I often drive by a horse farm, down the road from my house. In the late spring of last year, I happened to see a woman outside the main barn, walking with her horse. I'd been wanting to paint a horse, so I decided to stop and ask if I could take pictures. She agreed. Hershey, on the other hand, was a tad less accommodating. He was in a strip of grass, outside of his fenced-in field. Wouldn't ya' know ... the grass really is greener... and that clover wasn't going to eat itself. It took me a while to get a half decent shot with my cellphone camera. (You can find a sample of my terrible pictures below. The photo in the middle of the second row is the one I used to paint this portrait.)
I began working on this painting over the summer but my dad became very ill. He was hospitalized, then had multiple surgeries. As Dad had been the primary care-taker for my mom, all of my time was spent caring for her while juggling doctor visits, and tests for dad. I wasn't able to finish the painting until finally in the fall, things turned around for Dad. Once I had some free time on my hands again, I got back to painting.
When the painting was done, I drove by the stables late one afternoon and, luckily, ran into Hershey's owner again. I re-introduced myself and gave her the painting. She seemed pretty happy with it. She liked how I had captured his "smile". (Hershey has a great personality, and smiles all the time.) We talked about art (she takes classes in Chinese brush painting), and she gave me a brief tour of the barn, some of which has been around since 1714. What a lovely woman, and lovely horse.