“Monster with Two Heads” a pre-race portrait of Arrogate and Mike Smith

Finally finished up my first solo project, meaning that it wasn’t commissioned. I am happy with how it came out and excited to see where, if anywhere my shot at branching out gets me. Also happy to be collaborating with a great photographer from the Saratoga area,  John Seymour. Have a few more on deck from him I will be working on. Check out my video on my thought process for this painting here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fbVNk8pvQ8&list=PLYlfgdm16eorWv_yI2-K8BygHnDuJLnLJ

Tenacity

I was honored to be asked to paint the signature piece for the Unbridled Affair Gala once again this year. This year they were honoring an amazing horse by the name of Lady Eli. Her story is a true inspiration and added any fuel to my artistic fire that I may have needed. Her story is one that so many people can relate to. Hitting a low you are not sure you can climb out of, achieving goals with the odds stacked against you… etc. She is a true inspiration and I hope my painting gave her the credit she deserves.

Watching the bidding as an artist is like baring it all for the world… you never know what the crowd will favor, and if they favor your art. This year however, the bidding couldn’t have been any more exciting. To top it all off the winning bid went to world famous trainer Chad Brown! Lady Eli’s own trainer! WOW! I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome! Glad the 90 hours into this painting paid off for not just me, but CAPTAIN Youth and Family Services (the charity)

click here- process video I made for gala

24×36 oil on canvas “Tenacity”

Me with the winning bidder- trainer Chad Brown.

Painting “The Horse Behind The Legend”

At the end of December I was asked to be the commissioned artist for the signature piece to the 8th Annual Unbridled Affair Gala. This gala takes place in the historic racing town of Saratoga Springs NY.  As if being asked to paint this piece wasn’t exciting enough, I was then told I would be painting Triple Crown Winner American Pharoah! I was over the Moon! I took to the internet in search of the best image and fell in love as soon as I saw it. It was a beautiful photo taken by photographer Meg McMahon. She was kind enough to give me permission to paint it and I just couldn’t wait to get started!  It took me over 140 hours to paint this… I couldn’t believe the amount of detail I was able to achieve by painting such a close up on such a big canvas. It was always my dream to try! This canvas was 36×36.

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In my opinion it’s not important WHAT a piece of art makes you think, but THAT it makes you think. In my case and what I hope is yours as well, its virtually impossible to look a this paintning and NOT think about The Horse behind the legend. What IS American Pharoah thinking? Does he know he just won the race? Does he know he just made history? Or is this like any given race? Who does he run FOR? His trainer? His Jockey? Himself? Or is it to show up the cocky horse in the stable next to him? What DRIVES American Pharoah?

If I was asked to make a painting of Jeff Gordon for example. I wouldn’t paint the cars racing down the track… That’s TEAM Gordon… that’s the pit crew, that’s the mechanic, that’s the tires, the brakes the chevy or ford or whatever it is… it is the driver as well.. that’s a huge part of it… but that’s not all it is.

Same goes with the horse running to victory on the track. That’s TEAM American Pharoah. That’s the trainer, that’s the jockey, that’s the breeder, the veterinarian, the stable hands AND the horse.

But I wanted to get to the heart of the HORSE.  Afterall, this team has raced many other horses and there are other impressive teams racing other impressive horses, but that’s not all it takes… otherwise we would have triple crown winners every year, or heck … at LEAST every 5 or 10!

But there is something much more that makes a champion like American pharaoh. And its not out there on the track. Its right here, its in this horse. You can see it behind his eyes. Its in his soul and a part of his character, its his passion. THAT is what I wanted to showcase. A champion at the root of what makes him great. Not his muscles, not his long powerful legs, his determination. His drive. His heart. THAT is the true power of a champion. That is American Pharoah.

13754550_10153736048931074_7863461416333336766_n Here is the slide show that was shown at the Gala before the painting was unveiled. It shows the progression of the painting.

 

Feeling a little sketchy

It’s been a while since I’ve had a sketch commission and I forgot how fun it is. Off the cuff, no pressure…just fun! Besides that, what a great gift to a new home owner!? A realtor friend of mine commissioned this one and I’m hoping that more will follow. If you know -or are- a first time home buyer- or are a realtor yourself- don’t forget about your little old starving artist when it comes to a special housewarming keepsake! IMG_20160316_152542

A little break from the fur.

Though I simply LOVE painting animals it’s nice for an artist to take on new challenges or mix up the pot a bit. My recent commission “Crouton” was just such a departure. I had such a great time tackling this painting and the client was over the moon with the finished product. I painted this oil painting in the same way I have with my recent pet portraits. I used what is called the flemish technique that you can read about here in my old blog post on the process of painting Thoroughbred “Rydilluc”  

Here are my process pics for “Crouton”. It was a lot of work, a lot of fun and great learning experience. I look forward to my next project from this client.

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Umber Layer

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Dead Layer

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FInal

Thank You

I want to thank everyone for their Holiday Commissions!! I hope your custom presents made for special gifts this year! Although Christmas is over I am still booking wood burned ornaments into February and paintings into April. Contact me today to commission your Custom Art!

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I love the Holidays!!

SO… at first I felt bad about being all into Christmas art already with my ornaments, but to be real about it… look at all of the big box stores selling Christmas stuff already! and I’VE gotta make it all by hand, so the extra time is necessary… I can’t believe how much I’ve grown and learned in the wood burning arts.  The one on the left is one of the first ones I did

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and the one on the right is one I did yesterday. Now a lot of the improvement comes from just learning what wood works best with what attachment etc. But just a little reminder to myself to keep trying and improving upon, and not to settle.

See my Ornaments and Christmas art on my new   galleries in the pull down menu up top.

Commission yours today!! $35 or $45 with color

$5 extra for wording above & beyond Name & Date

$5 shipping!!

Email me at jessicaleonardart@gmail.com 🙂