Thursday, September 14, 2006

Mountains and Meadows

I suppose everyone has a list of destinations they'd like to visit in their lifetime. I've been fortunate to have been to a number of mine – oddly they're all associated with horses in some way! I've been to Lexington and Louisville in Kentucky, County Kildare in Ireland and of course Saratoga. Last week, I finally made it out to Calgary, Alberta, with the main idea being a visit to The Masters at Spruce Meadows.

Unfortunately the fires in BC left the mountains invisible beneath a haze, but I had to take a day and drive out to see them anyway. Couldn't possibly get that far west and not experience the mountains, right? Too bad my mountain bike couldn't have come along! I felt as if I was caught in a scene from the Lord of the Rings up there...well, until I reached the tourist insanity that is Banff, that is!

Spruce Meadows, well, it's basically Disneyland for horse people, I think. Good thing I was flying or else I would have bought a whole lot more, I think! The 20D got a good workout, from the expected showjumpers to Friesians and myriad other breeds that put on demos throughout the day.

One of the highlights of the trip was meeting a few fellow EAG (Equine Art Guild) members in person for the first time, and getting to see their work for real at the Equi-Fair trade show. Judy Wood was kind enough to provide me with passes and share her B&B contact, so we spent a lot of time together (no small part of which was keeping our cameras busy!). Judy is starting to market her photography, but her collages and glass mosaics are a testament to her endless creativity. Michelle Grant, a painter, is one of the EAGs more accomplished members, so it was great to finally see her work – viewing paintings online doesn't come close to capturing the colour and vitality of artwork. It was an added bonus that Michelle and I really hit it off. I hope next time I'm out that way we can spend some time painting! It seemed a bit of a crime to be out there with all that gorgeous scenery without paints.

The day I left the skies had actually cleared so I could see the mountains in the distance. The weather was perfect the whole time I was out there. Naturally I came back to cold and damp in Southern Ontario. Mud! Isn't it too soon for mud? Oh well. Now, no more holidays for a while! There are stalls to muck (aren't there always?), yearlings to educate, commissions to complete and art shows of my own to do. I finished two new paintings last night – they'll have to wait for the next post!

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