Last year, Woodbine Entertainment initiated a contest to select “The Official Queen’s Plate Artist.” I did enter, what I thought was a beautiful painting of 2014 winner Lexie Lou, and was disappointed when it didn’t make the top five – after all, painting Canadian racehorses is what I do! Anyway, such is the life of the artist – we have to know how to handle rejection, because we don’t always fit with that the powers that be are looking for. I decided to enter again this year, and went with something much more generic – a horse in the walking ring, rider up, groom leading her. I had taken the reference photo last summer at the races, and as soon as I saw it, I knew I needed to paint it. When they announced the 2016 contest – late enough that I’d been convinced they weren’t going to run it – I didn’t have a lot of time to contemplate what I was going to paint, and picked up the reference photo, already printed. I managed to get the painting done and entry made a week before the deadline, as I was travelling to San Francisco!
The notification date for the five finalists came and went, and I figured once again my work had been bypassed – though last year they’d sent out an email passing along that information. I went to check out the Plate website, and there was the announcement. Clicked through to see the top five…and there was my painting! That was a pleasant surprise! Now, the painful part begins – the winner is determined by a voting process, and shameless self-promotion is NOT my strong suit. Popularity contests are not things I win. I’d rather see work chosen on merit than on who has the most friends. That said, I’ve been humbled by the show of loyal friends who have shown their support in my Facebook posts!
Now…the title of this post doesn’t mean what you think it might. The grey filly in the painting, named Letter Fly, was bred by a friend of mine. Due to unfortunate circumstances, my friend had to sell her at the yearling sales. She ended up making her first start as a three-year old in Iowa, of all places. After showing little in those early races, my friend was able to buy her back and return her to Ontario, and she was christened “Cinderella” by the trainer’s granddaughter. Here, she’s gone from a cheap maiden claimer in Iowa to an allowance winner. She is sound and still racing as a five-year old, but when she no longer wants to be a racehorse, she’ll be safe.
So, I hate asking for votes for myself, I really do. Cinderella, on the other hand, is very deserving of them! To vote, visit Woodbine’s Queen’s Plate website, and scroll down to follow the link that will take you to the voting site. There has been a bit of confusion in the voting process – you will need to rate the options given from first to fifth. I hope you enjoy all the artwork that has made the finals!
To see the original post, please visit my studio blog.