Horse pal, Suellen Slockbower, recently commissioned portraits of her two grey OTTB’s (Off The Track Thoroughbreds). I was more than pleased to create these portraits, particularly since I know the horses and their wonderful, differing personalities.
Suellen first purchased Monarch’s Reign nearly a year and a half ago. Monarch’s father, Monarchos, won the Kentucky Derby in 2001. At that time, it was the second fastest Derby in the Derby’s impressive history. Monarch’s Reign, however, was not quite as impressive on the track. He raced twice but only crossed the finish line once. And in both races, the jockey was “tossed aside”. So Monarch was retired. The racing world’s loss, however, became Suellen’s big win!
Monarch wasn’t suited as a race horse, but he’s one of the most wonderful, sport and trail horses I’ve ever met. He’s very kind and willing and oh boy, he LOVES Suellen.
The joke at any training farm is that you have your riding partner, then you need a “spare” to ride when your regular horse is out of commission. Suellen purchased Detroit Andy this year. Yes, another grey and yes, another sweetie pie. Andy was quite a successful racer but it was time for him to find a second career. He was lucky that Suellen fell in love and brought him to Georgia.
Andy is a completely different ride, he learns differently, he moves differently, he processes input differently than Monarch. I think this is wonderful because Suellen will learn expodentially from time spent with two such different fellas.
I tried in these portraits to subtly convey the difference in the two horses through their posture, the activities in which they are both engaged. Understanding an animal’s personality and relationship with their owner are always helpful when creating a portrait. I often spend more time pondering composition and these relationships than I spend actually painting.
You can read more about Suellen and her boys by visiting the website of Bits & Bytes Farm. (Which is also home for my wonderful OTTB, Bubba). And you can read Suellen’s Testimonial about her new paintings by visiting my Fun Family Portrait site.
*artist’s note: the black and white cartoon is for Suellen’s benefit. At the moment, Monarch, who enjoys eating, is currently on prescribed pasture rest and Andy lost a shoe and has a hoof boo boo. Both horses are enjoying a temporary R&R. At the barn, we’ve been teasing Suellen that she needs a third “spare” so she can ride. My money goes on another grey!