Painting Dr Whooves Part 1


How an Internet Friendship can be a Real Thing

When I posted my New Beginning post a couple of months ago, a long-time blog reader responded immediately.

“I’ll be your first commission, don’t even have to wait for the advertising post. Seriously, I believe in supporting artists. That is, I assume you aren’t painting with gold leaf?

Pick an idea from the blog & go to town. I’d be careful with cats. Some of them have passed on & I’d be too upset to appreciate a picture. Horses who have passed on I’d be okay with. Go figure. It can be a head shot, full body, showing, not showing, home team, ASB, pasture, jumping, saddle seat. Whatever amuses your artistic soul.”

Katherine (of Rodney’s Saga fame) and I have been mutual blog followers for at least six years now.  I tune in and out of her blog and she tunes in and out of mine.  (In fairness, I also tune in and out of mine… as do all of you regular followers!)  We’ve sent each other random gifts for a Pay it Forward sort of thing and she was one of the winners in a draw I had ages ago.  We are kindred spirits in an Age, Horsiness and being Female sort of way.  Would I have said we’re friends?  No.

And yet…

Within minutes of me publishing that blog post, she was there, boosting me in the most positive way anybody possibly could.

We messaged back and forth.  She jumped right in and opted for the ‘large’ size picture.  I went off and rootled through her blog.  Looked at various horses.  Various poses.  And I kept being drawn back to this guy.

It’s not a flattering angle. The horse’s head and neck appear enormous; his body and what you can see of his legs seem tiny.  The light is strong and casts very dark shadows.  The head collar does nothing for his pretty face.

But it’s Rodney.  Wearing his Dr Whooves scarf (apologies for mis-spelling in the previous post).

Rodney is the reason for Katherine’s blog.  He’s the OTTB that she bought to bring on and event when Previous Horse was no longer up to the job.  The one about whose greatness she would write for years.  The one whose ribbons and trophies she would display proudly in her house; the one about whom she would reminisce in her old age.

Well, that was the plan.

Rodney turned out to be… umm… “complicated”, or even “Very Complicated.”  His Saga has been going on for nine years now and he has yet to set foot on a dressage arena, let alone a cross country course.  The plan changed to fit the horse, and Rodney became a long-term learning project.  Still complicated today, at the age of nineteen.

But Rodney’s Saga is also one of those horsey blogs that’s survived.  Let’s face it, most of us crumble away after a few years (apparently five.  Can’t remember where I read that) but Katherine keeps writing.  Every Darn Day.  Which is damned impressive.

So it seemed right that Rodney, the reason for the Saga, the reason that Katherine and I got to know each other, should be my model.

I messaged Katherine; she sent me a high-res photo.

And I got to work.

PS I was also very tempted by this photo.

I love the action, the concentration, the intent.  But this horse never had a Saga written about it.

It had to be Rodney.

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