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Window to the Soul | KY Governor's Derby Exhibit

As Derby season begins I'm reminded of one of my favorite paintings, “Heads Up”, which is a pastel painted on velour paper. It is one of my favorite for several reasons. I was extremely surprised and honored that it was chosen to be in the 2013 Kentucky Governor’s Derby Exhibit. For this display, 163 Kentucky artist were considered with only 26 being chosen for display. "Heads Up" hung proudly in the Capitol Rotunda during the derby festivities. I will always remember traveling to Frankfort in 2013, meeting First Lady Jane Beshear, and having the opportunity to talk with her about painting.

Another reason "Heads Up" is a favorite is because the painting is a close up view of the horse’s eye. The eyes are said to be "the window to the soul" and I feel this is true for animals as well. To me, the best part of painting any animal is giving the audience a glimpse into their spirit through their eyes. In order to accomplish this I begin all animal paintings with the eye. I once heard a friend of mine, who is a 90 year old artist say, “No eye, no animal”. That is so very true for me as well. If the eye is correct than usually the rest of the painting will fall into place. If I paint all of the animal’s body first and then have issues painting the eye, I run the risk of spending a great deal of time on an unsuccessful painting. Not only is this very time consuming but it is a heartbreaker as well.

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