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Water Horses in the Desert…

…or, how I spent my summer (and yes, in Arizona summer ends later).

I finally was able to get around to doing what I have been trying to work into my schedule for a couple of years… this summer I took a few day trips to the Lower Salt River just east of the Phoenix area in Arizona. It’s a rare desert waterway that actually contains real, bonafide water, year round, all the time! That water creates a rich habitat for everything from wildlife to recreation seeking humans, but the big draw of this field trip, for myself at least, is the wild horses.

The Salt River Wild Horses

Of course, as seems to be happening in many places across the country, there is a battle going on for the future of the horses. In early August the US Forest Service posted a notice of their plans to have the horses all rounded up within a week. Fortunately, thanks in large part to the passion of so many on social media and beyond, the public outcry was deafening and the round up was put on hold indefinitely.

The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, a 501c3 already in place that has been working on researching and documenting the horses for years, stepped up to work with the USFS in hopes of coming up with a plan to keep the horses at the Salt River in balance with the other needs of this highly popular oasis. The horse’s future is still uncertain, but there’s now hope that reasonable solutions can be worked out. You can find out more about the Wild Horses and the Management Group on their Facebook page or website.

Photographer Heaven

As far as my experience visiting the area, the heat was just as billed, the day of our first visit the area hit 117 degrees Fahrenheit, so it was a labor of love (especially for my poor husband). Yet I was pleased to not be disappointed each time. It took some treasure hunting and a bit of hiking, but each time I managed to stumble across some horses, quietly observing and photographing these magnificent animals from a respectful distance (thanks to my adequate but far from envy inducing zoom capabilities). You can see some of my photos in my Salt River Wild Horses Gallery

My Unabashed Artistic Agenda

Of course for me the ultimate end game is always the paintings… I was (and still am) driven by a need to chronicle these horses and their unique life on the Salt River, dining on river grasses and surviving in a strange mixed up world that’s both a river ecosystem and harsh desert environment. Since this my first trip out there this summer, I’ve completed 5 paintings of the Salt River Horses.

Painting of Salt River Wild Horse Colt

New Kid on the Block, 11” x 14” oil on canvas

 

Salt River Cuisine, 24” x 30” oil on canvas

Salt River Cuisine, 24” x 30” oil on canvas

 

Making a Splash 18” x 24” oil on canvas On Exhibit in Tucson (see info below)

Making a Splash 18” x 24” oil on canvas
On Exhibit in Tucson (see info below)

 

Transcendent Bond 36” x 48” oil on canvas On Exhibit in Tucson (see info below)

Transcendent Bond 36” x 48” oil on canvas
On Exhibit in Tucson (see info below)

 

Bright Eyes 20” x 20” oil on canvas On Exhibit in Tucson (see info below)

Bright Eyes 20” x 20” oil on canvas
On Exhibit in Tucson (see info below)

 

Equine Art Exhibit in Tucson

Along with 8 other horse pieces, from western to racing (below), you can see the last three of the above pieces along with equine work by other artists in an upcoming exhibit at the Four Corners Gallery in Tucson, Arizona called “The Horse, of Course!” Please do come by and say hello to me at the opening reception on November 14 from 6-9 pm if you can, or drop by over the run of the show (through January 3) and check out all of the varied and original takes on the equine subject!

“The Horse, of Course!”
November 14th, 2015 – January 3rd, 2016
Reception: November 14th 6 – 9pm
7000 E. Tanque Verde Road
(Southwest Corner of Sabino Canyon and Tanque Verde)
Tucson, Arizona

Other pieces of mine that are in the show…

Lou, 24" x 48" oil on canvas

Lou, 24″ x 48″ oil on canvas

 

Painted Gaze, 14" x 18" oil on canvas

Painted Gaze, 14″ x 18″ oil on canvas

 

Gabbi and Billie, 18" x 24" oil on canvas

Gabbi and Billie, 18″ x 24″ oil on canvas

 

Simple Pleasure, 18" x 24" oil on canvas

Simple Pleasure, 18″ x 24″ oil on canvas

 

Spanish Silver, 18" x 24" oil on canvas

Spanish Silver, 18″ x 24″ oil on canvas

 

Speed Demon, 18" x 24" oil on canvas

Speed Demon, 18″ x 24″ oil on canvas

 

The Sprinter, 24" x 30" oil on canvas

The Sprinter, 24″ x 30″ oil on canvas

 

Silver Streak, 15" x 30" oil on canvas

Silver Streak, 15″ x 30″ oil on canvas


And stay tuned for an upcoming post about my recent trip to Kentucky (over the Breeder’s Cup) and Florida, including a chance to meet American Pharoah IN PERSON (or is it in “horse”?)!