There is debate among classical riders about the origin of Spanish Walk. Some historians state it originated with Xenophon. Others believe it emerged in Naples with the development of Neapolitan horses, bred for greater collection and maneuverability, while others profess the Spanish Walk arose from the classical French School. Though seen today as a “circus trick,” Spanish Walk remains important to the education of Iberian horses, who show great aptitude for the movement. For dressage horses, Spanish Walk is an effective exercise for stretching, strengthening, and improving collection. In Spanish walk, the horse shifts balance toward the haunches to free its shoulders, resulting in a free, high step with the front legs. Spanish Walk becomes a tool to teach the horse expressive passage and extensions.
I find the balance, strength, and grace expressed in Spanish Walk very beautiful. It inspired my next set of paintings in the Dream Horse series.
With a white Lipizzan, I have spent much of last year painting grey horses. In these two painting, I wanted to explore black horses. To create a lively paint surface, I used several blue pigments, including an interference paint. I learned that the interference paint was quite opaque and didn’t mix well with the transparent pigments. For the painting “Pas de Noir,” I decided to use it only in the highlight areas of the horse’s body.
In the second version, I wanted to continue my exploration with pattern. The horse’s highlights were first masked, then an underglazed in a light value was applied. Over the first glaze, a pattern was masked and a deep violet wash was poured. With the pour dried and the mask removed, a lively surface was revealed.
To complement the busy surface design in the figure, the background called for a lively treatment of interference paint applied with dry-brush and splatter.
For my new show “Legacy,” I will show four Dream Horses, “Queen Bee,” “Walk Like an Egyptian,” “Spanish Walk,” and “Carousel.” “Legacy” is a retrospective art show of the work of Sabrena Soong and myself. It includes Sabrena’s mixed media abstract compositions, including pieces from her “Meditation” series. Along with my “Dream Horse” series, I will show some landscapes in watercolor and pastel, some still life compositions, and newer equine watercolors. The opening reception for “Legacy,” is scheduled for Saturday, Jan 10th, 4-7 pm. The show runs through March 13, 2015.