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Karen Brenner's Horse Paintings Blog - July 2009


Wondering . . . .
Posted July 31, 2009

I really like this week's quote, "Wisdom begins in wonder." - Socrates.

In our busy, rushing 21st century lives, there seems to be little time for wonder. When was the last time you paused to just wonder in depth about something?

In Scott McKain's book, Collapse of Distinction, he cites four cornerstones for businesses. Number two is Creativity. I think creativity, as well as wisdom begins with wonder.

This week take time to clear your mind of clutter and let creative musings flow.

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posted by Karen Brenner

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Carriages in the Park was Fabulous!
Posted July 27, 2009

Carriages in the Park, Ohio's first Combined Driving Competition was a huge success! Over 40 wonderful horses, ponies and VSE (Very Small Equine's) competed in the singles and pairs divisions. Kudos to the organizers who must have spent countless hours putting together such a huge competition, and to the scores of volunteers who made the event run so-o-o-o smoothly.

My painting booth was only up for a few hours due to gusting wind. The paintings were banging in the wind. Our borrowed tent blew away. So we packed up the paintings, and got to roam freely around Howe Meadow where the event was held. I had a great time photographing beautiful horses and carriages for reference material for future paintings. Here are some of the highlights of the event:

There was a beautiful hilltop dressage ring overlooking a peaceful lake.

There was a cool cone course with clear signage and teams of volunteers at the ready, setting the cones just inches wider than the wheel span for each competitor entering the ring.

The second day of the event was the Marathon. There were satellite course maps for the marathon, which was also clearly marked with hundreds of signs. The scenic route went through the woods, along a lake, and through the historic Hale Farm and Village. Notice, while there were neat costumes on day one, the color coordinated outfits on the second day were fun to see!

There were hazard obstacles that were skillfully constructed and placed just so - making it a challenge for horses and carriages to navigate agility around and through.

Carriages in the Park was held July 25 & 26 at Howe Meadow, 4140 Riverview Dr, Peninsula, Ohio, near Hale Farm and Village. I'm already looking forward to next year's event! Here is a link to their website: Carriages in the Park

posted by Karen Brenner

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Keep Moving!
Posted July 24, 2009

This week's quote from Will Rogers: "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." makes me think of a time when I got run over.

My horses ran over me once -- of course it was my fault. I was desensitizing them to an umbrella. They were all at one end of their small outdoor pen and I was about eight feet away from them, opening and closing an umbrella. Of the four horses, I knew one (Ollie) was not afraid of umbrellas, and one (Echo) was terrified of umbrellas. The other two horses were a semi-afraid. But I though that if I slowly opened and closed the umbrella -- not too close to them -- they would get used to it.


I'd opened and closed the umbrella a couple times, and carefully observed the horses' reactions - high heads and a bit of snorting. And the next thing I knew -the horses were rushing by -- and I was flat on my back in the mud (of course it had been raining! That's what gave me the idea to work with umbrellas) -- still holding the umbrella which was now flat on the ground above my head. Yes, it was covered in mud must like me.

I was so lucky that I didn't get stepped on!

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posted by Karen Brenner

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Carriages and Horses!
Posted July 20, 2009

This new mini painting, Four Horse Team, is one of my bigger miniature paintings coming in at 9x12". It pictures four Friesians from the House of the Friesians who are famous for their Chariot team.

This painting is very loose and colorful. And I'm glad it's complete in time for the Carriages in the Park event this weekend! They've invited me to display some of my paintings, so this new painting will be part of my display -- AND I'm hoping to fit my GIANT painting of the Friesians pulling the chariot in my car to bring along too!

Of course I'll have my camera along to take lots of photos because this sounds like a wonderfully fun event to watch!

Carriages in the Park is Saturday and Sunday, July 25 & 26 at Howe Meadow, 4140 Riverview Dr, Peninsula, Ohio, near Hale Farm and Village.

Saturday's competition will feature dressage (which I've never seen done with carriages before) and obstacles - a course with cones.

Sunday will be the Marathon with cross country, walk and the hazards course. There will also be a carriage parade through Hale Village.

Debbie Egan, international singles and pairs driving champion and instructor at Windy Knoll Farms in Sullivan, Ohio, will be presenting driving clinics.

For more information about the event, here is a link to their website: Carriages in the Park

posted by Karen Brenner

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I enjoyed your blog, especially your photos. Feel free to visit my blog at blog.countrytimecreations.com. Have a great day! - Country Time Creations


Studio Open House Planned for Sunday, September 20
Posted July 11, 2009

I'm planning a studio open house on Sunday, September 20, and you are all invited! Actually everyone is invited to stop by my studio and see my most recent paintings. I've always said the paintings look so much better in person than on the internet. Come see if it's true!

My studio is at 3613 Triway Lane, Wooster, Ohio. And the open house will be from 1-5 PM. Mark your calendars and please come on over!

posted by Karen Brenner

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Mark Rashid at Change through Chance
Posted July 10, 2009

This morning I got to take photos at Mark Rashid's clinic being held today, tomorrow and Sunday at Change through Chance Therapeutic Riding Center in Wooster, Ohio. It was so enlightening to see him solve horse and rider issues and share ideas.

One rider's horse was distracted by horses nearby, and the rider was getting anxious. Mark suggested concentrating on what you want the horse to do -- stay focused on one thing -- NOT concetrating on the distracting horses.

I decided to try this concept out at home with Sorpresa and the "spooky" woods at the end of the arena. She shies away from them all the time, making it almost impossible to ride at the lower end of the arena. So tonight I concetrated on the speed of her walk when we were at the end of the arena, and ignored her spooky reactions to the woods. We actually were able to ride for 45 minutes in the WHOLE arena! And we did lots more than walk, as I concentrated on what I wanted her to do, and ignored her spookiness, which only flared up a few times.

If you'd like to catch some of Mark Rashid's clinic at Change through Chance tomorrow or Sunday, July 11 & 12, see the Change through Chance website for ticket information. I highly recommend it!

(Change through Chance's website also has information about Mark and his books.)

posted by Karen Brenner

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Take time to Smile!
Posted July 10, 2009

Will Rogers got it right in this quote, "Do the best you can, and don't take life too serious." Sometimes we forget to take time to enjoy life.

I couldn't be taking life too seriously when I chose to paint this picture of horse rumps, or when I named it "Butts and Bows" -- after that ole time tune, "Buttons and Bows." Do any of you remember that song?

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posted by Karen Brenner

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All the Pennsylvania Boards are Ready!
Posted July 5, 2009

Did I mention preparing the masonite boards for paintings is one of my least favorite tasks? Well, Friday I sanded and gessoed all the boards for my 53 Beautiful Horses of Pennsylvania paintings!

My husband was delighted I spared the kitchen and came up with a plan to do this dirty work in the garage! Using our supply of spare fence rails, which are stached behind the barn ready to replace boards that the four beavers -- I mean HORSES -- chew through. The boards were propped up on everything I could think of that was the right heigth - a ladder, my ironing board, shelves, my rain barrel, and my card table. Even with all this "table space" I could not fit all the boards into phase one of the gessoing adventure. If you look closely, round two board are waiting on the card table.

Now I'm ready to paint!!!!

posted by Karen Brenner

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What's your teaching method?
Posted July 4, 2009

Watching a mare and foal running together is so fun! It's amazing how the little one can keep up with his or her galloping mother when only days old. The mare seems to encourage her youngster to stretch his/her legs and race through their new world. In this painting, a bay Andalusian mare and her foal are cantering in a grassy pasture.

What is your teaching method -- for teaching your horse, your students, kids or grandkids? I really like today's quote from Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe: "Correction does much, but encouragement does more."

Click here to download and print the newest quote/painting/to-do list.

posted by Karen Brenner

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Pennsylvania Pleasantries!
Posted July 2, 2009

As I sort through the 6,400 photos I took last week for my Beautiful Horses of Pennsylvania series, I can't help but get excited! The horses were BEAUTIFUL! And their people were so proud of their horses! I just had too much fun!! This is going to be a great series of paintings!

It was difficult to choose just one photograph from each horse for the painting series, but I've done it! And my local lumber yard, Curry Lumber, has cut the masonite to my specifications. So I'm ready to paint! Well, the first paint job is gessoing all the boards (my least favorite part of the whole project). But it has to be done. Maybe tomorrow....

In the meantime, I'd like to share some of my PA photos with you. Here are some that bring back wonderful memories of our trip. You'll see my sister Sharon in some of them. She lives in Erie, PA, so my husband, Will, coerced her to accompany on the trip instead of him.

The horses found Sharon much more entertaining than my non-horse-enthusiastic-husband! Of course, having learned from previous trips that we sometimes need something to perk up horse ears, we were prepared this trip. In the picture below, is my horse entertainment system --- a yardstick with colorful plastic bags attached and a little, orange toy maraca that rattled. To our surprise many horses assumed there was grain inside the maraca and gave their full attention! These Gypsies are checking out the plastic bags Sharon is holding up.

The Garmin/MapQuest routes we traveled through southeastern Pennsylvania were absolutely beautiful. We saw dozens of very old stone houses and barns. Some of the farms we visited had their own stone structures!



This farm-filled valley near Gordonville was one of my favorite places in PA.


And of course there were mountains.


Many people went to great lengths to get their horses ready for their photos. I love horses in braids, so I was thrilled to get to take photos of three all perfectly braided horses! Here's one! You will see more in the upcoming paintings!


Here are some neat things we encountered:

This horse had the most exquisite shade shelter I've ever seen! I had to share a photo of it with you! The steeple is modeled after Churchill Downs.


The same horse had a companion that was a bit unique:


And we got to see a horse water treadmill - Aquaciser. It was at Kendalwood Farm, where they use it for training, conditioning and rehabilitating horses. Owner Tara Crowley told us that Barbaro almost got to come to the farm to use it. Sadly, his recovery never progressed that far. Visit the farm's website for more information: Kendalwood Farm.



We saw the most cutest mini ever--Spongebob.....



And, we got to see many BIG horses in Pennsylvania! The Drafts were wonderful! Big and Beautiful! I can't wait to start painting them! Here are photos of Woody and Dutches as they pose with daylilies! That was another thing I really found lots of in Pennsylvania. It must have been the perfect time of year for roadside daylilies to be in bloom! I love daylilies!



And speaking of BIG Horses . . . when we walked into the barn to photograph Meadowcreek Jake -- Carolyn and Carol and Adrien had their other horse, Black Jack, in cross ties for us to meet. Sharon and I both wanted to get our photos taken with Black Jack - the biggest horse I've ever met! Here we are:




And this is the blurriest photo I took the whole trip, and it's one of my favorites! You can see from the photos above that the barn stalls are large, but Black Jack's taller!

Black Jack

posted by Karen Brenner

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black jack is big and beautiful ! -- Amy



AAEA Summer Show -
Pulling Their Weight - Draft and Carriage Horses in Fine Art

Posted July 1, 2009

Today is the opening day for the American Academy of Equine Art's summer show on Mackinac Island, "Pulling their Weight - Draft and Carriage Horses in Fine Art." I am delighted to have one of my paintings, "Friesans of Majesty's Alfons and Deiderik," included in the show!

Mackinac Island is the perfect venue for this show -- and the show is the perfect subject for the Michigan island! Talk about a win-win proposition! If you've never been to the island, it is like being transported back in time. There are no motorized vehicles permitted. Transportation is provided by wonderful horse-drawn carriages and bicycles. Lovely homes and businesses grace the quiet streets. The pace of the island is in cadance with the steady clip-clop of a Draft Horse walk - relaxed and slow.

If you are lucky enough to travel to Mackinac Island this month, you'll find the AAEA show on exhibit at the public library. If you cannot make the trip, you can find the show online. Here's a link: See the show online!

posted by Karen Brenner

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Karen Brenner is passionate
about horses and art!
She enjoys traveling to horse farms
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