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Boyish Curiosity

Stallion, Jennifer Pratt, Centre Pointe, Daily Paintworks

“Boyish Curiosity” 6×8 oil on panel

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I recently participated in an Art Therapy class called “Mothers in Mid-Life”. The class was geared for women transitioning from the parenting years to another chapter, one where find ourselves we gaining independence as our kids become more independent. For some women, including myself, it’s been so long that we’ve worn the parent role, we forget how to use this time for ourselves. The class opened my eyes to emotions I was experiencing, but did not know how to describe or coin a term to. Above all, I was happy to know I was not alone. I met a group of wildly creative and vivacious women. All of us adoring our kids, but ready to unleash the tether of allowing ourselves to be on-call for all their needs, more than giving ourselves the gifts of realizing our own dreams. How do we do both?

During class we did a great deal of free writing. Just letting thoughts or the subconisous leave your hand to the paper. Streams of words. I discovered things about myself in these free flowing words, and reconnected with my former self in BC times (Before Child) There are parts of ‘BC’ her I would like back, but I also know I am far more mature, experienced and wise today than I was back then.

I’ve begun to incorporate free writing as part ritual in the studio. Today, I let the words flow about why horses and what do they mean to me. I’ve been asked so many times over the years Why Horses? Meaning why do you paint horses instead of people or landscapes or…blah, blah..if you are a fellow horse artist, you know exactly the question and how often you’ve heard it!  As usual the words surprised me, they were equally weighted between pure curiosity about their ridiculous beauty and amazing people I’ve met over the years, contrasted by utterly horrible experiences I’ve had with the animal and some rather unscrupulous horse people. Much like parenting it has not been all roses and rainbows, there were hard times too, but I still love them dearly and they continue to capture my imagination and drive my passion to this day, even after all these years.

 

Centre Pointe and a New Chapter

Horse painting, Jennifer Pratt, equine art

‘Centre Pointe’ 6×8 oil on panel

Hi Friends, some great news!! I am writing to you from my new studio in inner SE PDX! I am feeling so wonderfully positive about this move for so many reasons. It’s only been a few short weeks since I began this new chapter, however I’m already feeling a greater connection to my artwork and a drive to create. Having a separate space to travel to means I have somewhat of a ‘workplace’ to go to. I’m seeing new faces in the neighborhood along the way here, but once I’m holed up in my space, I can have the solitude to create. No more journeys into the house from the backyard studio and risk of being distracted by a pile of dishes in the kitchen sink along the way. I had no idea how much creative bandwidth this was stealing from me, until I left it at home.

Since this marks a new chapter of moving forward, I’ve made some decisions on how I wish to proceed. I’ve spent the last few years working small paintings, it’s been a great exploration to explore and develop my style, but I’m feeling the want to push into larger format. I still plan on selling some small studies on Daily Paintworks on occasion, but in the background I have several larger pieces that I wish to spend more time developing and honing until I release them to the website. I have so many ideas in my mind, but I also know myself well, that patience is also key so I don’t become too frustrated with myself.

The painting I just posted, Centre Pointe is the young Holsteiner stallion standing at Country Lane Farm in Delta BC.  They were the last of the three farms I visited back in the spring in my search for new material. This is my little thank you gift to them for their time and effort presenting and holding the horses for me, so I could have some great new material to work from. Now, I’m feeling complete that all three farms have their thank you gifts. I can move forward with all their models they gave me as fantastic inspiration in my new space. 🙂

thank you – JP

 

“Freedom by Zion JC”

“Freedom by Zion JC” 6×8 oil on panel

Back in June I had an invitation to travel to Sisters, Oregon to meet a Dutch Warmblood breeder by the name of Kanoe Durdan Godby. Great reason to make a weekend out of visiting beautiful Central Oregon! We had incredible light with the mountains as a backdrop and I felt incredibly lucky to have some exquisite horses model for me. Kanoe breeds Dutch Harness horses, it was a great experience to learn more about driving and breeding for driving (I know little!). These horses are not only flashy, but exceptional movers with dynamic action.

“Freedom”

Kanoe has a number of homebred horses, which I will introduce as time goes by, but it was apparent to me during my visit. that her mare Freedom (Zion JC x Flemmingh) and Kanoe shared a unique bond.  This painting is my thank you gift to her, for reaching out to me, teaching me about her driving horses and giving me the gift of inspiration through sharing herself and her wonderful animals. Thank you Kanoe!  There as a few more shots from my farm shoot on my Facebook page HERE

“Freedom” by Zion JC

 

Sweet Gina

“Sweet Gina” 8″x6″, oil on panel

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Gina, (Doc Pacheena Cat) is another resident at Jessica Kellner’s Island Farm that captivated me. As an amateur rider with some extensive injuries, I no longer crave those unpredictable, full of themselves kind of horses. I want sane, stable, don’t dump me kind of rides. The kind of horse you can ride on a loose rein after a school in the grassy field, perhaps with a few deer darting about, maybe even throw in a wild turkey calling from the thick brush beside the fence line – without dying as result. These horses are worth their weight in gold. Don’t you just get that from her eye expression? 🙂

Mandala Isla @ 5 Days

“Mandala Isla @ 5 Days” 6×8 oil on panel. NFS

Life has been a whirlwind over the last few months and I can admit, I’ve had a vacation from the easel since June. It’s been a stressful time for our family because we have been coming near the end of our Visas here in the USA. We were not sure if we were going to be staying in Portland or having to move back to Canada soon. Although we’ve always known there were never any guarantees to stay, it’s been a very long, often stressful transition to make a home in a new city and country. Despite missing my home country, friends and family often, we did not feel that now was the time to move again. Relief came a couple weeks ago when we got word of our next visa approval, which means we can throw a few more roots into the ground here and let the stress of having to relocate again dissolve away.

So back into the studio. After a long painting breaks in the past, I’ve had a ritual of painting a gift as the first one off the easel. I don’t know, it always just seems like the right way to get back into the swing of things on a positive note, by making someone else’s day.  That action makes me happy. Back in May I traveled to Vancouver Island to meet dressage trainer and breeder Jessica Kellner  at Island Farm to take photos for new paintings. Her farm was lovely. She was generous enough to let me roam around the property and hang by the schooling ring taking hundreds of frames for future artworks. As a thank you for her hospitality hosting me, I painted her 2017 filly,  “Mandala by Revolution, @ 5 days old” 6×8. I did go to two other farms last spring so more good karma paintings to come for a couple of you out there still

As far as other new things, I decided I want to try my hand at three dimensional artwork. I’m taking a ceramics class at the Oregon College of Art and Craft.  As of my second session, I’m quite horrible at it.  However, I am enjoying being a beginner at something and it’s making me feel better about any and all issues I have at the easel as a result. (haha!) I also met with a local sculptor last weekend who handed off a block of sculpting wax to me to create something with. Ultimately it will be cast as a bronze figure. It’s given me great excuse to pull out all my old Breyer model horses as inspiration.

Working in my backyard studio is still quite lonely 4 years later. Not to mention it’s quite cold and damp from November to April. I’m considering moving to an artist collective off the property. Very early stages of looking around, but feeling this might be the way to go to meet other like minds and get off my home turf a bit more often. Hopefully an update on this soon.

Mandala Isla by Revolution. 5 days old. Island Farm, Victoria, BC, Canada

Hindend Study & Musings about the Creative Process.

“Hindend Study”, 8×6, oil on panel

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The creative process baffles me, or perhaps after all these years I am discovering new things about myself? In my studio currently, I’m embarking on an ambitious series involving complex, yet exciting colour combinations and loose, yet expressive movement of some lovely young horses. Well, that is the hope in the end at least. In all reality it’s completely un-chartered waters for me. My judgement of this paintings are often skewed and have left me a few days in a worse mood, (sorry family!) wondering my abilities. However, I felt something with my recent painting of Braecrest Elizabeth that I could push on and further explore.

At the end of a rather exhausting two weeks of painting and nothing I wanted expose to the rest of the world, I decided to put the piles of unused paint on my palette to use for something else. I felt the need to step back into a comfortable box of knowing where a painting was going, and having a predictable outcome. Just to remind myself, why yes, Jenn, you can paint dear. A simple hind quarter study was a wonderful way for me to relax, not to overthink, but focus on simple value changes and structure. While it may only be horse people like myself who are obsessed with horse’s hind-ends, it grounded me to paint something so simple, yet beautiful….now back into the cave to work on the new stuff next week.

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Braecrest Elizabeth

Braecrest Elizabeth, 8×10, oil on Raymar panel

I’ve had a series in my mind for a while that encapsulates light, movement, and colour of horses. As an evolving artist who used to work in a very strict realist style, erasing the defining edge of a painting causes a feeling of inner angst that I’m just becoming confident working though.

Think about it, we’ve been taught as kids to ‘colour within the lines’, then add my disciplined years of architectural drafting and design where precise was what I had to be. Each time I push an edge into the outer boundary, given there is a layer of underlying paint, the results are spontaneous and unexpected. Going into the unknown, less predicable.

I completed this painting after a full day at the easel, my eyes not clearly registering what I was seeing. I thought it looked OK…then left it for a couple days. I returned today to realize that this was a breakthrough piece for me. I did not worry about all the defining details, but what was important to express the form showed through. The palette is soft, yet the values coherent. I’m lucky to say, it’s sold already. It is a wonderful feeling to know that my collectors saw what I was originally doubting, but then once I had fresh eyes, saw a really lovely painting.

My model for this painting is ‘Braecrest Elizabeth’ as a foal in 2009. http://www.braecrestfarm.ca/horses-for-sale/2011-and-older/ It’s incredible for me to see a mare that I have known as a wee one, as well her dam, with foals previous to her. I love that aspect of my dream job.

Speaking of dream job, I’m heading to Vancouver Island and lower mainland British Columbia first week in June to do some shoots with foals for future paintings. If anyone in the area happens to be reading this, and has some foals that wish to be models, don’t hesitate to contact me! 

Out Standing in his Field

Out Standing in his Field, 6×8, oil on Raymar Panel

Click HERE to Bid, minimum bid $50.00

I adore painting foals. Over the years in my career as an equine painter I’ve had great opportunity to work with breeders, meeting foals at various farms. Most fascinating to me, is meeting new foals by different Stallions but the same broodmare year after year. Studying the nuances different crosses yield is fascinating. The inquisitive colt as my model here, was from 2016 at Wensleydale Farm in Yamhill. “Leo” is by Lordanos, out of Daveena by DaCaprio.

Which brings me to this ~ I’m looking for models for 2017!! If you are in the Pacific Northwest and have some sporthorse foals arriving this spring, I’d love the opportunity to have them as my models for future paintings. Contact me! 🙂

Lastly, I’ve started posting to Instagram. I’m still learning how to use it for my artwork, but if you are on Instagram and would like to follow me – here’s my link: https://www.instagram.com/jenniferprattartist/?hl=en

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Bright Eyes

Bright Eyes, 6×8, Oil on Raymar Panel

Click HERE to bid, via Daily Paintworks

It’s been a long, wet, grey winter here in Portland. Painting for me has been sporadic until the birds started singing and the green of Oregon arrived just a couple weeks ago. To get myself back in the painting headspace, I spent an afternoon digging through photos. I came across a photo of my old mare, now 19, who is now happily living with a new family, and loved by a young girl. Illy has big, bright eyes and wide forehead. There is always a slight natural curl to her forelock. She was my muse for so long, it seemed like this spring was a good time to bring her back to the easel.

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Teddy a Christmas Commission

Teddy, 8×10, oil on Raymar Panel

Sometime in November, I put the word on my Facebook Page that after a three year break, I wanted to take on a Christmas commission for someone out there. It was a heartwarming moment for me, when I received a text from a client back in Ontario, seconds later to say she was happily on-board. I’ve completed a few paintings for the McCowan family and I knew immediately that this client was not afraid of colour or artistic expression. I also was fortunate to have excellent reference photos to work from, provided by Robyn Buckler .After a few rough starts, the painting finally flowed for me. I was able to let the edges go, but maintain enough detail in the appropriate areas to create the likeness essential for a successful commissioned piece. I heard soon after Christmas that happy and surprised tears were flowing. I was overjoyed to revisit that familiar feeling of being a special part of someone’s gift.

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