Friday, November 11, 2011

Gray November Skies

Mr "Bud" Clark - portrait painting I did of my Grandfather for my Grandmother. The photo I used as a reference for this oil painting was taken in England just before he was sent out to the battle fields. My grandparents married after the war. I would not be here had he perished in the war.

I am watching the Remembrance Day program on the CBC as I write this. I have never been to Ottawa, where this is taking place. I am looking at the War Memorial and the buildings behind it. Then they showed a shot of looking up at the memorial structure with those cool gray November skies behind them; the guns going off, and I smile. How fitting the scene.

The television cameras have been capturing the faces of our Veterans and it struck me at how differently everyone experiences the Memorial. You can see it on their faces; in their eyes. Some wear dark sunglasses so we can't see their tears. Others show such anguish on their faces it moves us to tears. What they have endured in battle and living afterwards, while their comrades fell before them, is etched in the lines of their faces. Some are hardened and gaze at you through steely eyes. I suspect it is just a wall they had to build to protect themselves and us, from the terrors of war. Some may be thinking or wondering how many more Memorial Services they will be attending before the Lord finally calls them home, to join their friends and brother's in arms, finally,when it is finished.

This is always a tough day for me. My Grandfather fought in the 2nd World War and I have attended years and years of Remembrance Day parades and services. I marched as a "Brownie", a "Girl Guide", an "Auxiliary Police Officer" and finally as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. My Grandfather would come out to see me march in these parades and I remember missing one, once. I remember him telling me that he had looked for me in the parade and could not see me and I had to admit that I did not make it that year...I'll never forget the shame I felt in not "showing up". My Grandfather died the year I joined the RCMP, so he never got a chance to see me march in my Red Serge. I found that after he died, I could not attend the ceremonies anymore. It is just too painful. So I watch the ceremonies on TV from my couch with my box of tissues! We miss you Grandpa!

Lest We Forget

The painting above was inspired by Flanders Fields and the symbol of the Poppies that tend to grow there. I wanted to contrast the beauty of the bright red Poppy against the background of war.

To me, war is good against evil. Especially the 2nd World War. For me, Hitler was the epitome of evil. How evil a man can become. So with that in mind, I used dark and light colors of paint running into each other across the background. I used water sprayed on the canvas to create this effect. Sometimes the water would be sprayed on first, then the paint. Sometimes the paint was applied first then sprayed with water. Once it had dried, I painted more detail into the flower itself using Oil paint.

I have had a lot of positive comments on this one when seen in person. It is 18" x 24" x 1.5"deep and the sides have been painted black. It is still available for sale for $1120.00. Small prints are available upon request; 8" x 10" on archival quality cotton rag paper for $18.00. Shipping and Handling and Tax all included in our prices.

Quote of the Day;

Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.

Saint Francis of Assis

Monday, November 7, 2011

World Loses Another Great

Tribute to a Champion

Today I learned of the terrible news of our Olympic Champion, Hickstead dying in Italy yesterday. I have to tell you it hit me like a tonne of bricks. Felt like I'd been kicked in the stomach.

Eric and Hickstead have kinda been my Equestrian Heroes for the past few years. An example for great come backs and how to achieve greatness. If you were to ask Eric who it was that most helped bring him out of the darkness, who carried him to glory, he would probably include Hickstead at the top of his list (I don't know Eric's spiritual beliefs, so I don't know if God would be factored in that list). I kinda suspect Eric might believe in more that just dumb luck that Hickstead ended up in his hands just when he needed him most. If you know anything of Eric's story, I'm sure there is a movie script out there waiting to be made.

Hickstead and Eric - Spruce Meadows 2008
WWRC Photography
I had the honour of watching them compete at Spruce Meadows in the summer of 2008. It was their last competition before the Olympic Games in Beijing, China that year where they went on to win individual Gold and Silver for the Canadian Team! I remember sitting on the sloped grass at Spruce Meadow in Calgary, Alberta in July of 2008, watching and photographing the competition. It was such a hot day and I got a good sunburn. I actually did not get many good shots of Eric and Hickstead, when it was their turn, as I was just wanting to "watch" them instead of looking through the viewfinder. I did get a couple good shots though.

This one photo I took, I think really captures the essence of the partnership they had. Its like they are both in the same state of mind. This photo was taken just before they started one of their rounds of the course. There was just this fraction of a second where they revealed their unison, their partnership, and their collaboration; they joined to become one. That is how they conquered the courses they jumped around the world. Eric and Hickstead went on to win the World Title after winning Gold in Beijing. Every great horse person will tell you that this kind of thing only happens once in a lifetime. This kind of horse only comes along once in a lifetime. My heart goes out to Eric and those who cared for and recognized Hickstead's greatness. This is a day of mourning. Not only has Canada lost a true champion, but the "horse world" too has lost one of the greatest we shall ever see.

Here is the article written in the National Post.

And another article written about Eric's show jumping story. It was written just before he made the National Team for the Beijing Olympics. Talk about turning your life around!

To my artists friends...sorry for the lack of art and art talk of my main passions is horses and I come by it honestly. Its in my genes. I have watched show jumping since I was a kid, watching with my Great Grandmother (1st woman race horse trainer in Canada) and Grandmother (horse trainer and lover) in their living room. It kinda rubbed off on me...

Quote of the Day:

"Snatching the eternal out of the desperately fleeting is the great magic trick of human existence". Tennessee Williams