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Falling in Love With Kentucky, Again! (Part 2)


If you haven’t already, read Part 1 here!

Back to the Painting

Friday and Saturday after our trip to Keeneland were spent building the underpainting while watching the Breeder’s Cup. Aside from a break to watch the big event, the Breeder’s Cup Classic, it was a two day painting marathon. Witnessing the history that was made that day by American Pharoah, even just on TV, was a powerful moment. To experience this in the heart of Old Louisville, minutes from Churchill Downs and an hour from the Breeder’s Cup itself while painting a racehorse… priceless!

Saturday evening the client returned from attending the days Breeder’s Cup races, and after some time spent basking in what had just happened in the sport of horse racing, we turned to the painting. I then made the one suggestion that would kick the fun factor with this piece up quite a few notches… “how about we make this horse American Pharoah”? At it’s current underpainting phase, the details that needed changing were negligible, and I don’t know of any horse that I wanted to paint more at that moment. The client agreed, and we were off to the races!

Really not much of a stretch to turn this into the "Pharoah"!
Really not much of a stretch to turn this into the “Pharoah”!

The Day After: Meeting the “Pharoah” At Last!

So with the final plans of the painting settled on and ready to implement, we took the opportunity to head out in the wee hours to see if there was any chance to get a peek at the big guy, the Champ, American Pharoah.

Unlike the previous three days, Keeneland was a ghost town. We were able to park right near the Breeder’s Cup barn area, and having received some inside info on which barn he was stabled in we easily found the right spot… it was where a growing crowd of press and photog’s were gathering. Eventually, a car pulled up and owner Ahmed Zayat and his family emerged, and took a moment to revel with the crowd over yesterday’s victory. Then, as anticipation was at it’s peak, there was a commotion down the row at bit, as Bob Baffert, American Pharoah’s trainer and hometown boy-done-good for Southern Arizona (U of AZ graduate, started his career at our humble track Rillito) brought him out through a different door… sneaky bugger!

American Pharoah, with the famed "Look of Eagles".
American Pharoah, with the famed “Look of Eagles”.

He was everything he’s been billed to be… calm even when surrounded by the crowds, yet engaged and interested in all the attention he could get! You wouldn’t guess by his demeanor what he’d just accomplished a day ago. I have to make a confession, I actually passed on the opportunity to pet him, the crowd was too thick and I dare not miss a moment of photo taking, and even I can’t paint a “touch” ;)!

American Pharoah; Attention Hog!
American Pharoah; Attention Hog!

My husband, Lemorris, long since separated from me somewhere on the other side of the crowd (normally slow moving and easy to find, I can be hard to keep up with when there are horses around), did not hesitate at the chance to touch the Pharoah and made contact with the big guy’s soft muzzle. I’ll admit to being a bit jealous, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I got some nice images and am already working on painting idea’s (yes, that’s plural). Bonus, Lemorris’ arm (holding his cell phone) can be seen photobombing many pictures, not just mine, including one by Barbara Livingston used in a Blood Horse article (here). It’s his blue sleeve that stands out…

American Pharoah - the blue sleeve is my husband's photobombing arm.
American Pharoah – the blue sleeve is my husband’s photobombing arm.

You can see many of the better photos I got got in my American Pharoah album:

Finishing the Painting

Pumped up even more than ever to get to work on this piece after meeting the subject, we returned and I got down to another painting marathon. Fortunately there was no shortage of images to help me get details like the tack and silks right. Working over the next three days, this piece was like riding a bike downhill with a back wind pushing you forward.

At first I worked on making little changes to the details (tack, rider’s gear, etc), including his trademark perked ears and chewed off tail (both of which I adore). Then I started building color in transparent layers…

Starting with color in the Zayat silks.
Starting with color in the Zayat silks.

The finished piece will look great on the wall it going to hang on. At the clients suggestion, I varnished only the horse with a gloss finish, leaving the rest matte… enhancing the impact. Unfortunately none of the photo’s do it much justice, so you’ll have to trust that it looks much better in person.

American Pharoah - Finished!
American Pharoah – Finished!

The Reward for Completion

Not that a carrot on a stick was needed, but mine was a trip to Churchill Downs Wednesday before leaving the Bluegrass at O’ Dark Thirty the next morning. Things didn’t start out like we had hoped… apparently they don’t allow public access for morning workouts (except for Derby week, the last time I was there), so we headed across the street to what had become our go-to breakfast joint… Wagner’s.

Wagner's PHarmacy, Louisville, Kentucky
Wagner’s, Churchill Down’s staple… good old school breakfast and lunch!

Directly facing the backside entrance for the track and with a large dirt parking lot filled with horse trailers, Wagner’s is THE place… a down to earth, old school blue collar eatery (and Pharmacy), opened back in 1922. With every exposed wall space adorned with endless Derby win and racing photo’s, this place embraces it’s connection to it’s neighbor. But, as it turns out, it doesn’t open until 8 am… for breakfast… near a racetrack! Oh well, on to our other regular stop for an awesome cup o’ joe… Sunergos.

Churchill Downs
Churchill Downs

We got to Churchill Downs later on just before the races, and being the first time my husband had been there, it was fun to re-explore, and easy on a quiet day like a Wednesday. This track is amazing, and after Keeneland the difference in size was tangible. It was also nice to see a full page ad in the program with my Woodford Reserve label. After a nice afternoon watching the races under the twin spires, we headed back to the house to prepare to head to our next destination… Florida.

Florida Bound

We flew out early enough the next morning that we arrived in Tampa hours before banks opened. It was nice to see the sun again as I’ll begrudgingly admit (as much as I complain about it in the desert). We drove inland to Dade City, where the humongous VW show, Bug Jam, would get to experience the unique presence of my automotive aritst husband, Lemorris, the feature artist and creator of a shirt design that had already been selling like hotcakes long before the show…

Hot selling Bug Jam "Bug Wars" Shirt Design by Lemorris.
Hot selling Bug Jam “Bug Wars” Shirt Design by Lemorris.

Little Everglades Ranch

That same afternoon, the Bug Jam organizer and “Head Honcho” Randy was kind enough to arrange a private tour with the owners of a beautiful property called Little Everglades, up until recently home of steeplechase racing, as well as fox hunting, a working cattle ranch, mud run’s and many other fun events and purposes. There were only a few horses on site, but the facility was amazing, and seemingly endless. Our hosts were more than gracious; it was like we’d just met old friends, I can’t wait to have some paintings from their place to share with them! Besides the neverending cattle dotting the rolling hills, we saw many different types of water fowl, a few Sherman Fox Squirrels, and (a highlight for my husband, at least as long as he was safe in the car) an alligator!

Steeplechase course at Little Everglades Ranch - wish I could have seen the races here!
Steeplechase course at Little Everglades Ranch – wish I could have seen the races here!
Alligator in Florida
Alligator in Florida

The Mighty Bug Jam

The next two days it was all Bug Jam… a cornucopia of cool events like a camp-out, cruise and poker run. On Friday afternoon, downtown Dade City streets were closed accommodate all the cars that arrived from the cruise, and then everyone headed over to the fairgrounds for a great multi-band concert. On Sunday, the actual car show (the main event) had anywhere from 700 to a gajillion cars (or at least more that I was able to see before my feet gave out). It was a visual feast of creatively where the medium was a volkswagen… all the colors, accessories, and sheer brilliance of presentation fed all the senses!

bugjam_1
Bug Jam!!

They Lost Me at “Oh Look… Horses!!”

Of course once the the local sheriff’s posse showed up on horseback… I succumbed to a more narrow focus. “Volkswagen’s? What Volkswagen’s?” I talked with some of the deputy’s for a while about horses and American Pharoah, and even forgot about the humidity for awhile. Did I mention the humidity? Sweat apparently doesn’t evaporate in Florida, it just accumulates and hangs on you like a bad haircut. Aside from that, though, the weather was amazing… OK, a bit hot (upper 80’s), but once again… SUN!

Horse make everything better!
Horses make everything better!

Epilogue

After two days of being on our feet enjoying all these events, we were both starting to show some wear and tear. So as the show wound down and all the cars started rumbling off into the sunset, we said our goodbye’s and hobbled our way to the car, heading back to Tampa to spend the night in a hotel near the airport (we were flying out of Tampa ridiculously early the next morning). We checked in, grabbed some fast food and slowly hobbled like the walking wounded that we were up to our room, and completely passed out for the night. It was our 24th anniversary, and after a trip like that I’d have to say this’ll be hard to top for number 25!

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Reminder…

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Falling in Love With Kentucky, Again! (Part 1)

The Opportunity Arises

It was the kind of commission I would have dreamed about as a fledgling equine artist; a valued client wants a large mural sized piece painted on location in Louisville, Kentucky. What to do? Well, for starters… plan it in autumn (or as we call it here in Arizona… summer) during the Breeder’s Cup, conveniently to be held for the first time ever at Keeneland in nearby Lexington, then make haste to hop on a plane with paint brushes in tow! So started our 2 week lateral trip from the southwest to the south, including over a week in Kentucky, followed up by a visit to Florida!

Typical homes in Old Louisville.
Typical homes in Old Louisville.

The Setting

Old Louisville is the largest contiguous collection of Victorian mansions in the United States, which means it’s an amazing wonderland of old houses and large, ancient trees adorned with full on fall color. The whole area is positively dripping with character and class. There’s also a prestigious Art Fair held every fall at St. James Court, the heart of Old Louisville that includes notable historic buildings like the Conrad-Caldwell House. I’ll most certainly be looking into that event. The fact that all this was located less than three miles from Churchill Downs just added to the mystique. It was also the first time I’d experienced “real” autumn in over 30 years, bringing back fond memories of my childhood in Minnesota (perhaps if I’d had any “adulthood” in Minnesota the autumn and winter memories would be less fond)!

St. James Court in Old Louisville.
St. James Court in Old Louisville.
The Conrad-Caldwell House on St. James Court in Old Louisville.
The Conrad-Caldwell House on St. James Court in Old Louisville.

Getting Set Up to Paint

First thing we tackled almost right off the plane was to head over and pick up the 4’ x 6’ canvas I’d had on hold at a local art store. Even though I’d reserved a mid sized car, it was very fortuitous that they instead, at no extra charge, gave us a much roomier Ford Edge crossover. We arrived at Preston’s Art Center to retrieve the canvas, and immediately felt right at home. It had the comforting feel of a cozy hometown art store cluttered with fun art stuff, like a heaping slice of home cooking for us. 

The house.
THE house.

The Temporary Studio

The house itself was a beautiful, grand old red brick piece of history. My working space was in the basement, while we’d be sleeping way up on the 3rd floor. Our joints were quickly reminded how unaccustomed to stairs we were, having lived in Arizona 30ish years where most homes are only one story (no basements. either).  The basement was very comfortable, with a large TV that picked up TVG so I could keep up with racing… and the perfect chair (hint: I want one – see photo below). It also featured walls lined with colorfully lit shelves inset into the wall to showcase expensive bottles of bourbon and other libations. One of these alcove’s, of course, held the 2015 Woodford Reserve Kentucky Derby bottle featuring my artwork on the label, which naturally acquired the artist’s signature before we left.

Louisville_chair
I found this chair as comfortable as it was awesome… would love one for my studio!
My Woodford Reserve label is the one on the right!
My Woodford Reserve label is the one on the right.

Getting Ready to Paint

This whole painting adventure had clearly shaped up to be a practice in flexibility, something that’s actually part of my working method, so it didn’t phase me. If any painting I’m working on seems determined to take another direction, I’ve learned not to fight it, and giving in to that inevitability actually makes for a fun ride.

Two Horse Race
Two Horse Race

I started prepping the canvas while the game plan was nailed down. Similar to my piece Two Horse Race (above), a race horse or two galloping across the canvas, but almost life size. I couldn’t imagine anything more fun to paint… or so I thought (foreshadowing). I chose to do this piece in acrylic, as the shorter drying time would help me be more productive with my limited time. Not really a problem, acrylic used to be my primary medium, so aside from some rebuilding of my supply inventory, it wasn’t an issue.

I used black gesso to prepare the surface, it makes working easier when a dark background is desired. Then I went old school and used the grid-method to transfer the chosen reference images to canvas. You can see the grid below (in feet) on the canvas and (in inches) on the image, helping guide the proportions as I sketched from the source image, which was printed at 4 inches x 6 inches so it would scale up neatly from inches to feet (see what I did there). I sketched in the possible second horse to test it out and see if it helped anchor the composition, but it was unanimously decided to go with a solo horse for maximum impact.  Then I began the monochromatic underpainting, big fancy words for a black and white first layer of a painting.

Apparently I bite my lip when I’m painting; well that sure explains my chapstick addiction.
Apparently I bite my lip when I’m painting; well good grief, that sure explains my chapstick addiction!

A Break to Visit Keeneland

Painting plans in place and initiated, I was feeling good about where I was at and was ready to day trip it over to Keeneland for morning workouts and racing the day before the Breeder’s Cup (Thursday). We’ve done this “Thursday the day before the Breeder’s Cup” thing before, in 2010 when it was held at Santa Anita in the Los Angeles area. The traffic was typical LA weekday traffic, and the track had moderate crowds in the morning while pretty dead for the races later in the day. Not the case with Keeneland, it took us 30 minutes to work our way by car to the grandstand (where I was dropped off) once we reached the track and another 45 minutes for my poor husband to park and meet up with me by the rail (far enough away he needed a tram ride back to the track).

The slow but lovely drive through Keeneland's "adorned by fall" property.
The slow but lovely drive through Keeneland’s tree lined backroads, the true definition of the “scenic route”.

In spite of the congestion, it was a beautiful day in a beautiful setting. We saw (and photographed) lots of big name Breeder’s Cup horses. It was like the Oscar’s for racing fans, minus the red carpet, designer outfits and fashionistas. We did, however, just miss Amercian Pharoah’s planned workout, but since it happened on the training track we wouldn’t have seen it anyway, like most of the fans there. He was also a no-show for paddock schooling after the 3rd race (as was announced) later on, but it WAS Keeneland, a track like this was enough. Surrounded by rolling hills of bluegrass dotted with the wooden fences and pristine stables of horse farms, it’s a magical and serene location for anyone who loves horses. The specific celebrity horses that were there were but the cherry on top, though I’d really hoped to get my eyeballs (and camera lens) on THE horse… American Pharoah… was there still a chance? Be sure to tune in for Part 2 to find out!

To be continued, Part 2

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Kentucky Derby Project Finally Revealed!

At last… I am finally able to announce my big project completed last fall!  It’s been hard to keep this one on the down-low, but a busy six months with many changes, including a move, kept me distracted enough to wait. The big “project”? I was commissioned to create the artwork for the label on the 2015 Limited Edition Woodford Reserve Bourbon Kentucky Derby bottle!

Woodford Reserve Bourbon, the “Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby” for 17 years and primary ingredient of the Derby’s signature drink, the mint julep,, is crafted at the historic Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, Kentucky in the heart of thoroughbred country.  Every year they produce a limited edition bottle just for the Derby with original artwork commissioned just for that bottle… a popular collectors item in great demand. It’s available nationwide, check local establishments for availability.  Here is this years bottle itself…

2015 Woodford Reserve Bourbon limited edition Kentucky Derby bourbon featuring the artwork of Carole Andreen-Harris.

And the actual oil painting (below). A pack of eager racehorses charge around the first turn, each jockey trying to gain the ideal position into the backstretch, with the Churchill Downs hallmark of the twin spires a historic presence towering above them reverently.  This was a dream painting to work on, and I’ll admit I got a bit misty eyed… especially when I’d find myself subconsciously humming “My Old Kentucky Home” while painting it. But having a work of mine part of such a great tradition is truly am honor for me, one I will always be proud of.

2015 Limited Edition Woodford Reserve Bourbon Kentucky Derby bottle artwork painted by Carole Andreen-Harris

While I won’t be able to make it to the bluegrass to join in the festivities this year, I will be enjoying the Derby at the Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona… where I’ll be an honored guest and may get to sign some prints of this painting!  Not a bad alternative, and *practically no chance of rain unlike my Derby trip of 2013 (*hoping that adding the word “practically” will keep me from jinxing the event)!

 

Smelling the Roses in May!

Sigh… last year at this time I was in Louisville. It was a magical, if soggy, trip and I wish I could be there again, but alas it was not to be this year (maybe next year). I will however, for the first time, attend the racing in Sonoita, Arizona, where they have a big Derby celebration which I’ve heard so much about!

Churchill Downs May 4, 2013
Derby Day 2013

At least being sunny, warm and rain-free here in Arizona is about as guaranteed as weather can get… here’s hoping the weather in Louisville is even half as nice! In a few days I’ll be posting more new work, and some great new specials, so check back soon. As far as my Derby selection, as an artist I have to go for California Chrome, the most paint-able horse in the field (because when it comes to horses, I can be shallow like that – occupational hazard). Other than that, I’m completely undecided.

With Derby weekend at hand…

The latest additions to the famed Derby jacket… in it’s third year… are done! Newly added is the green iconic derby sign at the top (altered to eliminate the temporal part changed each year), a pair of fancy Derby hats, and the silks of the winners of the first two years this jacket has been present. If you’re there, watch for it!

Kentucky Derby Jacket 2014
Kentucky Derby Jacket 2014

 

And for the same client, here’s a recent monochromatic painting done to display in his “Derby” house in Louisville…

"Gate Noir 2" 20 x 24 Oil on Canvas
“Gate Noir 2” 20 x 24 Oil on Canvas

And in honor of the comeback kid Gary Stevens, who’s riding Candy Boy in the Derby on Saturday…

Gary Stevens entering the tunnel at Del Mar.
“Good To Go” 12″ x 24″ Oil on Canvas

The comeback kid, legendary Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, heading into the tunnel on the way out to the track for a race at Del Mar. I loved the vibrant and colorful setting that frames the intense focus this athlete carries into every race.

Summertime… and the Living is “Easel”!

I hope this post finds everyone enjoying a pleasant summer as it rambles along! Besides keeping cool (no small victory in itself), I’ve been in a constant state of productivity at my easel, working on just the kind of paintings I love… and I’m getting ready to finish off the summer with a bang!

I’ve been in a very happy place as I’ve been flipping through my Derby trip photos, picking and choosing which images I want to paint next… I could shut myself in my studio for months, even years and not run out of exciting reference to use! But as fun as it is to immerse myself in oil paint and all it’s wonderful colors, I still like to occasionally step outside the studio to be around my subject. Summer here is barren for equine events, and at this point I’m getting cabin fever… but fear not, a little travel can be the best cure!

Del Mar…
Cue San Diego, perfectly wonderful weather, half a day away and home of the beach-side racetrack and destination, Del Mar.  The good news is that I’ll be a Del Mar Featured Artist for a week this year…  I’ll be there in person with my work from August 14 –18 in front of the Clubhouse!  Come by and say hi if you’re at the track that week!

Saratoga…
I’m also fortunate enough to have a small presence at the other premiere summer track, Saratoga, aka the Spa.  I have three pieces in the Terry Lindsey Equidae Gallery in Saratoga at the Holiday Inn for the duration of the meet… of course I’d prefer to be there in person, but alas it was not to be… this year. But now that I’ve been to the Derby, Saratoga is next on my list of tracks to visit!

And last but not least… here’s some new pieces getting ready to make their appearance to the world!

La Troienne – 20 x 24 Oil
Authenticity (inside rail) on her way to a win in the La Trioenne on Oaks day at Churchill Downs, with On Fire Baby, the grey, finishing 2nd.

Blazin’ Through the Rain – 16 x 20 Oil
Eventual winner Bellarmine, the bay on the inside rail, battles Tiz Adonis and the rain in an allowance race on Derby day at Churchill Downs.  WARNING: Art Speak… I especially loved the intense interaction of the opposing stages in the two horses strides  – one fully extended and the other gathered up ready to launch.

Richard’s Kid – 14 x 18 Oil
Graded Stakes winner Richard’s Kid, a veteran campaigner.

Forest Giant – 18 x 24 Oil
Not a racehorse, obviously, but a regal draft horse breathing in the fresh forest air.

Watch for updates on upcoming shows and appearances for the fall – coming soon!

A Soggy Yet Wonderful Derby Adventure!

I must say that just being in Kentucky seems to be good for my soul.  I don’t think it’s just the saturation of pure, unadulterated horse country, though that’s a big factor; but also the mild weather… the lush, green environment and general friendliness of the people that makes being there just “feel” good through and through.

Churchill Downs in the morning…

This was not my first time in the bluegrass state, but was my first there for THE big event, the Kentucky DerbyMint Julep’s and all! While I would have preferred spending more time before the trip studying past performances and videos of the contenders… I did instead put some effort into the “standards”… dress, shoes, and of course… hat.  In retrospect I might just as well have spent my time learning about the horses, what with the rainy weather leaving my hat soaked, my heeled shoes cast aside for more comfortable flats and my dress covered by a rain slicker!  I did have a lovely dress made by my mother in law, a master seamstress, at least it got a second chance to shine on a sunny Mother’s Day a week later – so no worries!  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Nothing like topping off a carefully planned Derby outfit with plastic…

I arrived in Kentucky on Wednesday afternoon. After a night in the pleasant nearby town of La Grange, on Thursday I headed out bright and early for a nice, relaxing day at Churchill Downs. Getting there in plenty of time to enjoy the morning workouts (including some Derby and Oaks horses), I then had a nice tour of to the Derby Museum, followed by some time to enjoy some of the regular races before the non-stop crowd-heavy events that Oaks and Derby days would be.

Golden Soul on Thursday morning, 2nd place in the Derby…

A friend joined me on Oaks day (Friday) and we spent 10 hours at the track getting sun burnt (in spite of sunscreen and partly cloudy skies)… but saw some amazing races. It was already very crowded, so we knew we were in for a crush on Derby day!  On a whim I bet on the 36-1 long shot that won the Oaks (Princess Sylmar), albeit to show rather than win (still kicking myself – would have won $100+) – but winning $21 was still a bit of a thrill, almost enough to buy a t-shirt!  As we left at the end of the day, it started to rain… we had a feeling this was a preview of coming attractions, and it was.

The Oaks  led by Midnight Lucky coming around the first turn

We arrived on an already rainy Derby morning during the first race (10:30 am) and soon realized we, like many of the 151,000 that were there, were faced with a choice. Stay in our exposed seats near the rail and get thoroughly soaked the full 9 hours or cram ourselves in with probably 75% of the crowd under any and all shelter available until Derby time. For some reason braving the chilly rain, leaving us shivering to the point of muscle soreness by the end of the day, seemed preferable – we’d both come a long way to see the horses live and in person… and a little rain was not going to take that away.

Emma’s Encore after a race on the Derby undercard, she looks like we felt…

I can honestly say it was the most fun I’ve had being wet, cold and miserable!  By far the most important thing I came away with – making it worth sticking out the rain – was the photos! I mean lots of photos, over 3ooo, which ultimately will translate into future paintings… and many of horses that are recognizable!  I would’ve sat naked in a blizzard to get that kind of material, ;)!  Of course it grew tiring getting photo bombed by big hats or mint juleps raised in celebration, but I found ways around that problem – meaning by the end of the day my arms were sore from holding my camera high above my head  (a big thanks for my camera’s tilting lcd screen)!

Orb, Derby winner, after crossing the finish line victorious…

I did get to see the newly enhanced outfit I decorated, worn in all it’s glory by James, friend and client… it looked sharp, he wore it well…  even in the rain!  I’d  added elements to the jacket, as well as a new hat and shoes

After the Derby my friend and I parted ways, and I headed to Lexington – spending Sunday hunkered down in the hotel due to fairly heavy rain (I think I’d had enough time standing in the rain at that point), thankfully it was not  a wasted day as I finally got a chance to look through my photos.

My Monday morning was  spent at a quiet and serene Keeneland, one of my favorite tracks, as the weather started to finally clear some.  After hours of getting photos of horses working out, the barn area and general scenery, I headed straight to the Kentucky Horse Park where, after wandering the grounds for a couple hours, I headed to the Hall of Champions to see legends like Cigar, Go For Gin, Da Hoss, and Funny Cide… to name the ones there that I am most familiar with. Upon leaving the Horse Park, I took a quick detour north to Georgetown so I could visit the AAEA show that included a piece of mine (along other really amazing artwork).

Keeneland – a beautiful track surrounded by horse farms…

On Tuesday it was, of course, wonderful to return home – even to the desert, in part becuase our weather had held so nicely, sunny and only in the 80’s – even still cool at night (last year we’d long since passed the 100° mark at that point)!  I admit to having some new found appreciation for our never ending sunshine.

Paintings from this trip are already underway, and will be posted in the near future.  Enjoy larger versions of these photos and more from the trip on Facebook or Photobucket!

 

Smelling the Roses in May…

As I’m preparing for my first visit to the Kentucky Derby, I’m reflecting on all the years watching it on TV wondering what the experience is like in person. While pondering, I’m also getting a collection of work ready for a local solo show in Tucson, and when I return… besides having a lot of photos (and some stories) to share, the fun will continue because I’ll be meeting more local horse and art lovers at the reception!

This show will be a great chance to share my equine passion with neighbors of a like mind. It will be hung the morning of the 1st… after I’m already on a early plane to Kentucky… by my highly trained crew of personal curators (my husband and daughter, also both artists), and goes through the end of the month.  I look forward to the reception on May 11th where I can meet everyone and talk about my two favorite subjects, art and horses and the joy of bringing the two together! 

Here’s more information on the Kirk Bear Canyon Library page… and a nice write up in the Arizona Daily Star!

Another note…  updates as I’m on my Derby trip will be made on my Facebook page, so stop by there to keep up… www.facebook.com/andreenharris!  Of course a full (but not too long) report will be made here after returning!

Kentucky Derby Day!

My Derby Painting

As some may remember it’s time to work on my annual “Derby” painting (I always work on a piece that’s racing related while watching Derby coverage). I know, pretty thrilling to be plunked down in my studio at my easel watching the fun on TV – complete with mint tea (no julep, I’d like my painting of a race horse to look like a painting of a racehorse, lol) – I guess I’m just wild and crazy like that (haha… not). I’ll be posting photos of the piece here and on Facebook. 

This is the color underlay I’ve worked up so far…

Update on this piece (May 6), almost done…

And finally finished (May 8)…

Derby Work of a Different Sort…

I also have some of my work being represented in an unusual format at the actual event… on a jacket and a purse (as you might have noticed above)! Apparently they’re quite the hit, and the client and his fiancé are loving the attention they’re getting among the Derby crowd!

Update: The jacket appears in a Derby slide show (photo #17) on Bloodhorse.com!

Here’s the jacket front and back…

And the other side of the purse, a classy Ralph Lauren item…

A New Portrait

I have also been busy with a lot of commissions so far this year, and am having a ton of fun with them! Here’s one of a charming Shire/Morgan cross named Fancy that I’m almost finished with…

I’m juggling about 12 paintings at the moment… both portraits and originals… and all in various stages, so watch for a lot of new work in the next few months! I’ve sold quite a few originals in the past few months so I need to replenish my inventory!