Tuesday, April 27, 2010


This is one of my first pastel portraits and was done in 1997....13 years ago. Denzel was a Hanovarian- Thoroughbred cross owned by a woman whom I worked for and I did this in exchange for some riding lessons. I think I got the better deal in the arrangement. Denzel's owner Carol, is a superb horsewoman and a very good teacher. I made some breakthroughs while riding for her that I will always remember. Carol specializes in Dressage and still runs her training and breeding facility in a neighboring town. It was inspiring to watch her ride(awesome in fact) and I stopped many times while doing barn chores to catch her during schooling sessions. She had a retired thoroughbred named Gulliver who had competed at Grand Prix level(Olympic) in Germany. "Gully" as he was known, was aged and arthritic but he really loved his job and would perform upper level movements, at the ripe old age of 27, for Carol, that astonished everyone. Carol used Gully as a schooling horse and I can tell you he scared the pants off me a few times during my lessons...he was a master.
It's always interesting to go back and look over past work to see if there is progress in my painting. Just like riding, there are breakthroughs, plateaus and "Gullys".

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Red Sky at Night

Casco Bay and Portland Harbor in particular are beautiful in all seasons but summer to me is best for sunsets. Sometimes the cloud formations and brilliant orange tinged skies of sundown provide great opportunities for painting inspiration.

This pastel painting was done a number of years ago as a commision for a client who spent many summers on Peaks Island which sits just a short distance from Portland's shore. The client's mother owned a small cottage just up the hill from the ferry landing wharf. He recalled many great memories of spectacular evening scenes just like this and wanted to preserve it in a painting. The view here is from the island facing west to Portland Harbor.