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Gathering for Winter

Summer is winding down in the Pacific Northwest.  The cool rains will soon come and with horses, this means mud and fuzzy coats. With that, the optimal season to be out studying, sketching and photographing new subjects is ending. Yet, I can look forward to retreating into my Sellwood Studio for the winter months to focus on production of new paintings. I thought I would share a sneak-peek into what and who I will be working with over the winter months.

haflinger, jennifer pratt, blonde horses

Glorious Ruby

Next there is Ruby the Haflinger of Boondoggle Farm in Washougal Washington.   You might remember some oil bar studies I did a short while ago that Ruby was my model. I went back to see Ruby again because I wanted some reference to her in sunlight. It was drizzling rain on my first visit. I knew with sun lighting her coat she would come off with some brilliant metallic copper and gold. Now I know I usually stick to warmbloods as my subjects, but 5 minutes with Ruby and she will capture your heart. She is an exquisite model, yet full of character. She made me laugh all through all her photo sessions. She really likes food! like a lot! She has mastered the ability to go back and forth from total glam model (I call it her Zoolander face) to lip flapping, extended, weird angled twisted neck without moving her feet (see below) thorough the entire model session.

Haflinger, miss piggy, Zoolander

Ruby being weird but still beautiful

Next on the winter agenda is a series of showjumping paintings. I just got back from my first trip to Spruce Meadows Masters. I have been watching Spruce Meadows on CBC every year since I was a small child. Now living in the PNW, Calgary is just a short hour and 45 minute plane trip so I took advantage for the first time this year.  Three days to myself to just geek out on showjumping, YES please!!

spruce meadows, show jumping, Camargo 2, Luciana Diniz

Luciana Diniz of Portugal and Camargo 2 winning 1.60m Tourmaline Oil Cup

I had good seats in the Southwest grandstand. This is directly above/beside the in and out gate. What captured me as an artist was watching how the horses and riders entered and exited the ring. Was the horse backed off, tense or did they trot in like they owned the place? How did that play a role in round they rode? Did they walk out on a loose rein? When the exited did they pat their horse even if they had a bad round? Little things to note, maybe they don’t mean anything to anyone else, but to me, this is where my painting story started forming.

Luciana Diniz, fit for fun, spruce meadows.

Luciana Diniz and Fit for Fun, having a friendly chat by a fence that gave them problems.

Of all the horse and rider combinations I watched over three days, it was Luciana Diniz of Portugal that truly captured me. On all occasions she came trotting into the big ring on a loose rein, giant smile on her face, her horses relaxed, happy, not to mention going in very little tack comparatively to some of the gargantuan bits and gear out there (check out the snaffle!). After each ride she vigorously hugged each horse and engaged the crowd to share in her joy. Her charisma was infectious and I was indeed caught up in it. Fit for Fun aka ‘Fitty’ had just one rail down in the jump off on Sundays CP International Grand Prix. When they returned for the ribbon presentation she walked over to where they had the rail, they stood and had a chat. I can only imagine what she was saying, but it would seem by her extended hand she was giving the mare a little pep talk for the next time they see a similar tall, skinny vertical a couple of strides after a double liverpool combination. After checking out her website, Luciana just seems like an all round awesome person, I hope I am so lucky to see her jump again.

So as you can see, I am ready to hunker down for winter with ideas, I’m ready to get to work! ????




  1. Cheryl Fayle
    September 11, 2018

    Hi Jennifer,
    Thanks so much for sharing your photo journey and giving us a glimpse into your upcoming work. Your sketch is outstanding. You really capture the awesome feeling we get when we connect with horses.
    This summer I won first place in a juried show. It was three children in the lake not horses. I am ready to do more horses. Last Saturday I started taking oil painting lessons with Lorne Winters. He is an excellent teacher. Up until now my work has been in acrylics.
    Looking forward to seeing your new work. Enjoy your painting.
    All the best.

    • Jennifer Pratt
      September 11, 2018

      great to hear from you and congratulations on your juried show! Send me a link to the painting, I would love to see it. Best wishes with your oil painting!


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