Tag Archives: sporting art

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!

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!


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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Visit my Specials page for awesome Holiday Deals, including a great Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday 60% off in my Etsy Store Nov. 27-30, 2015!

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.

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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More to Share…

Visit my News page to read about my painting that Sold AND got Best of Show, and check out my Specials page to see this year’s Holiday Deals!

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.

A Smooth Start For This Equine Artist!

…And I’m off! …to a good start in 2014, that is!  Oodles of new original oil paintings, equine art and otherwise… have, are and will be spending quality time on my easel.  Sporting art featuring horse racing pieces, many from trips to Del Mar and Churchill Downs, as well as some western work (Quarter Horses, cow horses, cattle, etc) will fill my work tab. I’ve shared a few new pieces below, more to come… you’ll be seeing a lot more of me, or rather my art (which, if you enjoy reading my page, is probably a good thing)!

To start off the year here’s a great opportunity to own one of my original pieces of equine art…

Original Sale on Etsy Extended!

ALL my originals on Etsy are marked down 20% (priced as marked) now through February 28th (Equine, Animal and Miscellany Galleries)! Besides oils, there’s watercolors, acrylics and pencil, and beyond the subject of equine art there’s animal and wildlife art, as well as western and southwestern art. And Bonus… because you follow my blog, and have actually read this, you get a coupon code (CAH20) for an additional 20% off – making it 40% off an original piece of art (check with me for originals not listed on Etsy)!

New Work

“The Dude” 24” x 30” Oil on Canvas

Game On Dude - 2013 Pacific Classic winner at Del Mar Racetrack

Game On Dude – a horse that has inspired me, is the latest subject of one of my originals… a dramatic montage of his 2013 Pacific Classic win and the ensuing celebration after the race at Del Mar!

“Dullahan Devotion” 16” x 20” Oil on Canvas

Oil painting of Dullahan, winner of 2012 Pacific Classic at Del Mar

Like so many I was deeply saddened hearing of the passing of Dullahan last fall, whom I’d done a few pieces of, including the official 2012 Pacific Classic painting commissioned by the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. His sudden loss inspired this painting from one of my many photos of him.



Falling Into Autumn…

I hope this finds everybody ready to transition to Autumn after enjoying a splendid summer (in spite of the strange weather all over)!  I’m just settling into a quiet stretch of lots of time to spend in the studio, with occasional breaks to get outside and appreciate the desert’s shift to near perfect weather.

I have some great specials on tap at the moment… in fact there’s something for just about everyone! And besides some new work to share, I’m finishing off this fall update with a preview of what’s to come, a sneak peek of a work in progress (Game On Dude, for the racing fans reading this).

Autumn Specials…

I’ve launched some great new specials on portraits, prints and originals!

Etsy Store
20% off the entire store including a huge selection of prints (many new ones just added) and  originals, just enter the coupon code SAVE20 upon checkout, good through Dec. 15, 2013. Over 140 items listed… including the 3 oil studies for my Pacific Classic/Dullahan piece…


20% off any portrait… more info on my Commission page!

“Fred & Moose” 16 x 20 oil commissioned portrait


…and the ever popularSimply Portraits, more than 40% off select sizes… seeSimply Portraits page for more info!

*Both portrait specials include gift certificates and are good through October 31, 2013

New Work… Both Finished and Soon To Be…

“Desert Storm”  22” x 28” oil on canvas
A pair of wild horses near the Salt River in Arizona work out some issues during a monsoon afternoon storm.

“Painted Gaze”  14” x 18” oil on canvas

“Make Haste”  9” x 12” oil on board

…and a glimpse at the almost halfway point through a new work in progress featuring “Game On Dude” in a montage (two images on one canvas), be sure to check back here or follow my Facebook page for updates!

Game On Dude work in progress…





Del Mar 2013 Trip Report

Now that I’ve been back, earned the cats forgiveness for leaving them and basked in the dogs unabashed joy for returning, gone through memory cards full of photos, and settled back in at the easel… I can finally report on my five (plus one) blissful days where the surf meets the turf…  Del Mar Race Track!

It was a perfect day in the 70’s, the sun played hide and seek with the clouds but was never far away, a cool ocean breeze kept even the slightest of heat at bay.  And that pretty much describes everyday spent at Del Mar, joined by my “team”… aka my husband and kids.

The location for my artwork set up was gorgeous – right in front of the clubhouse in the midst of all the action, and in keeping with the lush, beautiful setting that the track is known for.  Andt to see a print of my Dullahan/2012 Pacific Classic painting just inside the clubhouse entrance was just icing on the cake (see below)!

It was a joy to meet so many people that are part of the SoCal racing scene, from the loyal fans and players to those who work in the industry.  I loved talking racing and horses with so many people… I felt truly at home there!

I was also a bit starstruck meeting so many racing celebrities and legends, too, in particular Julie Krone (of course probably the only time there where I completely forgot that I know how to take photos, haha)!

Since we had to be home Monday, we headed back to Arizona straight from the track at the end of the raceday on Sunday. That meant driving through the night and eventually getting home about 3:30.  We were well reminded of the desert heat we were returning to when we crossed the Arizona border… and the temp at midnight (99) was more than 20 degrees hotter than the highest temp we experienced over five days in San Diego.

I naturally jumped at the opportunity to return (sans artwork) a week later for $1 Million Pacific Classic day, where I could focus on taking photos to my hearts content.  It was strange and wonderful to see my Dullahan painting everywhere I turned…  hard to avoid as it was featured on the program cover just for Pacific Classic day.

Game On Dude winning the Pacific Classic.

I came away with lots of pictures of horses known and unknown – especially from Pacific Classic day – that are ripe for painting!  It was especially a thrill to see Game On Dude win the “big” race, what a great example of getting better with age!  I already have a canvas primed and ready to take on the “Dude”!

Larger versions of these photos and many more of what I took are in my Del Mar 2013 album on my Facebook page here.


New work

Here’s a painting I had just finished before the trip, this one another from my Derby trip earlier in the year.  This is 2012 Horse of the Year Wise Dan, undefeated this year so far, winning the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs just before the Kentucky Derby…

Wise Dan 22 x 28 oil

Early Bird Holiday Commission Special…

30% off commission orders placed in September
20% off commission orders placed in October.
Commission information here.

Discount also good on gift certificates. Payment plans available, deposit required to secure discount, finished painting/gift certificate delivered after final payment has been made.


And I was just notified… my original oil “Grey” has won Best Representational Piece in a Realistic Style at the An Equine Jubilee, Celebrating the Horse In Art!

Grey 16 x 20 oil

This piece and two other pieces, “Chestnut” and “Head Held High” (below) are currently available at this charming show in Delaware, Ohio that continues through October 23rd.

Chestnut 16 x 20 oil
Head Held High – 11 x 14 oil

Also… I getting ready to have work in the following upcoming shows…

The AAEA’s Fall Open Juried Exhibition and Sale
September 13 – October 19, 2013 at
The Scott County Arts & Cultural Center
117 Water Street
Georgetown, KY

Dun Workin’ – 18 x 24 oil

…and the Art at the Classic show held September 19 – 22 as part of the Draft Horse Classic at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley, CA

Forest Sentinel – 18 x 24 oil

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!

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!

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!

My Nashville Whirlwind Tour…

Now comfortably back home, I thought I’d report on my 29 hour trip to Nashville  and back to attend the reception for my solo show at Belle Meade Plantation (the show continues through the end of April)! 

After arriving on a gentle, rainy day, I settled into the hotel and immediately prepared to head off to the show. Once there, I took the opportunity to explore the grounds a bit before the reception, though I was too late to take the standard tour in the mansion (more on that later).  It was truly (and literally) a pastoral scene with original stone walls, neat wood rail fences and rolling hills dotted with huge, old trees. Of course traipsing around in the drizzle undid a lot of “beatifying” I did for the reception. Instead of carefully coifed hair, it was now frizzy and curly, and my freshly polished boots were covered with grass particles… but just being at such a location makes those things trivial at best.

The reception itself went very well, in spite of the weather apparently affecting the turn out.  I talked to a number of visitors, and thoroughly enjoyed being in the same space with so many horse people and equine art aficionados!  My work was well received and I had some really great conversations with like-minded folk, so much so that the two hours flew by faster than Secretariat passed Sham to win the Derby!

When all was done and shut down, the assistant manager offered to take me on a tour of the mansion after hours. She was a bit hesitant as we were the last people there, it was dark and she wasn’t sure where all the light switches were… it’s a bit hard for a grand old place like this not to seem a bit creepy in the dark, after all! Thankfully the tour was quick, very interesting and completely uneventful.

Now I really want to make a trip back to get the full treatment… in daytime, with lots of light and people around!  As an extra treat she also drove me through the heart of Nashville’s music scene and other notible landmarks on the way back to the hotel.

I did learn enough to pique my interest in Belle Meade’s place in American Thoroughbred bloodlines… their most productive and successful sire, Bonnie Scotland (right), was a real boon to the American breeding scene.  Just a quick glance through some famous pedigrees had him showing up, often multiple times, in the pedigrees of legends such as Seabiscuit, Seattle Slew, Northern Dancer, Mr. Prospector, Native Dancer, War Admiral and Secretariat. 

So after a day spend in the refreshing cool, rain filled air of Nashville (coming from the desert where it’s sunny and pushing 90 already, with little relief in sight, it was actually quite nice), I headed back home freshly fired up to paint!  Now to prepare for the ultimate Southern, and American, horse experience… a visit to the Churchill Downs in May!