A painting finds a new home

The Black Draft

The girls taking the painting to meet it's new owner.

I’m way behind in my posts…..

I’ve been meaning to write this post since October..…..well, I got caught up in a camping trip in Colorado, soccer game in Kansas, whitetail deer season , Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s….and then here we are……  I still ask myself, “Where did the time go?” as if none of the above factor into my time consumption.

Once again, I attended and demonstrated at the Annual Horse, Mule, and Oxen Historic Farming Days.  I love this event!  I meet a lot of great people who appreciate my subject matter, get a lot of new material to work from, and manage to sell a bit of artwork—always a plus!  This year was a little different in that instead of selling prints, cards and small works, I found a new home for one of my original paintings.  It was such an awesome story and the new owner literally had tears when telling me the story…I had to share.

It so happens that the new owner of the painting, Hope and her husband, along with their daughter are very active in draft horse events.  Her daughter recently bought her own Clydesdale filly at auction.  They truly love the drafts and enjoy doing demonstrations and helping people enjoy these “gentle giants”.  As I was talking with Hope, I found that their daughter’s friend, who I’m going to call “Jane”, usually accompanies them while attending these “horse” events.  Hope’s daughter and Jane exercise the horses, feed and water them, groom them, and entertain visitors.  I might add that these girls are just teens!  It seems Jane couldn’t have horses of her own so, Hope sort of adopted her into the family when it came to doing anything “horsey”.  Sometimes this meant traveling hundreds of miles and being gone all weekend.

Each year, I try to paint one of the animals owned by one of the exhibitors from the prior year’s show.  I typically start the painting while at the event as part of my painting demonstration.  The year before, I had started painting a proud, black, Percheron gelding.  Hope’s daughter and Jane had spotted the painting and told Hope about it.  They all came up and watched as I painted and came back several times to check the progress.  At the time, I had no idea that Hope and her daughter were the owners of the beautiful horse I was painting.

Skip ahead a year, I brought the finished, framed painting back to the show.  Hope came to see the painting and told me she loved it because I had truly captured her horse’s personality in the pose and the look in his eye.  She said she had fell in love with it when I started painting it (I typically paint the eye as one of the first things on the painting) the year prior but she didn’t say anything because she just couldn’t afford to purchase it.  She mentioned that she really couldn’t afford it this year but that she’d talk to her husband.  In the meantime, Hope’s daughter and Jane were escorting Jane’s parents around the event, showing them various things that interested the girls.  It seems this was this was the first time that Jane’s parents were able to attend the event.  The girls brought the parents up to my space and immediately showed them the painting and talked about how Hope loved the painting.  Jane’s mom came to me and asked a couple of questions about the painting and then told me she’d like to purchase it.  My mind instantly went to Hope and how upset she was probably going to be.  As I was putting protective corners on the painting, Jane’s mom started telling me how often Hope took her daughter under her wing, allowing her to spend so much time with them and giving her the chance to learn about, help with, and ride her horses……never asking for or accepting anything in return.  She proceeded to tell me this purchase was for Hope as a “Thank you”.  The girls walked up beside me, smiling from ear to ear……they couldn’t wait to give the painting to Hope.  I asked if they wanted me to wrap it so they could give it to her later.  They both laughed and said they were giving it to her right away, they couldn’t wait.  What an amazing sign of gratitude!!  I knew Hope would cherish this painting for life.

As the event ended that weekend, Hope came to tell me how much she loved the painting and that she already had it hanging at home.  Tears started running down her cheeks as she told me how shocked she was that Jane’s family had done this for her.  She said they walked up and showed her the new painting they’d bought and as soon as she saw it, she was somewhat crushed because it was “her” painting.  She said kept that in and tried to show how excited she was for them…..that is when they asked her if she wanted to know the best part.  She figured they were going to tell her where they were hanging it or something but instead, told her the best part was that the painting was for her, for all that she had done.  She said she instantly started crying.  She never expected anything in return and felt that Jane’s appreciation and joy over getting to spend time with them and their horses was enough of a gift.  How could she not allow Jane to have the opportunity to enjoy something that she and her daughter enjoyed so much?

As Hope shared this with me, I couldn’t help but think that my painting had found the best possible home and that this is why I do what I do!

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