A couple of recent photographs from the Middleburg Hunt’s Christmas parade and fox hunt caught the eye of two artists from either side of the Atlantic, and I was honored when they asked my permission to create paintings from my images. Since then, Ian Legge from the UK and Jeff Morrow from Cincinnati have produced absolutely beautiful, very different paintings. I asked them to share some thoughts about their paintings and the photographs that caught their eye.
12 x 24, oil on canvas
“I came across the source photograph of Maureen Conroy Britell, taken by Ed at a Middleburg Hunt meet, on the Countryside Alliance Facebook page where a number of Ed’s photos had been posted. Many of my paintings are based on dogs or horses and am always looking for inspiration. A number of photos from the set caught my eye but the one I chose just has a beautifully elegant poise to it. Ms. Conroy Britell looks regal, balanced and elegant and is caught in a lovely light. It was a shot that just popped out at me. Ed kindly allowed me to use the image (with approval from Ms. Conroy Britell too).
“When it came to painting it, it proved quite tricky. I used some old oil brushes here, where recently I have been using watercolour brushes — totally incorrect with oil paint, but there were practical reasons for this. This has led to a slightly more ‘impressionistic’ result than some of my other work. It was nearly erased completely at one point, but I slept on it and found a way through. Possibly the biggest challenge was the veil. The first attempt looked very poor – painted lines just didn’t seem to work. So that got scrubbed. After the paint drying, I re-glazed the surface and then re-worked it by applying skin tones and highlights as ‘blobs’ hopefully suggesting skin through a mesh. Not sure if the end result is the right solution but it’s a solution. Next time I tackle a veil, I may explore other options.
“A learning curve certainly but I think offers a potential for approaches for future work and, happily, both Ed and Maureen have been very kind in their responses to it. Very many thanks to Ed Felker and Maureen Conroy Britell.”
24 x 18, oil on canvas
“I never use other people’s photography as reference for my oil paintings, but a few weeks ago while perusing Facebook, I came across a photo [of Devon Zebrovious and Anne Sittmann] by Ed Felker. It caught my eye because of the arrangement of light and dark values that make an interesting abstract pattern. I also like the lighting and how the shadow is hiding the one woman’s eyes. That mysteriousness, along with the fact that the two women are in each other’s space makes the situation intriguing. I felt including the hands of the woman on the left would be distracting from the heads. In my painting it looks more confrontational than the photo indicates. Perhaps because in the photo it is evident that Anne, the lady with her back to us, is pulling down on her vest and not holding her hands on her hips.
“It was fun to paint the extreme lights and darks working against each other. It was a fun challenge to portray the hat on the right with few discernable edges – just melding into the background. Painting the veil over the woman’s…Devon’s…face was daunting because I was afraid if I messed it up I would end up repainting areas of her face. But I think I got the veil indicated just enough that it isn’t too heavily done, yet shows enough to read as a veil. Getting the satiny effect of the vest came slowly and with difficulty. On the other hand, the back of Anne’s head and her collar came easily and quickly. It “fell off the brush” as I like to say. Overall “The Conversation” was a joy to paint. It is being framed and is available at the Eisele Gallery in Cincinnati.”
Many thanks to Ian, Jeff, Devon, Anne and Maureen.
For more of Ian Legge’s work, click here.
For more of Jeff Morrow’s work, click here.
I spent a beautiful morning in the Virginia countryside with the fox hunters of Snickersville Hounds in Middleburg, Virginia. Here are some of my favorite images from the day…
Meet Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome, in Baltimore this week for the Preakness, the middle jewel of the Triple Crown. I hope you enjoy some of my favorite photos of a remarkable day…
What a difference a day makes! Twenty four hours earlier, this was Pimlico race track. Colossal rains Thursday night made for an absolute slop pit Friday morning!
But the sun was out by late morning, and incredibly the track was perfect by the time the sun rose over Baltimore Saturday morning.
California Chrome, just over 24 hours before his shot at the Preakness, appeared relaxed and comfortable.
I’ve been going to Preakness for 20 years, and this may have been the absolute best weather we’ve ever had.
The day is rich with tradition, from the black-eyed susans…
To the beautiful hats!
As the day progresses, seats fill up, excitement builds and bets are made. When the Preakness race nears, the excitement in the air is palpable.
Ride On Curlin had a rough trip in the Kentucky Derby, but he looked exquisite in the post parade. He would prove to be formidable, taking second. His handlers are looking forward to the Belmont, a race they feel he has a fair chance in.
But this day belonged to one horse.
Barreling down the stretch for the first time, California Chrome (the 3 horse in blue) was in great position.
When they came down the home stretch, it was California Chrome all the way.
Chrome’s jockey Victor Espinoza grins on his way to the winner’s circle.
Back at the barn, California Chrome comes out to show off a bit.
I’ve been around a lot of horses, and I have never seen one so eager to have his picture taken. His ears go up when he hears the first shutter click, and then he poses for as long as you want him to.
You’ve got to polish the Chrome!
Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn’s signature cowboy boots as he greets his horse.
In a moment that felt intensely private, despite being closely surrounded by fifty cameras, Coburn put his arms around his champion’s neck and whispered to him.
Two jewels down. Can he take the third? Gambling is just that, but one thing’s for sure. Such a likable horse, surrounded by equally likable people, will have much of the world pulling for him as he enters the Belmont.
My wife and I were invited to a Mexican rodeo event very near our home, and it was a fun and fascinating day of authentic Mexican culture, food, music and sport. I hope you enjoy these, my favorite images from the day!
I like it when the farrier comes out to our place. Something about being around iron and anvils and the tools and practices of old that I’m just drawn to. I don’t actually have to help or anything, since most of the barn duties can be found enumerated beneath “Laundry” and “Having conversations with banks or insurance companies” on the list of things that will simply go a lot more smoothly if I don’t get involved. So I am usually standing around yapping, watching the fire and the sparks and the hammering for some time before I think to myself, “Hey. This would be a neat activity to photograph, wouldn’t it?” By the time it occurred to me today, the fire and the sparks were gone, but I still got a few shots in. I never do sepia tone, but it seemed right for this subject matter. I hope you enjoy the images, and a special thanks to Steve and Rob for letting me poke a lens into their business.
Sometimes I forget about black and white. But it’s fun every now and then to shoot in monochrome, and my wife Sandy’s horse show (she is an eventer) seemed like a good opportunity to experiment a bit. Here Sandy puts studs in Emma’s shoes for better traction in cross country.