Dancethruthedawn: 2011 Hall of Fame Inductee

Dance Smartly has already been featured on this blog, and this year,  daughter, Dancethruthedawn  (by Mr. Prospector)  joined her mother in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.  Champion two-year old filly during her juvenile season, at three she won both the Canadian Oaks and the Queen’s Plate.  In total, she made $1.6 million in her three-year career.  She is now part of the Sam-Son Farm broodmare band.

The painting is 18 x 14 oil on Raphael linen pane, createdl for the 2011 Hall of Fame fundraiser.

2001 Canadian Oaks and Queen's Plate winner

Dance Smartly – Canada’s Queen

Here’s another Canadian great I’ve now portrayed twice.  The same year I did the Northern Dancer painting, I donated a painting of Dance Smartly for that year’s Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame fundraiser.  This 14 x 11 oil was based on both my own photos, as well as some supplied to me by the Hall of Fame.  My own photos weren’t the best – taken during her racing days – so I was quite happy to have the additional references.

This year, I had the opportunity to paint this amazing filly again.  When I signed on to be part of the Mural Mosaic project’s Le Cadeau du Cheval/The Horse Gift, I knew I wanted to do something commemorating a Canadian Thoroughbred.  The panel I received was decidedly purple, and after an initial reaction of “What do I do with this?”  I knew I needed to do something related to the Queen’s Plate, with that traditional blanket of royal purple and gold flowers.  Dance Smartly was on the list of horses the organizers wanted to see in the project, and after the loss earlier this year of Tammy Samuel-Balaz and Elizabeth Samuel, it seemed a fitting tribute to some noteworthy Canadian ladies.  The colour of the image of my panel has been altered somewhat on the Mural Mosaic site, so a more accurate depiction can be found on my studio blog post.

Again, while both the originals are no longer available, giclée reproductions can be purchased.  The initial painting is available either on canvas ($150.00) or paper ($95.00) at 14 x 11” as well as a smaller collector print at $30.00.

The decidedly purple Mural Mosaic panel is reproduced at 12.5 x 12.5” on fine art paper for $95.00 or as a smaller collector print for $30.00.  Canvas available by request.

In both cases, the reproductions will be signed by the artist, and 20% of each sale goes to LongRun.  As the initial painting was produced for the Hall of Fame fundraiser, an additional portion will go to that organization.

The Greatest Canadian

Northern Dancer
Northern Dancer

A while back, the CBC put on a show designed to determine “The Greatest Canadian.”  Someone, in my opinion, was gravely overlooked!  How do you do a show like that without even mentioning the name Northern Dancer?

I was fortunate enough to meet The Dancer the year before he died.  I’d spent the winter working at Payson Park in Florida and took some vacation time on the way home to visit my friend in New Jersey – much too close to Maryland to pass up such an opportunity.  He may have been old and covered in mud, but he still had a bounce in his step and that look in his eye that reminded us we were in the presence of greatness.

I did a drawing of him from the photos I took that day – I may just be brave enough to suffer through the embarrassment of showing you that drawing – but two years ago Woodbine celebrated its 50th anniversary, and the inaugural running of the Northern Dancer Stakes.  For the occasion I did a new painting – once again digging up those old photos I had taken.  The original 20 x 16” oil on linen was used as a fundraiser at LongRun’s Gala, but I’ve made it available as a giclée reproduction on canvas (17.5 x 15” $250.00), and a smaller reproduction on fine art paper (14 x 11”, $95.00).  A small collector print is also available for $30.00.  Reproductions are signed by the artist, and no less than 10% of each sale will go to LongRun.

Thanks for visiting…and comments and inquiries are always welcome.

You Have to Start Somewhere…

Well, I found it – a photo of my first oil painting, of my favourite racehorse, Norcliffe.  I still don’t know where the original is.  Around here somewhere!  If I remember correctly, this was an 8 x 10 on canvas board. Considering it was my first oil ever, it’s not entirely embarrassing!  I think I got worse before I got better!


Norcliffe (Buckpasser-Drama School, by Northern Dancer) was 1976 Queen’s Plate winner and Horse of the Year in Canada, and was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2005.  I never got to meet Norcliffe, but I did work for his owner, and looked after one of his daughters.  I’ll never forget the day I got to take her out to the turf course at Payson Park – but that’s as close as I got to the big horse himself!