithful to the tones. The website is vague about the purpose and founders, but the best I can figure is that it's the brain child of artists Phil Alain, Lewis Lavoie, and Paul Lavoie. Look at this mural to the above right, "Trust". Check out the link here. You can click on any individual panel for a larger view of the artwork. It's incredibly creative. What a kick this entire website is.

horse artThis panel is the horse's eye. Incredulous? Check it out for yourself. It's by artist Lewis Lavoie.

glory of horsesI'm involved in a similar project sponsored by "The Glory of Horses", a horse rescue organization. These are my toned panels. The one above was inspirational right off the bat, but the one below was a challenge. See any horsey images in the tones?

horse rescueI've promised not to reveal my finished panels until the entire project is unveiled. Apparently, their first booking is at the Kentucky Derby Museum during the Derby week festivities. Can't wait.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Select Sale at OBS

ocala breeders sale companyDo you think the phenomenal success at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Select Two-Year-Olds in Training is any kind of overall economic indicator? Okay, that might be a stretch but for anyone involved in the wacky, wonderful world of horse racing, it's exciting. At least hopeful.

obs There was even a Rolls in the parking lot. In Ocala.

horse salesRegardless of recession talk in the media and economic crisis speculation, the well-heeled are freely spending at this OBS sale. Likewise in the upper bastions of the art world . Investment in art is now considered an alternative hedge against infla...

horse racingI've been told that my head is in the sand and other places but I refuse to acknowledge the fear inducing predictions. Today was propitious at OBS.

Friday, March 14, 2008


The list of Kentucky Derby hopefuls is gearing up and getting my attention. This is old news, but I was reminiscing with Michael about how the racing secretary writes condition allowance races as preps for the monsters. Of course I'm referring to the recent romp by War Pass in just such a tailored allowance at Gulfstream a few weeks ago. This is useful for the big guns but a dirge for the rest of the entrants.

war passWar Pass cruising to an easy 7 1/2 length victory in his conditional allowance on Feb. 24th.

The race is usually customized with a provision by date, such as, non-winners of a race (of the winner's share of the purse), oh say, $60,830 since December 1st. This date typically is one day after the last winning race for more than that amount (i.e. Nov. 31st, by maybe one dollar). This tactic is useful for the connections to get a relatively easy race for a big horse that's been freshened up. It's complicated but commonplace. If you can read a condition book, you're familiar with the process.

breeders' cupIt happened to us during the eighties at the Meadowlands. Michael was training a solid allowance filly, Continuous Pursuit, who was at the end of her career and broodmare-bound. Imagine looking over our race on the overnight and seeing that we're in against Princess Rooney. Remember her? The 1984 winner of the Breeders' Cup Distaff? The first Breeders' Cup victor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame?

You'd like to exit a horse's career on a win, not a distant second. Our filly's stable mate had unfortunately (or fortunately) become caste the night before our scheduled duel with the Princess. Stated neighbor was done up in poultice and left white streaks on the stall walls. So, in order to get scratched from race, we swapped stalls with the neighbor. When the state vet arrived to inspect our filly, we exclaimed that SHE had been the damsel in distress on the previous night by getting caste as evidenced by the white stuff. We then jogged her as required, and being a bit gimpy anyway, our claims were substantiated.

Exasperated, the state vet mumbled, "looks like another case of Rooneyitis."

Best of luck to War Pass in the Tampa Bay Derby tomorrow.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I decided to take the week off. Shocking?

I could feel the slow creep of depression insinuating itself. The mural, the Hot Springs exhibit, getting hurt, the work, the work, the work...there's such a thing as trying too hard. Yes, I'm the driven soldier. I realize that I hold myself to the most unrealistic standards (obsessive), so I've no one to blame but moi.

Our yard is in a post winter state and I allowed myself to play caretaker. A trip to Lowe's for various plants and flowers and my mood just naturally brightened. Miracle Grow is amazing stuff. The results are evident the NEXT day! As I was trimming my bottle brush this morning, the bumble bees buzzed amicably around my head. They're so shy - if you try to observe them up close, they're gone.

I easily avoided the studio and computer all week.

Monday, March 10, 2008

I'm B-a-a-c-k

Apologies to my subscribers for the absence of posts. A week before my departure to Hot Springs I "threw" my hip "out" and took to bed for several days. It all starts with my obsessive attempts to be all, do all. Just one more painting was my mantra. So much for those best laid plans...

Anywho, I limped into Gallery Central in Hot Springs, Arkansas and was welcomed by a winter snow storm.

snowI haven't seen or felt snow in eight years. Beautiful, but soooo cold.

gallery centralTurnout was brisk, in spite of the weather.

hot springsGallery manager Rae Johnson is second from right. She's standing in front of Jan Wood's exquisite bronzes.

Moi with equine art lover.

equine artI freely admit to being an driven workaholic. Once again, I resolve to take a day to play. My hip now demands it.