Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I did this painting for a poster contest for our local fair. It is a scene of a "Pony Express Race". The yellow T shirts and bandannas signify the 'Moses' team of Sonny Moses who passed away as a young man but his family still races his horses. The rider is famous for his 'flying mounts'. It is a stunning event where there are 4 or 5 teams, each team has a handler, catcher, rider and 3 horses. The race is started from a standing start, each heat is a lap around a quarter mile track, as the horses near the grandstands the catcher flags his teams horse and the rider jumps off and runs to the next horse that his being held by the holder. It doesn't usually go anywhere near as smooth as all that. There are wrecks as the catcher may be run down by the charging horse or the rider falls off leaving a loose horse to circle the track, riders rarely use saddles and run the race bareback at full speed. It's very exciting and has been a tradition going back decades.
The painting was done in the old technique of an underpainting or grisaille although I think 'grisaile' is a full composition done monochromatically. I achieved some interesting effects and was able to construct the composition very deliberately. It is a good illustrative technique when the purpose is to relate information. Because of my close association with horses I concentrate in getting the anatomy correct and fill the picture with details of the subject and event. I can see where such work would improve an artists skills and is why many collectors value such work, it is straightforward and doesn't require interpretation.