Sunday, August 09, 2015

Day 12 - Forty Paintings in Forty Days

After training, after the horses are done up and fed, shedrow raked and tack cleaned, the bustle quiets down until afternoon feed time. Maybe a horse is in or being schooled in the paddock. The blacksmith may arrive to shoe a couple. Other than that, it's an afternoon siesta.

I set up my easel late this morning. There were a few horses still on the track but it closed shortly after I arrived. The special thing about Saratoga is the calming atmosphere for both people and animals. Maybe it's all the negative ions produced by the ancient trees or maybe it's the pristine northern air.

Halfway into my painting I began to really listen. The barn behind me opened the back stall doors and I could hear the horses eating hay, walking around the stalls, blowing the dust out of their nostrils, chewing on the window frame and raking their noses against the screen. An occasional whinny, foot stomp or cough broke the atmosphere. All the while a warm breeze pushed billowing clouds across a sky that could have been painted by Munnings.

Quiet Afternoon, 11"x14", oil on panel
These are the barns at the first turn of the Oklahoma Training Track. I know them well because Michael and I were stabled in the middle one when he had his string here in the early to mid eighties.  Generations of legendary humans and horses haunt this place. Bobbie Frankel used to be right here sitting on his bench, Happy by his side. Do you believe in ghosts? I can't say if spirits hang around forever but if they don't, I put them back today.

With reverence,

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