Cinderella, Cinderella…


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.


“Inglorious, 2011 Queen’s Plate”


This painting of 2011 Queen’s Plate-winning filly, Inglorious, recently sold at the CTHS Alberta Art Show and Sale on September 29 and 30, 2014. I was honoured to be juried into this show, the first year artists outside of Alberta were invited to submit work for consideration.  The painting is 16 x 20 oil on Raphael linen panel.

Mike Fox, Revisited

Mike Fox

Another one of my daily paintings for November was of Mike Fox in the post parade before his victory in the 2007 Queen’s Plate.  This is a 10 x 8 study in oil on masonite panel.  It was fun to paint this horse again, especially as the light was hitting him in the photo I worked from, which allowed me to work some colour into the painting.  I used a limited palette of colours for all these daily paintings, but it is amazing the range of colours one can mix from such a simple selection.

This painting is now sold.

Thanks for visiting!

Curlin ~ The Canadian-bred Connection

6 x 8 oil on linen panel
6 x 8 oil on linen panel

As the 2008 Breeders’ Cup approaches, it seems only appropriate that I bring up Curlin.  Curlin is by Canadian-bred Smart Strike, and out of a Deputy Minister (also Canadian-bred) mare.  Just another example of the strong influence of Canadian horses in International pedigrees. Smart Strike ties into one of my previous posts – a son of Mr. Prospector, he is a half-brother to Dance Smartly;  and of course Deputy Minister is a grandson (by Vice Regent) of Northern Dancer.  Curlin is now the richest Thoroughbred of all time, having more than $10 million in earnings.  Kudos to his connections for running him as a four-year-old.  Saturday, he attempts his second victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

This painting is just a small study of the Big Red Machine – 6 x 8″ oil on Raymar linen panel.  It is a faster, looser work from most of the paintings you have seen here so far.  I used photos I’d taken at last year’s Breeders’ Cup at Monmouth Park, but made adjustments after watching him win the 2008 Dubai World Cup. I was in Dubai for the 2007 World Cup, won by Invasor, so watching Curlin’s triumph provided a little nostalgia!  I’d like to do a larger painting of Curlin – I’d give a lot to be at Santa Anita on Saturday!

This little original is for sale, framed, at $350.00.  As always, a percentage of the sale will go to LongRun.  Thanks for stopping by!