Saturday, February 28, 2009

equus - photography

I recommend the stunningly beautiful Tim Flack book Equus. You can read an interview (and see some amazing photos from the book and elsewhere) at or visit his homesite at

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

work in progress - rearing horse

A pastel drawing I started a few days ago. I suppose a rearing white horse is a cliche - but I think there's a good reason for that!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Van Gogh's Ear Award

van gogh's ear award I'd like to thank Grey Horse Matters for awarding me with Van Gogh's Ear.
Now there's a sentence I never thought I would say ...

The award is for artists making a difference in the blogosphere and its creator is Idaho Daily. In his words:

"We are all artists in our own way, be it art, photography, writing, philosophy, comedy, or blogging, and we all go a little crazy sometimes. But if you ever feel so crazy to cut off your ear and give it to a prostitute, "Seek Help"! Always remember you're unique. Just like everyone else."

I'd like to pass on this award to for her beautiful bird images and her obvious dedication to art.

I would also like to award an Ear to James at
This may be a little controversial as he is my husband! And yet sometimes being close to another person gives you an insight on how much integrity and depth their work has.

James is helping to remind the artists among us that one of the most valuable tasks an artist can do is to demonstrate the absolute universality of the underworld journey, and to show us how the path downwards (through our own struggles and losses) can lead us up to a place of new and unexpected joy.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

nastagio degli onesti

nastagio degli onesti
This is Boticelli's strange image of Nastagio watching the ghosts of a woman and a knight symbolically re-enacting a doomed courtship. ('Symbolically' being the operative word!)
I love the way the white horse is gleaming against the dark forest.

The story is taken from Boccaccio's Decameron.

Friday, February 20, 2009

garden - kookaburra

A kookaburra decided our garden would make a good nursery for its young. The little one (actually quite big) hung around patiently all day until I heard them 'laughing' as they re-united in the evening.

If you would like to hear the Laughing Kookaburra, go to the following site, scroll down and press 'bird call':

Sunday, February 15, 2009

pastel - unfinished

It was only after I took a rest from this pastel (based on a warmblood) that I realised it was really a portrait of Juno - not a warmblood at all. I will have to go back to it armed with this new knowledge!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

gericault's Mazeppa

Gericault MazeppaA brief respite from the subject of the bushfires (still waiting to give a big hug to Juno - whether she likes it or not!). 

Here is Gericault's Mazeppa. A man is strapped to the back of a wild horse as a punishment. The horse carries him through the wilderness and back to his 'people' the other wild horses. It is a sublime and terrifying journey, that could be understood as expressing the wild power of desire. 

'The steeds rush on in plunging pride;
But where are they the reins to guide?
A thousand horse and none to ride!
With flowing tail, and flying mane,
Wide nostrils never stretched by pain,
Mouths bloodless to the bit or rein,
And feet that iron never shod,
And flanks unscarred by spur or rod,
A thousand horse, the wild, the free,
Like waves that follow o'er the sea,
Came thickly thundering on ...'

Byron, Mazeppa

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Leonard Cohen in Victoria

A few of us very blessed Victorians got to see Leonard Cohen perform the night before last. I'm sure we'd all like to send a big thank you out into the ether - for the concert, his (and his band's) generous contribution to the bushfire relief fund, and for singing 'Anthem' for us all (but, more particularly, for those dirctly hit by the bushfire - who had somehow made it to the concert):

The birds they sang
At the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what
Has passed away
Or what is yet to be

(Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in)

Monday, February 9, 2009

bushfires in Victoria - sugar glider

(Photo by Stephen Harman, at the Herald Sun Photo Gallery.)

A great deal of suffering, but also relief for some of us as we slowly hear about friends. Everyone is sending love and support to all those who've been hit hard by the fires. Nobody really knows what to do - except to offer help and be amazed at the bravery of the CFA and everyone else directly involved.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

bushfire stories

Donations to help people can be made at the Australian Red Cross (see yesterday's post). Donations for horses, or offers of feed or agistment etc in Victoria can be made to:
Donations to help a range of pets and livestock can be made at:

Story from The Age
After sending his brother to find safety on his prize 1993 Heritage Soft Tail Classic Harley-Davidson, Mr Sexton grabbed his horse, Jeune Mark, the offspring of 1995 Melbourne Cup winner Jeune, a cold beer from the fridge and walked out the gate. They started trotting, but just a few hundred metres from home they were confronted by flames.

"As we got up around the corner the flames just went absolutely sick, so I thought we'd turn around and try and race back. But the fire came up behind us, it came down from the hill, and we were just bloody engulfed, and I just thought to myself, 'That's it. This is where I'm going to die,'" he said.

Read the rest of the story at:


It's that dreaded time of year again. But I don't think any of us expected this. After a top of 46.7C (around 116F) in Victoria yesterday, the state has been absolutely devastated by bushfires.

We were relieved that fires narrowly missed the property where I ride regularly, but were so saddened to hear of the many deaths. The fire will also have had a devastating impact on livestock and wildlife.

CFA volunteer firefighters and many other volunteers have been doing an amazing job. People are also opening their homes to displaced families, and their properties to horses and cattle (quite a gesture, considering the shortage of feed in our current drought conditions). Just one example of a help message board is at:

Donations can be given at the Australian Red Cross site:

Friday, February 6, 2009

the red bridle series

Sometimes fiction ideas begin with detailed images. These can either be imagined scenes that I seem to come into in the middle of the action, or images that come about as I draw.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

horses I know - juno

pencil drawing of mare after rolling Juno pushes herself up after having a good, luxurious roll in the dust. After getting up she gives herself a good shake, like a wet dog, and then wanders of to graze - satisfied in having undone all my careful grooming efforts.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

horses I know - la maglia rosa

La Maglia Rosa a Thoroughbred Warmblood Here is a drawing of a friend's horse, Maggie AKA La Maglia Rosa. She is a Thoroughbred/Warmblood cross, which seems to mean she has the endless energy of a Thoroughbred and the size (and enormous movement) of a warmblood.

My husband and I have got so much joy watching her grow from a gangly, enormous-eared and rather silly adolescent to a magnificent (but still rather silly) adult.

Is there anything more moving than having a horse gallop up to you at the fence? Maggie comes to a sliding stop, enveloping us in dust, and expecting to be petted and entertained. She has to be involved in anything that's going on. She is also the most tactile horse I've ever met, loving to be scratched everywhere, and having a tendency to lick your face and hair for as long as you allow (or until her teeth make an appearance). Here's a drawing of her, with reference to some photos my husband took (she moves too fast to be sketched!).