Thursday, March 29, 2012


"When other girls were playing with barbies, I was a horse!"  Oh, I love the power of the horse, the elegance and grace, the eyes full of energy and the beautiful mane and tale become a perfect picture.  I remember the first time I touched a horse!  The shiny coat felt silky.  I ran my fingers through the coarser textured mane.  Now I can learn to draw the horse and add these animals to my collections of dinosaur and dragon "full of fire" crayon and pencil drawings.

I set out learning to draw the horse, a self teaching journey.  I bought books and studied master painters' pictures.  I watched muscles ripple under subtle coats.  I studied horses in pastures and learned to draw them.  I bought Breyer Plastic models and posed them, watching the light shift over the 3-D bodies and practiced with pencil and pen.  I became the horse as blue and black ink from fountain pens ingrained itself into my knuckles as I drew.  I wore a callous into one knuckle, still visible today! 

The Carousel in Kennywood Park near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania came alive to me with horses hand carved and realistically painted, a Dentzel piece.  Every ride, I shifted to a different horse, a jumper, a stationary model, all colors!  My mom bought a roll of tickets and brought a book along to read.  Being a one track pony, I had found my favorite amusement!   Riding Shetland ponies in Highland Park Zoo was a dream for me.  My favorite was Silver, and we saw soft pine trees and felt the naturally soft trail under his hoofs.  I watched TV Cowboy shows and ignored the humans and plots.  Watching running horses is hypnotic for me.

One of my friends reported, "I was a horse until I was fourteen years of age, and then I decided to become a human.  That was not a good thing."

Another told me she would enter the neighbor's pasture, full of beautiful horses and run with them becoming wild and free!

I am seeing a photo of a painting by Wesley Dennis, animal illustrator, in my head as I write.  It is a black and white ink wash drawing of a trotting horse and a collie is running with him!  Born to Trot by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis provided many hours of study and absorption for me.  Wesley so beautifully illustrated the Misty of Chincoteage pony stories; and my ultimate favorite, King of the Wind, the story of the Godolphin Arabian accompanied by his pet cat!

And of course there is Pegasus!  I can feel Fantasia all around by Walt Disney where I dragged my parents endlessly into the theater when it played.  The Greek Myth scenes sent shivers through me as I mentally photographed the magnificent flying horses and how to draw them!  Poets and Artists are said to mount Pegasus as they "take off" into creative realms.  Rob thinks, "Imagination is another dimension."  I can feel spring flower petals right now as the Momma white flying horse shakes a cherry tree branch, and the petals fall softly on her baby learning to fly.

 Free As The Wind!
*"I imagined a galloping bay stallion and set out to paint him...[He] sprang like a phoenix from the ashes....I painted a fleet horse skimming through the desert.  There was a hint of blue sky, and he kicked sand showers as he galloped.  There was no background.  He raced alone.  He was the central focus.  As I brought him to life on canvas, I felt I was tracing over invisible pencil lines, like a child playing, filling in a coloring book.  Was the painting Mary and the Angel the same experience only in front of others?"

My earliest pencil horse drawing recently came "out of the box" of treasures.  Learning how to write was much more difficult than drawing a foal frolicking with a butterfly while Mom watches!

Related Posts:  Mary and the Angel (Dec 2011),  What Kind of Animal Are You? (Jan 2011), Dear Dreamer and Escape Artists (Feb 2011), Creative Energy and Thin Ice (Feb 2012) Call to Colors (photo with *Emaus portrait, March 2012)

*Excerpts from Silver Butterfly Create A Vision by Dahlis Roy, free text and illustrated PDF E-book

Album of Horses by Marguerite Henry illustrated by Wesley Dennis and The Illustrated Marguerite Henry with Wesley Dennis and other artists.  Creative Adventures with the horse for all ages crafted by expert equine scuptors and hand painted by teams of artists.

Art of the Carousel by Charlotte Dinger

How to Draw Horses by Walter T. Foster, how to draw series many topics, still in print!

Oil Paintings:  Double Trouble, Free as the Wind and On the Beach by Dahlis Roy