June 20, 2011 § 1 Comment
I see pictures in my head when people talk to me. If you tell me a story, I understand when you’re saying by creating a movie or stills in my head. Sometimes a few words within a sentence inspire an image and such is the case with this latest painting, “Gossip Fence”.
Sitting under the shade tree with Elizabeth (Bits & Bytes Farm) and Cindy Oliver, we were talking about riding and enjoying the cool evening. In front of us is the entrance gate to the ring. Behind us a huge oak tree whose shade is a thankful respite throughout the day. We refer to this shady corner of the ring, where we mount, adjust tack, sip from the water bottles lined on the fence post – as the “Gossip Fence”. Humans and horses migrate to this corner.
This particular evening, Cindy’s daughter, Kaitlyn was riding her horse Spot. They took a break along the gossip fence to join in our conversation. Suddenly Cindy said “wouldn’t it be a fun painting, to paint all of us on our horses hanging at the Gossip Fence?” As soon as she finished speaking, my mind had already defined the entire composition.
I just finished “Gossip Fence” with thanks for creative direction to Cindy. Cindy also purchased the painting so the Oliver Family is my newest collector of works (thank you). For now, I’m not going to identify the people and horses but check back. Cindy is having a contest at the barn and awarding a prize to the best guesser. I’ll post the results in a few weeks.
I never know where I’ll find an idea for a painting. Many times, the composition just pops into my head. Sometimes I see the entire painting in a piece of paper and I simply outline the forms. And sometimes I have to work very hard to compose a piece. But this was a fun piece inspired by a few words from a casual conversation at the barn!
UPDATE June 28!
Last night I met the Olivers at Bits & Bytes Farm to deliver their new painting, “Gossip Fence”. As I pulled into the parking lot, I was delighted to find a party i the brewing. We all enjoyed an evening at the barn discussing art, food and horses.
Cindy is sponsoring a contest for the boarders. The person who guesses each horse and rider correctly wins a gift basket. Most votes were cast and put in my care until we collect everyone’s ballots. The winner and correct answers will be posted in a future update.
After libations and a good dinner, I presented the painting to the Olivers. Thank you again Cindy for inspiring this piece.
UPDATE August 4, 2011
The big winner is Kaitlyn Oliver! Kaitlyn studied carefully and struggled over two figures, but in the end, she was correct. The grand prize was a case of IBC Dark Cherry Cola!
The winning guess (from left to right, starting in the front row); Andy on Casey, Suellen on Monarch, Bubs and I, Adrienne and Bo. (from left to right, back row, starting in front of the gate); Elizabeth on Wings, The head assistant trainer, Baroness the Cat, Cindy on Pull, Kaitlyn and Spot and Loui on River!
June 20, 2011 § 3 Comments
My Thoroughbred’s barn name is Bubba. His jockey club name is Lynn’s Vision. Bubs was a very good race horse who earned tens of thousands of dollars during his 1 1/2 years of racing. His owner funded a non-profit that helped pay for cancer treatments of the eye, from the winnings of his race horses. Bubs was named Lynn’s Vision for the man’s secretary, Lynn. It was her Vision to use the winnings for the foundation. Bub’s deposited a lot of cash into the foundation.
Who could have imagined that within a year of his racing retirement – at the ripe old age of 5 – Bubs would need to make a bank withdraw from the good eye karma account? Here is our story.
One morning in late April, Elizabeth called me at work. I knew that a morning call meant something was wrong. Bubs came in from the pasture with a swollen eye. She was treating it but I should come by after work to check on him. OK!
At noon, Elizabeth called again. A second call is definately not good. Bubs was getting worse. The vet is on his way. You need to come to the barn. Shit! OK!
During the night, Bubs had poked his eye in the pasture. Innocent enough except that natural occuring bacteria sometimes cause a serious eye infection and it sets in quickly. Such was our case. By the time the vet arrived, Bub’s eye was terribly infected and he couldn’t see. The infection was so rampant, his eye was in jeopardy of collapse. We had to make some difficult decisions – right now!
It wouldn’t matter to me or to Bubs if he lost the eye. Some horses can’t deal with it, but I knew that Bubs could. He just has that positive outlook on life. BUT, if we could save the eye within reason, let’s go for it. I drew the line at corneal transplant, so that defined our treatment approach.
Bubs had his first surgery within a few hours. Elizabeth and Barry dropped everything to haul us across town. The surgery wasn’t actually on the eye, it was to prepare Bubs for 8-12 weeks of treatment. A tube was inserted behind his brow bone. The end had a triangular sponge that rested against the top of his eye. This would allow the medicine to wash over his eye. Where the tube exited above his eye, it was stapled down to his forehead and between his ears. When we ran out of skin, it was braided into his mane about half way down his neck. At the end of the tube was the area where we would inject liquid medicine, every 3 hours 6-8 times a day or for as late as someone was able to stay awake. Then both eye lids were stitched closed and a mask with a hard plastic cup over the eye was to be worn and never taken off. Bubs was confined to his stall. He could be hand walked after sunset for about an hour. There was no date set for the end of treatment. We had to do this until things got better and play it from day to day.
Elizabeth and Barry set their cell alarms to go off every 3 hours. When the alarm sounded, they dropped everything to treat Bubba. I went to the barn after work every day to take Bubs for a walk. Everyone pitched in to help.
Once a week the vet came to unstitch the eye lids and check our progress. The inside of Bubs eye had turned to liquid. There was only a single layer of cells at the very bottom of the eye ball that prevented collapse. The medicines were to treat pain, prevent further infection and to solicit healing. Healing meant that new blood vessels would form to stabilize and rebuild the inside of his eye ball. After 3 weeks, there was little progress. We threw Bubs back on the trailer, hiked across town to the surgery center. The opthamologist for the Atlanta zoo was called in for a consultation and a second surgery.
Things were grave and we needed to see improvement or concede that the eye needed to be removed. The opthamologist suggested adding some of Bubba’s own blood to the medicines. Sometimes the blood cells would stimulate new growth. This was our last option.
Every 2-3 days the vet would stop by to draw blood and mix the new medicines. By his next check up, we finally started to see new vessels. Finally a positive direction! Every weeks, the eye grew more stable but we still didn’t see an end in sight. We were only more hopeful with each vet check, that at least the eye was saved. But would he have vision?
By the eighth week, everyone was entrenched in the routine of caring for Bubs. No one asked anymore “when is it over?” We just kept doing. Bubs was positive but starting to get a little antsy being young, strong and confined to his stall.
I came out one night and was headed to the barn. Elizabeth called down from the back steps. “The vet came by today. Go get your riding pants!” I didn’t understand what she was saying, it took about 2 minutes to sink in. Bub’s eye was finally stable enough that he could return to a normal routine – we did it! We saved Bubba’s eye and we also saved Lynn’s Vision!
The tubes were removed, his eye-lids unstitched but he wore the mask and protective cup for a while longer. It was necessary for his eye to get used to light after 8 weeks of total darkness. Most of his eye was a blue cloud but when you waved your hand, you could see his iris trying to focus on the movement. So he could see something at least!
For months after, the cloud compressed and Bubba’s sight improved. Now, a year later, only a small cloud remains. He probably has a blind spot about the size of a nickel. But nature and the brain help fill in the visual blanks. He never spooks so we can only assume that his vision is pretty good.
Lynn’s Vision was saved thanks to Elizabeth and Barry devotion and diligence, the vets and their willingness to experiment with treatments, Bubba’s positive demeanor and the good karma banked from Bubba’s financial deposits from the eye foundation.
In appreciate for all their help, I recently gave Elizabeth and Barry my painting “Backstretch”. It’s a grateful nod for their endless work for Bubs and all the OTTB’s (Off the Track Thoroughbreds) who have retired from racing and found new homes and second careers through Bits & Bytes Farm.
Enjoy this gallery of photos taken by Elizabeth. Some of the images are from Bubba’s first taste of freedom in 8 weeks – turned out in the riding ring, he kicks up his heals. The other photos are from our first ride. Bubba is still wearing his protective mask.
November 8, 2010 § Leave a comment
Thank you Rebecca Kestle for purchasing two more paintings from my flat file sales. Rebecca recently purchased “Hog Me” and “Cooler” to give as gifts.
I appreciate that people purchase these paintings. I have so many pieces in my over stuffed flat file, I simply have no room to store new work. Please visit my online store for great deals on older paintings.
March 10, 2010 § Leave a comment
It is always a thrilled when someone purchases a painting, but its entirely overwhelming when people collect your work. My friends and long-time collectors, Martin & Lisa Flaherty have purchased two additional paintings. These paintings are going to Lisa’s brother who just purchased a home and is looking for a few paintings.
“Two Boys Talking” a black and while ink drawing. Approximately 12 x 12″. On the news one night was a story about a plane crash. Behind the reporter, in the foreground, were two teen boys deep in conversation. it was as though they were isolated in another world and not in the midst of this chaotic, frantic scene. They were simply engrossed in their conversation and they caught my eye. I had to draw them.
Years ago my friend Martin asked me to lunch. “Where we going?” I asked. “It’s a surpise, I found this great place!” He exclaimed. We pulled in front of this one story brick building near Northside and 10th street in Atlanta. You know, the kind of place you drive right up to the building and your bumper faces the front glass window of the restaurant. The place was simply called “Meat n Three”. I’m still horrified by that name or when I see the word “Meat” on any southern menu. It just sounds gross. So to celebrate my luncheon adventure with my charming friend, Martin, I drew this big, gross guy scarfing down his meat n three with enthusiasm.
If you’re interested in purchasing any painting – just ask or visit ShopEberhardt – you can pay online with a credit card and available paintings are updated regularly.