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.


Pricing of Art Work

Well this is bloody difficult… Put a value on my own work? My own time?

It should be easy, right?  I earn €10/hour approx for my horse job, so I’m aiming to give myself the same rate for my artwork. Ten euros per hour isn’t much…  But then I can spend hours and hours on some intricate detail (Like a scarf. More anon) and I daren’t even think about totting up how many hours I spent on a piece.  Better to chalk it (lol. pun intended) down to a development process and a new technique learned.

With the aim of earning €10/hour, I’ve come up with the following rates for commissioned horse and dog portraits.

A4 pencil sketch – €40


Small (18x24cm) pastel painting – €60

Medium (24x30cm) pastel painting – €100

Desert Storm

Large (30x40cm) pastel painting – €150

Dr Hooves

In general, portraits are head and neck only.  Full body portraits are open to discussion and are absolutely not out of the question.  Even horses with riders aboard are possible…

Angela and Tommy

…just don’t expect me to do human faces!

Larger sizes and pictures with multiple subjects are also possible, but will be priced on a piece by piece basis.  You can always email me here or message me on Facebook to discuss your particular ideas.

Here are a few more samples.  Enjoy perusing…

My sister’s dog, Fergus, small pastel and experimenting with colour on black paper. Both 18x24cm

Samantha Hobden’s Harley, aiming for a sepia-toned monochrome effect. Small size.

MC’s Doug, A4 size

I hope you can see the difference in the amount of detail in each piece as the size goes up!

Here are some existing art works, some of which are for sale.

Love at First Sight

Barn owls – 2 seperate pictures, 20x30cm.

I also love playing around with white on black.  These are A4 size.

Odji, field companion to Aero and Flurry

Flurry, Strutting his Stuff

Finally, some exciting news – I’m taking part in two exhibitions this summer so I’ve got to produce enough quality pieces for those. So – back to the drawing board 😀






A New Beginning?

Yes yes, I’ve been quiet. Yadda yadda yadda as my buddy Sprocket would say.

I’m here now, aren’t I?

A brief summary since last summer :

My mother (Granny) came to stay for an indefinite period of time.  She’s no bother… looks after the balcony flowers and keeps us on the straight and narrow when it comes to tidying the house.  She’s gone back to Ireland for a break but will rejoin us soon, I hope.

Granny’s sister, my feisty, independent, argumentative Aunty Kathleen, died at the start of November, leaving the extended family with a lot of work to do clearing out her house.  It’s almost there… we expect to have it up for sale before the end of the month.

I had cortisone injections in my back which have helped me enormously (four herniated discs, in case you missed that. The result of a lifetime of disrespecting my spine. Who’s sorry now?).

I started working on the farm again, on a more or less permanent basis.  I’m job-sharing with a young lady who also has back issues – neck and shoulder in her case.  We do 3-4 hours per day, 3-4 days a week, feeding, bedding and providing whatever nursing type care is needed.  It suits us both.  I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to do it, but I love just spending time with the horses. And ponies. And donkeys.  And it pays my livery bill.

Looking after these guys is NOT a pain in the ass!

I haven’t ridden since I did the Mountain Trail clinic last July (eh yeah, sorry, I just realised I never blogged about it.  Maybe I’ll get to it later. It was fun.).  I’m afraid riding will set my back off. Right now, I can do everything I want, relatively pain-free.  I’d like to keep it that way.  It’s not that I’m afraid of falling off… I’m afraid that the movement required from my lower back to ‘go with’ the movement of a horse is going to be too much for me to cope with.

Sunset Years? Surely not yet…

I haven’t done any groundwork with my horses, either.  I don’t know why, I just have no mind for it.  So the Boyz are semi-retired.

I’ve been painting and drawing like a mad thing.  Loving it.  I’m ready to take commissions… here are my two most recent pieces as a sample.  I’ll do a full on advertisement post next!

The New Beginning referred to in the title of the post?  We’re buying a second house here in Reillanne to run as a holiday rental – Villa Amande.  Check out our Facebook page!  We have a steady trickle of bookings so far for Summer 2019.  We’re on HomeAway and SimplyOwners but if you’re tempted by the thought of an idyllic rural location with a private pool, contact us directly.  We promise to give you the best deal you’ll get!

We have a butt-load of maintenance work to catch up with on the two houses, and are recruiting people who’d like to come and stay with us in exchange for work.  Mostly painting, some light gardening – and we must be finished by mid-April.  If you or anyone you know would be interested, email me on  I’m recruiting via Facebook and Workaway as well, but I’d rather find people with whom I have some sort of connection, however tenuous.  Our first volunteer arrives on Saturday – she’s a friend’s sister, I’m looking forward to meeting her.

And that’s it.  I’ll keep the horsey twist going, but Tailsfromprovence seems to be morphing into an Art and Holiday Home blog.

A bientôt.