Asian Wild Horses: link to the past, hope for the future

"The Return," watercolor sketch, 11x14" 2010

A couple of weekends ago we had some business in Minneapolis and decided to stay an extra day and make it an outing.  So we headed to one of my favorite places – the Minnesota Zoo!

Of course I’ve always been a horse nut.  Since I didn’t bring my paints on the trip, I was thankful to be able to snap a few photos of the Asian Wild Horses before my camera battery died.   (I’m also thankful that nobody seems to want to call them Przewalski’s horses anymore.  What a mouthful!)

I was intrigued to learn that Asian wild horses have a different number of chromosomes than domestic horses – 66 instead of 64.  I wonder if that has any connection to the fact that, unlike American mustangs, they have never been domesticated and are truly wild creatures?

Their primitive appearance provides a living link to  the prehistoric animals featured in the famous Lascaux cave paintings.  Painting them, I hoped to capture the spirit of the animal and its timeless connection to the natural world.

Asian wild horses are one of those wildlife success stories that lend hope for the future.  When I was a kid there were none left in the wild.  Today there’s a thriving herd of over 300 Asian wild horses roaming free on the steppes of Eurasia.

The title I chose for this sketch, “The Return,” pays tribute to this creature’s indomitable spirit, as well as the dedication and hard work provided by zoos around the world, without which the Asian Wild Horse would have disappeared forever.

Did you enjoy this post? Anne

The end of a creative winter…

Spring tulips, watercolor, 8.5x6" 2010

I believe every painting is a self-portrait to a certain extent.  The painter leaves not only pigment but the mark of his soul on paper or canvas.

If art is anything, it is footprints left on a journey.  By studying what painters and other artists leave behind, one can follow the moods and sensitivities not only of individuals, but of history itself.

Personally, spring could not have come at a more meaningful time for me.  Something is breaking loose in my soul and breaking a long winter’s hold on my spirit. The creative force is beginning to flow again.

Have you ever come out of a long creative winter?  What do you think caused it?   What helped you along the way?

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Apocalypse Cleanup Crew

4 Horsemen with cleaning tools illustration
Apocalypse Cleanup Crew

It’s been busy around here.  My freelance writing is starting to take off so I haven’t been spending much time in the studio.  However, I finally got the illustration done last week!

Feels good.  Now on to something else.  I was in Chicago last month for a conference and picked up a watercolor board at the Utrecht store downtown.  I’ve never tried those things before.  Looking forward to it!

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Illustrating is fun!

I’ve forgotten what fun illustration can be!

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Apocalypes Cleanup Crew rough
Apocalypse Cleanup Crew rough

Working on an illustration for my good friend, writer David Sklar.

The Apocalypse Cleanup Crew (David and three of his buddies) – are planning to print up T-shirts.

These are rough sketches for front and back.  The final will have a few changes, and will be white on black.

Back of shirt - cleaning up after the cleanup.
Back of shirt - cleaning up after the cleanup.

He’s got some hilarious captions for it, but I’ll spare you my attempt to remember them, and include them when I post the finished design.

I’ve forgotten what fun illustration can be!

BTW, David’s novella, Shadow of the Antlered Bird, is awesome!  You can read an excerpt here.

Did you enjoy this post? Anne

What I did on My Summer Vacation – Spanish Art Feast

The collection of Velazquez paintings was truly to die for, too. My favorite was Los Borrachos (The Drunks) – what a study in character!

Posing at the Prado, Madrid
Posing at the Prado, Madrid

Ooh – just was looking through my pictures from last June looking for something else and came across this.  It’s me next to a bronze statue of a painter by I forget what artist outside the Museo del Prado in Madrid.

I turned forty last February and sometime around my birthday I got a phone call.  It was my dad.  “How’d you like to go to Spain?” he asked.

Would I ever.  So last June we packed our bags and headed to Madrid.  I lost no time dragging him to the Prado, where by pure good fortune they had an incredible exhibit of paintings by Joachin Sorollo –  a contemporary of Sargent and an amazing painter!  The collection of Velazquez paintings was truly to die for, too.  My favorite was Los Borrachos (The Drunks) – what a study in character!

Los Borrachos, Diego Velazquez, 1629
Los Borrachos, Diego Velazquez, 1629

We also spent a day in Toledo and saw Gaudi’s fabulous Sagrada Familia cathedral and the Picasso Museum in Barcelona.

I didn’t have much time to paint, but it didn’t matter – it was a feast for the eyes!

(The food was great, too!)