We visited a friend’s pasture in South Carolina over the Thanksgiving Holiday, and I spent a chilly afternoon observing and photographing while the guys messed around with fences. When we pulled up in the truck, it was thrilling as twelve horses thundered up to us. ”Be careful,” Jim warned us, “They won’t kick you but they will kick each other and you might be in the way.” Hmm. They dropped me off and headed down the road.
A sorrel came trotting right up to me. I learned later from Jim that his name is “Run Find Out!” for obvious reasons. He nuzzled my shoulder. Then my coat pockets – got any apples? We began a little waltz around the trunk of an oak tree as the rest of the herd drifted away to the barn. I know enough about horses to know that it takes the average horse 30 seconds to recognize a Horse Averse Human (H.A.H.!), and then they begin to plot their mischief. I am not so much averse as I am… shall we say, cautious. I’ve wound up in too many ditches and puddles and hedges to be enthusiastic.
A very vocal grey and white tomcat appeared from behind a pile of fenceposts to join our waltz. To my relief, the horse was more interested in the cat than in me, so I left our dance floor and stood back with my camera. The horse was getting a bit too familiar for the cat’s liking, so the thought bubble here would be, “Back off, Bozo!” What a brave little cat to challenge such a huge beast! Eventually Run Find Out trotted off to find out how the fence was coming along, and the cat and I both retired to the protection of the pile of fenceposts, where he snooped for mice and I continued to enjoy the sunset and the unhurried pace of the pasture.
Process: The cat happened by itself pretty much – a couple of lucky strokes with pale blue watercolor and bingo – grey cat! I proved to myself once again with the horse that Nature Sketch 130 lb. sketchbooks can’t handle all the layers of paint and pencil that I want. The background, representing leaves on winter grass, was a few blotches of pale brown watercolor , let dry, china marker blades of grass in random patterns, then green watercolor blades made with the nearly-dry bristles of a square brush. Kinda looks snowy!