This painting was inspired by The Bayeux Tapestry, chronicling the Norman Conquest. The images of little open boats with horses in them crossing the Channel made me think about how this must have been a common sight until relatively recent times.
“Conquest”, collection of Doug and Shanon Rawlinson
We still dress horses for functional reasons. Doesn’t it look Medieval?
“Ben” is based on a photo in a 1940’s book by Ben Lewis, a friend of my father’s. “Riding” was a radical departure from the usual instruction manuals and used ground breaking photography techniques throughout that appeal to my surrealist heart.
Two Missing Paintings
This painting was not returned to my studio by the Chisholm Gallery in Pine Plains NY along with the rest of my work. I was away for the season and unable to confirm that everything had come back. When I got home to the studio I saw it was missing, and Ms. Chisholm denies she knows anything about where it might be. If you see this painting, which is 6 feet tall, please let me know.
In my San Francisco loft we made this rolling wall with lights. “Decibels”, 11 feet long, with my studio cat Semi on the ladder. Collection of Michael Tompkins and John Hall
This is the other missing canvas, the life size portrait of Olympic medalist Gifted. In 1991 when I had just returned to the east coast and was unknown in the horse community, I saw this amazing animal competing at Gladstone. I told Carol Lavell that I was enthralled with him and wanted to do a painting. In her brusk way she said portraits were never any good and a waste of time. So I made a small study of Gifted and when I next saw her, I handed it to her, and she was quite taken aback. So when I asked again if I might paint him life size, she not only agreed, but rode him around me as I lay in the Gold Ring at Devon to take the pictures. (The lower the view point, the larger the horse looks, and he was huge to boot.)
Carol intended to buy the painting, but a number of galleries asked to show it in succession, and it traveled for nearly a year. The final gallery in Half Moon Bay California requested a long term loan. When three months had passed I discovered that the gallery was gone and I was never unable to track down the owner.
Because this is a flat canvas (see the photo above left) that ships rolled in a large tube, It is easily moved about.
When I finally found the woman ten years later she claimed that she had “left the tube out” for the shipping company I used to use to pick up and send it home. But by then the shipping company no longer existed, so there were no records and no way to prove anything.
The painting could be anywhere. It could also be in a landfill if someone didn’t know what it was in the tube. I made a print for Carol, who became a friend, but I still hope it will be found someday. The canvas is 84 x 126”.
Peregrination” is from a photo of one of the Horses of San Marco, Venice, being lowered to the ground to be moved indoors.
“Court Painter’s Rope” is a life size piece from the early 80”s. The rope comes from a portrait by Holbein Yr.
The Rare Species Conservatory Foundation
The Rare Species Conservatory Foundation based in Loxahatchee, Florida, is a renowned 501c3 organization that works in tropical areas around the globe, helping countries create their own sanctuary and conservation sites, and protected habitats. They also work hands-on with endangered species and help repopulate animals in their natural environments via their breeding programs. They don’t have a publicly accessible location, and work out of sight other than on their website and social media. They are currently working, in partnership with a Florida university, to create a school of tropical veterinary medicine at their property. I’m one of their devoted fans, and I try to raise funds and awareness for them, as they are literally too busy doing good to blow their own horn.. http://www.rarespecies.org
My favorite collectors, Michael Tompkins and John Hall, paint the rooms to match the paintings. Such an honor.
… and, finally,
a controversial painting,
which some may find offensive …