Painting Horses

cave painting from Altamira Cave in northern Spain

When I was in college I got to see these cave paintings firsthand and I remember being in awe of them.  I was a Spanish major for a brief time (art came much later after college) and I was very fortunate to take a month long trip to Spain with others at my college.  It was my first trip abroad and so exciting!

I also remember spending some time at the Prado in Madrid and seeing these HUGE Diego Velazquez paintings!  He’s always been one of my favorite painters.  This was in the early ’70’s and I have not been back since.  It’s definitely on my bucket list to go again!

The Count – Duke Olivares on Horseback, 123″ x 97″, Diego Velazquez
Equestrian Portrait of Prince Balthasar Charles, 82″ x 68″, Diego Velazquez

Last September, I traveled to London and saw this beauty in the National Gallery…another huge horse painting.  This was before I even thought about painting horses, but, I realize now that the seed of the idea was planted here.

“Whistlejacket”, 115″ x 97″ , George Stubbs

I’m a great Lucien Freud fan and he was very fond of horses and a good equestrian.  Here are a few of his horse paintings.  I also love how he painted dogs.  His paintings are so sensual and I feel that the animals come alive in them.

“Skewbald Mare”, Lucien Freud, from wikipedia
It’s tough being an artist’s model – that horse looks beat!

And even though I could show numerous other examples, I’ll end with a very recent show of Joe Andoe’s horses.

This last one is bordering on the sentimental, but is just quirky enough that I like it!


Here’s my latest horse and a detail of the eye.  The eye is like a mini abstract painting and I love painting it.

Finally, I should add that I used to have a horse, and horses were my first passion.  I no longer ride… and now my passion is painting.  As a young girl, I remember trying to draw horses but, I never dreamed I’d be painting them someday.

On a personal note, I wish to dedicate my horse paintings to my father who (for years) took me to the stable, horse  shows, watched me ride at an unheated riding stable (I still see him standing with a glass of blackberry brandy to keep warm!) and basically gave me an ideal childhood.

Stampede– a small oil


11″ x 14″ fast palette knife painting with abstracted stampeding horses…click on the detail.

I was pleased with how the detail horses came out.  You have to use your imagination with the other “horses”.