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portraits of Sunny
aka "Sunrise the Somnolent Stallion"
I did the above portrait in oil pastels painting from life as my Thoroughbred stallion , Sunny, grazed in the front yard. The sun must have been hitting his coat especially well to bring out his best colors. Sunny was a sweet gentle horse, rather lazy but otherwise agreeable to anything asked of him. He lived to be a fairly old horse, well past twenty. I have not retouched this portrait at all, just scanned it in. although he was bay in color, for some reason he comes accross as chestnut in this portrait, due no doubt to the dazzling sunlight of the blaze of noon.
I painted Sunny for three days straight, and found by the third day that I had virtually ceased to recognize him as "Sunny my adored pet" or even as "a horse." My attention became totally pre-empted by the ever shifting array of shape, light and shadow, and color formed by the sunlight on his coat as he wandered about grazing. The third day's portrait is shown below. A less bright day and probably in the late afternoon.
Gertrude Stein asked Henri Matisse whether , when eating a tomato, he looked at it the way an artist would. Matisse replied "No, when I eat a tomato I look at it the way anyone else would. But when I paint a tomato, then I see it differently."
And I will add the line drawing I burnt into one side of my wooden "braiding box" (footstool used to more easily braid horse's mane and forelock for competitions). I did this drawing out of my imagination.
He really was a naturally lazy horse. I joked that he was descended from a horse owned by Abraham Lincoln's father, a horse Lincoln described as "so lazy it took half his day's energy just to stand still"