"TALL TAILS" DRAWINGS OF HORSES 1970 - 1974
A handbound, limited edition book printed on Japanese Paper Stock. Forty-Six pages printed on Kikusui Parchment center fold 7" x 11" landscape format. The cover stock is Iwahada Sand with two interleaf pages of Silk with Horsehair and type set Cally 721. Personally assembled and handbound in a traditional Japanese sewn twine fashion, signed and numbered by the artist with a twist of horses mane sewn in on a special fold out cover. The last section brings the art up to date with eleven colour reproductions of current paintings with equine imagery created in 2006 and 2007.
As a child, I converted a wooden chair into a horse, using black liquid shoe polish for hooves, white for ‘stockings’. An upside down shoe box was fastened to the chair top for a head, embellished with eyes and ears. Strands of wool created mane and tail, and loops of rope, stirrups. Gripping the chair back and keeping my feet in the stirrups, I could rock across the kitchen floor in imaginary adventures. Heavy snowfalls increased my ‘herd’, for I built and rode innumerable snow horses. In a grocery store downtown, I spent hours riding a mechanical palomino with a real saddle and bridle of leather. Not having a dime to animate it proved irrelevant.
Several china horses were named, treasured and played with daily. I fashioned saddles or harness on them out of plasticine, then painted them with shoe polish. Sometimes I built sleighs or wagons behind the horses, and created dramatic settings.
Throughout childhood and adolescence, if I wasn’t a horse myself, I was riding one – horses only I could see. Visible ones covered schoolbooks or scraps of paper, so idealized that they existed in another world, as these three examples show. Winged horses held particular fascination as the ultimate mode of escape. If paint or ink were temporarily absent but inspiration white-hot, I resorted once more to shoe polish: gleams of light over dancing horses instead of shiny shoes.
Humans, however, proved a bigger problem in wanting to watch me draw. I drew from ladders, stacked bales of hay, even the tops of box stalls to escape observation, thereby struggling with foreshortening as well.