Red horse, after a black and white photo by Eve Donnadieu.

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This cheeky horse appealed to me the moment I saw the photo by my friend Eve. I was going to paint it in naturalistic colours but started underpainting it in red and that grew on me. I added a metallic blue sky to give contrast and atmosphere. Grey ground to make the land look dark and gloomy. This is another work in progress. I have a lot of ideas but I’m not sure if I will get them all done in time for an Exhibition at the end of May. X

War horse

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I don’t have any photos but I did a quick sketch from my memory of the horse in Warhorse that I went to see tonight.

The play starts with a puppet foal which is quite small. The story shows him being bought and then brought up on a farm in England in 1914. Suddenly the foal becomes a fully grown horse. He is sent along with thousands or possibly millions of horses across to be part of the cavalry in the First World War.

The story charts what happened to him and also his owner who enlists so he can find him.

The horses in the play are depicted by puppets which contain two puppeteers inside them and one moving the head and neck. In scenes where he is galloping extra puppeteers move the four feet. The horses move in realistic ways, flicking it’s ears, moving it’s tail. Rearing and bucking.

There are sections of horrific violence but through it all there is a strong streak of humanity. There are good and bad on both sides. I found myself enthralled  The play seemed to fly by.

I need to mention the other puppets, the goose, swallows flying on the wing, and a first World War tank that were  so well used to depict reality. You forgot there were puppeteers, you just saw the things they were meant to represent. If you get a chance to see it, its worth it.

Copper horse

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I took this photo a few months ago with the intention of doing a painting. It struck me that the copper beech behind it shows off the verdigris of the horse really well and the wooden plinth it is on mimics the tree trunk behind it. Trentham lake is in the distance. I’m not sure if it’s significance but I do like it. I’m guessing it could be based on a Greco-Roman or Celtic design? I could try and find out, but I just like it as it is.