Wednesday, June 24, 2009

exhibition at the Yarra Valley in July

Exhibition: 'Balios'

July 2 - 31

horse painting from an upcoming exhibition at the yarra valley
I'm having an exhibition of horse paintings in July. I'm still finalising which pieces to include, but there should be a range of ink paintings, oil paintings and possibly pencil or pastel drawings.

The exhibition is called 'Balios' after the divine horse of the hero Achilles (yes, I've worked in a link to James' thesis!). It's also the title of one of the artworks.

Please join us for complementary wine and nibblies on Thurs July 2, 5-7pm

Or drop by any time throughout July to view the exhibition and enjoy some delicious food and wine!

Evelyn County Estate (Ph: 9437 2155)
55 Eltham - Yarra Glen Road, Kangaroo Ground.

Monday, June 22, 2009

nothing forced can be beautiful

Source=Klaus Schöneich Zentrum für Anatomisch richtiges Reiten® & Schiefen-Therapie® (Above is an image (not mine) showing a horse in natural, relaxed collection and also on the forehand, as a horse might move without a rider. For the opposite of relaxed, see the 'rollkur' image below.)

Debate has been raging for some time in the (beautiful) sport of dressage. Many dressage riders and trainers (not to mention judges and spectators) are concerned that unethical training practices are being rewarded by some dressage judges. Personally I think we should never forget Xenophon's statement on horse training (from over two thousand years ago) that nothing forced can ever be beautiful.

Following is a link to a petition by rider and trainer, Philippe-Karl. Although not everyone will agree with all the points on the list, it's a great way to keep the dialogue going about modern dressage judging.

Philippe-Karl has made some suggestions for radical changes in the judging of dressage, including:
5. Overflexion (nose behind the vertical) in any movement to be punished with a mark of at most 3.
6. Blocked jaws, tongues pulled up or hanging out and grinding of the teeth in any exercise to be punished with a mark of at most 4.

To read more, and to sign the petition if you wish, go to:

No idea what this is about? To read about a study into how horses experience 'rollkur', an extreme form of hyperflexion of the horse's neck, go to:

This might be comfortable for a few seconds. Standing still. Free to move when you wish. But running and for extended lengths of time? To read an article on rollkur by Classical Dressage trainer Uwe Spenlen, go to:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

some random thoughts on the colour red ...

infra red image of a zebra
The last colour I looked at was violet, made up of the shortest wavelengths of light discernible to the human eye. So now it’s red, made up of the longest wavelengths the human eye can see.
If the wavelengths got any longer they’d be infra-red, ‘visible’ to (some) snakes, the military and art restorers ... (Although the military and art restorers do need some extra help, the snakes are just naturally gifted). Above is an infra-red image of a Zebra showing hotter areas (red) and cooler areas (blue). I'm a bit concerned about its off-fore (or right foreleg, for the non-horsey reader).

The symbolism of the colour red? Red has a complicated symbolism that switches between war / retribution / violence, and marriage / fertility / cyclic decline and renewal. Rosetti’s famous image of Proserpine with her pomegranate suggests the more carnal elements of the colour red, while Kuzma’s image ‘Bathing the Red Horse’ (1912) suggests revolutionary change.

Of course, there's probably as many meanings of the colour red as there are artists!

see more of Steve Lowe's infra-red images at the London Zoo site

see my post on (red) poppies at my fiction site

wikipedia has quite a good entry on red

Thursday, June 18, 2009

horse photography @ national geographic

In this video Mark Harvey talks about photographing horses for National Geographic's Your Shot (a beautiful site where photographers upload their images):

Sunday, June 14, 2009

widening our circle of compassion

detail of durer - adam and eve in the garden of eden
"Our task must be to free ourselves— by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty."

—Albert Einstein

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Some random thoughts on the colour violet ...

NASA image of the sun in extreme ultraviolet
We are blind to many wavelengths of light. Violet is the shortest wavelength colour still visible to us. But beneath violet lies ultraviolet. We cannot see ultraviolet, but it is visible to some animals, including bees, butterflies and birds.

The first truly violet pigment used by artists was the poisonous and rather weak Cobalt Violet (the name Kobold reputedly coming from German for the goblins or evil spirits that interrupted miners in their search for precious substances).

The complex symbolism of violet seems to reflect its position on the edge of sight. The artist, Kandinsky, writes:

‘Just as orange is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow, so violet is red withdrawn from humanity by blue. But the red in violet must be cold, for the spiritual need does not allow of a mixture of warm red with cold blue. Violet is therefore both in the physical and spiritual sense a cooled red. It is consequently rather sad and ailing.’

Others believe that violet is a colour of spiritual ascension. Wearing violet symbolises transformation or retreat.

This post has now led me on a synchronous leap to my namesake, as violets (the flowers) can symbolise faithfulness or early death. Ophelia wears a ring of violets about her neck in Millais' Ophelia.
violets around the neck of ophelia by Millais
See my fiction blog for more on botanical symbolism.

Kandinsky quote found at this interesting colour site:

For the image shown above and for flower symbolism in Millais' 'Ophelia':

Monday, June 8, 2009


ink painting of bucking horse by ophelia keys
The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity.
George Bernard Shaw

ink painting of kicking horse by ophelia keys

Thursday, June 4, 2009