When I first saw this photo, I knew I was in love with this Lipizzan stallion. I mean…what a looker! Plus his owner Sarah is an accomplished horsewoman and trainer.
I admit I was a little jealous looking at this photo and thought what a wonderful life M&M must have had since he was a little foal!
Boy oh boy was I living in my filter bubble. Seems like when I see incredible photos online, I assume that all is well in the course of that horse’s life. A total assumption on my part.
As I talked to Sarah about M&M, I was horrified to learn that he was kept in atrocious conditions until he was around 2 years old. He was part of a terrible case of large numbers of horse being neglected. Sarah adopted 67 of the horses.
Many of which had been locked inside a barn for years. It was hard for me to take it all in. The time, commitment, and resources it would take to care for all these horses was a huge undertaking. I was amazed that Sarah was able to do it!
Even though that event happened nine years ago, I could still hear the emotion in Sarah’s voice during our interview. This act of compassion and duty to those in distress is true courage.
Now on to M&M’s portrait…
When I began his portrait, I had no idea of the background story. From him, I felt a sense of red-hot fire! I knew I had to have a red background behind him.
On the left side of his cheekbone, there is a mountain range and an idyllic pasture. See if you can find it. To me this seems like M&M’s calm ‘in the zone’ side of his being. The colors that turn and go up towards his ear represent his alertness. When I stood back and looked at the linear brush strokes on his face, they reminded me of armor.
I loved the idea of the colors looking painted on the amour. I thought of war paint but I found that wasn’t exactly right. More like the layers to his personality and what he decides to show the world. On his neck the red/yellow combine and twist around into the more pink/purple tones. This shows that the fire is part of him but it doesn’t consume him.