Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Complicated Compilation!

This work was a 'significant birthday' present, for a Father, of his four girls on their respective ponies. Usually, I manage to avoid doing human faces as much as possible, as it's an entirely different genre to animal portraiture, and not one I'm particularly comfortable with! The chosen photos, however, left me no option but to woman up and crack on with it. Clearly, being related, there are family resemblances between the girls, so that both complicated and helped, in equal measure!
As ever, there's complications involved in creating a surprise present, and with this one I had to get permission from the original photographers to use their images to work from, being impossible for me to take my own of them on horseback, or competing. So big thanks to Adrian Sinclair for allowing me to work from his photos. I also have permission from another photographer, but I can't remember the company name, so if they chance to see this, I'm more than happy to credit them!

There's a difficulty in doing a compilation piece, trying to make individual photos sync together, in size, colours and shape, especially as all decisions have to be made at the very beginning, and can't be changed once part way through, unless I face the heartbreaking scenario of restarting from scratch, which has been known!
For this piece to balance and keep the eye in the picture, I 'mirrored' one of the photographs. It's tricky ensuring one image doesn't dominate, and I feel comfortable I've achieved that.  I've attached a detail of each pair, and I am extremely proud of my tweed jackets! For context, the original is 60cm x 45cm, unframed.
As ever, I'm very flattered to have been entrusted with such a special commission.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Kauto Star

In my normal world (or should that read world that's normal to me?) I work solely on commission, and occasionally for a specific charitable occasion. I've only ever portrayed one horse (that wasn't one of my own) solely for my own pleasure, and that was Sadlers Wells. I did ultimately sell it, artists need to eat.

Doing Kauto? It's very different, because I needed to do it. He has as yet no destination, and I have no idea what I'm want to do with him.

It's taken me a very, very long time to do this horse, as, until now, I've been unable to rein in my overwhelming emotions at his untimely and unnecessary demise, and that wasn't the feel I wanted to put out there, however much that rage still smoulders. I only watched him racing, I didn't 'know' him, in the flesh, but he came off the racecourse and into my heart. I know I'm not alone, I know that's how so many people feel watching a horse, like him, horses that light up the turf, that transcend the great, that make our hearts soar and our emotions raw. 

I didn't want to jump on the bandwagon churning out his image to cash in after he died, I didn't even know what I wanted to do, so I made a stab at the portrait a year or so ago, but it still didn't feel right. Until now. 

I feel I have to make some kind of statement with the portrait, hence I've included a small symbolic vignette on the bottom right that appeases me enough, without taking away from what is really important, this horse.

Kauto Star was the best horse I've ever seen in National Hunt racing. He was untouchable on his day, and there were plenty of those. He was thrilling and sometimes terrifying. He won £3,775,883. He won the Betfair million pound bonus for winning the Holy Trinity of the Betfair Chase, the King George and the Gold Cup in the same season. I'm pretty sure Betfair thought it would never be achieved. Ouch. 

Many thanks to Jimmy Clark for allowing me to work from his photo of Kauto after winning at Ascot in 2008.

I hope I've done him justice. He was King.