Wednesday, January 27, 2016

When The Year Really Starts

The boys of winter?
New Year's never really seems to hold much meaning for me.  Okay, so I have to remember when I write the date that a year has passed (and I actually still write cheques, as well as keeping a couple of logs and journals for different things, so yes, I write the date often!). Otherwise, for the most part, one day blurs into the next this time of year. Get up, do horses, do more horses, hey, horses again, then a little break before I have to, yes, do horses once more.  I maybe sit down twice a day (not counting driving from one barn to the other), and hopefully eat a couple of times (though not necessarily sitting down!). Evenings are when I paint - not usually for long, but I've been doing a little bit most nights.

When the layups go back to the track, things finally slow down a little. It's that big trade-off, though -– horses leave, income plummets! It would be nice if people decided February was a good time to buy art or commission portraits, but it doesn't tend to work that way. I do have to take advantage of the time, though, and get caught up on, well, everything.  Painting, bookwork, farm maintenance, and so on.

The girls of winter!
We're almost at that time, now.  The layups will be going back very soon – the Woodbine backstretch opens mid-February.  I will be left with a very odd assortment this year.  I sent my one and only in-foal mare to another farm in November because I was supposed to be moving, and didn't want that stress on top of everything.  The move thing fell through (another story altogether!) and for now I have a stay of execution of sorts, but I'm not going to bring that mare back this close to her due date – the whole reason I sent her in November was so that she could be well-settled in her foaling environment.   I have last year's foal, now a yearling, and his mother, who is not in foal.  I have my "old" girl, Monster (officially sixteen!), and two off-track Thoroughbreds looking for new homes. Hopefully they will find homes soon, though that will leave things really sparse around here, until horses start coming back from the track, with one need or another.

Anyway...that's where things are at in my part of the world, right now! This means there should be more frequent updates around here.  I think one day on Facebook, I don't remember exactly where, but I committed to finishing one painting a month.  As the end of January is coming at me quickly right now, I guess I'd better make that happen! Stay tuned!

Happy New Year?

One of the WIPs spending time on the easel.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Collector's Items?


I spent yesterday editing photos of many of my sketches done with my non-dominant hand (while I was still in a cast,) and then listing them for sale on my website.  They are pretty modestly priced, I think, so I'm hoping some will find homes.  I think they're pretty unique, and kind of a cool collector's item.  I don't know if I'm alone in this as an artist, but sometimes I think about my art showing up on Antiques Road Show (or its future incarnation) many years down the road - don't you think these would make a fun story?

Anyway...check out my website (look under "Studies") if you're interested.  They are priced at $15.00 each. Inexpensive enough to buy two, or three, don't you think?  :-)

My cast has been off for five weeks now, and I'm gradually getting strength and mobility back.  I really didn't think it would be as hard and slow as it has been!  Getting old stinks! 


Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Official Meet Your Weaning Buddy Day


I've never weaned a foal this late - thanks to my injury, Gryphon is now seven months old, and I usually wean at about five months. I didn't want to wean him when I was feeling vulnerable about my arm, in case there was any excitement that I needed to deal with.  Excitement with a young Thoroughbred?  That never happens, right?

This week, I decided it was time to start setting things in motion.  We're getting a nice break from the more seasonable temperatures and rain.  Yesterday was step one – putting baby boy's intended buddy out with him and his mom, so they could get acquainted while mom is still around.  Gryph is pretty independent, and he's old enough that Twine isn't all that protective anymore – she's more interested in preserving her own space than worrying about her son.

I let Twine and Gryph go out as usual, with Hugo – buddy to be – next door in the small paddock where he's been turned out all summer.  Then, time to release Hugo and supervise (with camera in hand, or course!).

It was, to say the least, entertaining.  Hugo said hi, and got warned by Twine, but he was most interested in the grass, as his paddock doesn't have much. Gryph was rather affronted by this behaviour.  He did his best to get Hugo's attention.  Here's a photo essay of the adventure!

First, we follow you everywhere.

Then, we make sure you know I'm tough!   

Then, we dive-bomb you! (Hugo looks very concerned, doesn't he?)


Then I will stop and pose, because I am so good-looking.


Stay tuned for more adventures (and photos, of course) of Gryph and Hugo!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Them's The Breaks

Left-handed drawing of Briggi as a baby...she may look sweet!
I have often joked that when it comes to horses, I am more of a danger to myself on the ground than on board. It's not that I'm a terribly good rider, I just seem to have a certain degree of self-preservation that comes with riders as we get older, the clich̩ being, we don't bounce like we used to. It's not as if I avoid potential trouble Рlet's face it, I like to ride green OTTBs, not necessarily the most bomb-proof choice of mount in the world. The thing is, the ones I'm handling around the farm are younger and usually sillier than my riding horses, and coming off stall rest. Most of the time they are more of a danger to themselves than to me. with anything, it just takes once to change that!

Selfie with glasses and cast?
It's been a month now, since Briggi Wild Child slammed me into the doorframe of her stall as she bolted in, catching my arm and fracturing (and dislocating) it in the process. That would be my right arm, of course. Can't write, can't draw or paint, can't do stalls – all  the things I do to make money. Can't ride. So, I'm paying someone to do my stalls, and paying someone to ride the princess. Now that part, at least, is not a bad thing – as much as I miss riding my mare, we will both benefit from the training she is getting right now. Financially, well, it hurts more than the arm! Naturally my truck needed $300 worth of maintenance, and my teeth more...please insert whiny face here.

 I'm still able to do quite a bit in the barn, and my poor parents have stepped up to help out (I'm trying to tell them it's like a free gym membership). Just for fun, I've been playing with drawing and painting with my left hand, and that's actually gone better than expected.  I'm even going to put some of the decent ones on my website to see if I might be able to sell some, and help pay for the growing pile of unexpected expenses. They'll be in the $25 range...just might be a few weeks before I can mail them out!

Left-handed Leo. Leo is bored, bored, bored, not being ridden!

So, here's your chance to own what I'm sure will be a valuable collector's item in the future, haha. If you'd like to commission the most affordable portrait you will ever have the opportunity to have me paint, drop me a line at lindashantz *at*, or send me a message on my Facebook page!


Monday, March 23, 2015

Stretch Drive!

"Turn For Home," 24 x 30 oil on canvas, framed.
I'm not sure if I written a blog post on the Equis Art Gallery Relocation Campaign or not - the last few months have flown by, despite February seeming to draw on with endless cold temperatures! It's been a year and change since Juliet started the gallery, and one of my favourite paintings sold through the gallery in those early months. Now, the gallery has grown to host an amazing collection of contemporary equine artwork, and Juliet is seeking to move to a larger, storefront space.

You can read about Juliet's story on the campaign page, and take a virtual tour with her through the present gallery space.  You might even catch a glimpse of some of my work.  Any token donation to the venture is appreciated, not only by Juliet but by those of us who are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be part of it.

I've donated my painting, "Turn For Home" to the project, and it's being auctioned on Facebook. You'll find information there on the reserve bid – essentially, this is an opportunity to collect a significant painting at phenomenal savings, and at the same time, pay it forward to the equine art world. If the painting doesn't sell at the auction, it will return to its regular, retail price.  There are many other pieces that have been donated available as well – some really beautiful work which really should be snapped up!  I only wish I had some extra money right now!

As things come down the stretch (of course I have to say that, right?) on the campaign, I'm going to throw an added incentive out there.  I will give you the collector print of your choice (pretty much any image I've painted is available as a collector print)....for any donation over $20.00USD.  Just be sure to mention to Juliet that you are taking advantage of this, and then contact me to provide shipping information for your print.

Thanks for reading – it means a lot to all of us in the gallery!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Loose Ends

Zippy, Lounging ~ 5 x 7 oil on panel.

I've been spending a lot of time glaring at my easel of late - knowing there is work to be done, but feeling as if I'm just going to make a mess of anything I touch...kind of a reverse-Midas thing, where everything turns to muck.  The oil pastel commission I've been working on is in a good place (by which I mean more than not in my studio, haha), and just getting a rest from my eyes before I put the final touches on it, so I felt I needed to at least be making an attempt with the paints.

My solution has been to finish up some studies that were abandoned somewhere along the road. Some of them were just done during one of my daily painting projects, so they got a day's work but I always wanted to go back to them.  One I actually started from scratch (how brave, haha).  One just involved cutting down and stretching over new stretcher bars.  All I figured I could play with, and if I turned them to muck, nothing much would be lost except a bit more of my self-esteem!  ;-)

At the top is Zippy as a baby - he still has that look of owning the world!  Another study from the same time frame has found a new home, with artist friend Elizabeth McCrindle – it's always an extra honour when another artist likes my work enough to want it!  I have one of Elizabeth's paintings hanging on my studio wall. You can see the paintings in a blog post she wrote when she received them - thanks again, Elizabeth!
Einstein ~ 10 x 8 oil on canvas.
Milwaukee Brew ~ 8 x 10 oil on canvas.

Two of the paintings I was playing with a palette I haven't used much, favoured by artist Anders Zorn.  It's a limited palette of ivory black, cad red, yellow ochre and titanium white.  Admittedly I didn't push it much, but it was interesting just the same.  Both are studies of Thoroughbred stallions – Einstein (BRZ), sire of Sheldon, and Milwaukee Brew.

The last one is the restretch - I did this one as part of my daily painting projects, from a photo taken at Saratoga.  Now, I need to get these up on my website, in hopes that they, too, will find new homes!
Ready ~ 10 x 8 oil on linen.
 Oh, wait - one more!  This is Victor, a little study I started last year and finished up while I still had the Zorn palette open.  Catching a breeze on a warm spring day - which I hope we will see again, eventually!
Victor, Catching a Breeze  ~ 6 x 4 oil on canvas.

Just a PS - it's interesting to note the difference between my usual limited palette, which was used on the racehorse painting, compared with the stallion and Victor studies.  Which do you like better? I'm a time and place kind of person - I have to shake things up now and again, and studies are a great way to try out new things.

Monday, February 16, 2015


"Toss," 24 x 24 oil on where I did stop at the underpainting!
Friend and artist extraordinaire, Jen Trottier, just posted a work in progress on Facebook (check out her Instagram account to see other WIPs).  It's very cool, but it's one of the comments (by another friend, photographer Juliet Harrison!) that inspired this post.  Basically, Juliet said she liked the painting as is. Had to "like" that comment, because I don't know how many times I've had a work in progress in the underpainting stage, and thought, "Wow, I really like it right there, I wish I could just stop now, and call it done."

So...why don't I?  I think as artists, at least as somewhat established artists, we have this thing hanging over our heads called "expectation."  We think if we don't do things a certain way – in our usual style, which our followers and collectors have come to expect – we'll lose our audience.  No one wants to disappoint the people who have come to appreciate our work, right?  So we push on, put out more of the same to get the positive comments.  Every now I'll share something different, and that internet silence, as I like to call it, is a killer.  I know I'm not the only artist who has contemplated coming up with an alter ego and letting that persona do whatever that one oneself as a completely different artist, and not telling anyone.  I know of artists who have gone ahead and done just that.  I've given it serious thought!

I liked this one at this stage...but "finished" it. 
Expectation can be a real aggravation. I can run another parallel to riding with it.  I had the most brilliant lesson on Leo the week before last - it's the one where we ended up cantering that X, in the video I posted.  All riders know that feeling you get with an awesome ride.  I couldn't wait to ride him again the next day! And guess what?  He was a complete idiot.  Completely distracted, nothing was coming together.  Part way through the ride, I gave myself the proverbial smack upside the head and realized I'd gone into that ride with a certain expectation, and I was really disappointed as a result.  It was a good reminder that in the grand scheme of things, Leo is doing great, but he's still very green.  He's still going to have those days, and I just have to use those days to ride the horse I have at the moment, and help us both learn and improve.  Since then, with both Leo and Gracie, I've tried to go into my rides without having a real agenda.  And you know what?  I think all three of us are much happier for it.  ;-)

So, can I apply the same to my art?  It's much harder for me to start a painting without some sort of expectation as to where I want it to end up.  Can I give myself permission to decide to stop and sign it, if I have one of those "I like it just the way it is now" moments?  Maybe.  I'll work on it.