Sunday, November 13, 2016

What the Election Means to Me

I have a dear friend who's name is Bill. He's our house sitter when we're exhibiting out of town. He puts his feet up and relaxes to the latest on Netflix while his lady reads bedtime stories to our cats. There's a rare trust between us. Leaving the care of our home and beloved pets to another is an act of faith.

Bill also takes care of our lawn, especially during the race meet when time is precious. If I can, I love to sit outside with him for a few minutes as he re-hydrates after mowing in the summer heat. He is the only person I enjoy discussing politics with. Thoughtful, intelligent and open-minded, Bill and I listen to each other and offer opinions without judgement.

Therefore, given the aftermath of the election, I will not tell you who I voted for. That would incite the incendiaries and I'm not going there nor will I tolerate the overwrought opinions of out of control emotions. But I have asked myself what the election means to me as an artist. And over the past several months, I've given this question a lot of thought. A lot.

No politician, no official, no election, no government nor any other outside entity will help me sell more paintings. The most brilliant economic proposals will do nothing for my art business. Nor will the stock market, trade agreements, rate of unemployment or projected gross national product. Here's where the ball lands in my court - I am in charge of my art business and how well (or not) it performs.

Attitude is everything and if I don't fall prey to race consciousness, I will maintain a positive course to success. It all begins and ends right here with me. I have control, not the president-elect. All I have to do is show up everyday in the studio and do my best. If it's not good, learn from my mistakes and start over. Demand the best, expect the best and unseen forces will assist. Have faith. Be confident. Listen to the voice within, not the cacophony of chaos surrounding our very beings.

Today's artists have access to tools that help them self-promote while maintaining control of the focus and direction of their goals. Use them...often.

It's a wonderful time to be an artist,

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Thoroughbred Makeover

We traveled to Lexington, Kentucky last week to participate as a vendor at the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium organized by The Retired Racehorse Project. I'm not an overly emotional person but several times throughout the event my eyes misted as I felt a surge of wonder.

Barrel racing thoroughbred
 The race track has no shortage of critics. Most have never experienced the life and harshly judge by appearances. Some don't possess the fortitude required and become disgruntled. Some formulate an opinion from hearsay. Here's my account gained from twenty-five years of working at the track not because I had to and certainly not for the money.

Thoroughbreds waiting to cut cattle
It's immediate and it's fast, almost as fast as the horses. Daily occurrences are unpredictable and outcomes unknown. Routine exists in repetition that can quickly derail. Flexibility rules throughout the twists and turns of managed chaos. In this environment, there's not much time for those who long for nurturing, patience and most of all, the sweet essence of bonding. There's not much time to accomplish honorable goals with an eternally revolving door of horses and their connections.

Big, bad, high-strung thoroughbred being ridden off into the sunset by a red-caped five-year-old child.
When the horses are sold, claimed or otherwise leave the stable, all we can do is whisper a prayer on their behalf and wish them the best. This is why I was so profoundly blown away as I witnessed these thoroughbreds being transitioned into second careers. Show requirements state that eligible thoroughbreds must have raced within the last year. The people who take them on are keenly respectful of the talent, athleticism and intelligence inherent in the breed. I've always said, after they come down from the demanding race track life, they're just like any other horse...only much smarter.

Thoroughbreds are natural cross-country competitors.

This horse is ready to jump a 10-foot fence, if you ask him to.
Two-time Horse of the Year, tough as nails, incredible champion, Wise Dan.
God's horse,