Monday, October 26, 2009
The Royal Fine Art Showcase, 2009!
I was quietly and somewhat nervously waiting to hear the results of the jurying for this show last week. I have long thought there needed to be such a show at the Royal - kind of *the* equestrian and agricultural event, at least in this part of the world. There have been a few different attempts in the past, and I've taken part in those I've known about, and they've always been successful to a certain extent, but there's been no continuity. Apparently this is the second year in a row for this new one. I hadn't heard about it last year, for some reason, so when I received the information this year, I was excited!
We were only allowed to enter one piece for consideration. Given the criteria provided, I wasn't sure what to enter, so I just went with what is probably my most popular new painting at the moment. You've seen it before, here. This is Promises, Promises, an 18 x 24 oil on canvas.
The Fine Art Showcase will be on display in Hall C of the Direct Energy Building for the duration of Toronto's Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, which runs November 5-15, 2009. There is an awards ceremony on November 13 at 2:30pm. It's my understanding that the painting made it into the top ten, though the rank hasn't been disclosed. I need to wait until the 13th to find that out!
It struck me after learning of the painting's acceptance how the significance of this piece has changed considerably since it was first shown. I know the average viewer is not going to know what lies behind this image. On the surface, it's a cute painting of a couple of pasture mates playing halter tag, a game that has probably been going on in horse-dom for as long as horses have been wearing halters. Now, when I look at this, I'm reminded of what goes through my mind those times I've had a seriously ill horse. The balance between power and fragility that I've mentioned, and the seeming inevitability that each time you get through one of those ordeals with a 'win' so to speak - the horse pulls through, and goes on to live a healthy life - somewhere there is someone else who has lost a friend. The horse on the right is Jay, who made it through emergency colic surgery almost two years ago, and now is living a happy retirement thanks to a placement through LongRun. On the left is, of course, Gladys, the fated one. And so it goes.
This time, we had to deal with the harsh reality of how quickly tragedy can strike. But a few weeks later, I followed the story of another mare - at the same stage of pregnancy as Gladys - who amazed the surgeons, defied the odds and came through the other side. I know I'll keep following her recovery, and pray that she continues to do well, and next spring produces a healthy baby. Maybe we tell ourselves things as we try to make sense, but in a way, for me, this kind of restores the balance.