Sunday, December 29, 2013

Highlights of 2013

In 2013 we have experimented with watercolour, acrylic on Masonite and of course kept going with our standard Oil paint.
Our subjects were flowers, landscapes, still life, portraits and now we are in the world of Horses, and feel at last we have found our niche.

In Summer we decided to work on the idea of looking for places we hadn't explored before it was a perfect weekend sunny and warm, so we went to the Caledon Equestrian Centre in Palgrave.

Palgrave is a small village about 20 minute drive from here we found there an event for horse jumping and decided to pay a visit for an hour.

We arrived around 10 am and parked the car walking up,to where there seemed a lot of activity. It was probably one of the best couple of hours spent, we watched many events of all age groups and plenty of close up's of horses and riders.

Palgrave, maybe a painting one day!
Palgrave is situated in beautiful countryside so plenty of photo's were taken.We found taking pictures of fast moving horse and riders over the jumps quite a challenge. A moving target is hard to catch at the right time, of course there we're a number of pro's with huge lens that must have got some super shots so we were very busy with a new learning curve that day, I had taken some hilarious shots headless riders double images backsides of horses, John being a pro had more luck than I did that day. We came home quite excited about our new experience over a few weeks we purchased thermos flasks and took picnics arriving early and finding out more about "Eventing" we got so involved I was almost tempted to buy a suitable outfit leggings and high boots and feel part,of the  scene.

Come Autumn we found there was an opportunity to see more of the area Headwaters were having a Tour
Winsong Farm
of Horse farms so we made a date to visit  2 Horse farms close to our area. Our first stop was Winsong they have a lovely horse farm which includes two Portuguese White horses Zelador and Zelosa  the names come from Portugal they were born on the last alphabet Z a tradition when a horse is born they name it from the Alphabet letter of the day had the most difficult time picking out the names.

The horses are well loved by the owners Winnie and Bill at the moment they are training them to do many tricks which takes time and patience but they are having a lot of success. We were at their Christmas Party giving us and visitors a good show.
We have found horse  people are more than pleased to show and talk about their chosen breed and why they love them.

We also visited Onice Farm,  intrigued  by the name we found a lovely Farm not far along tucked away in a very hilly area Ideal for this type of horse, They have Icelandic ponies no higher than 14 hands high energy sturdy and long living !
We arrived early and they were moving some of the horses to another field for the day.Although a busy
Two of the ponies
family they were able to give us a run down of the horses history. Coming from such a small country Iceland are particular about these little horses who have lived in the area for a thousands of years built to stand very hard conditions and free of disease.
They  are beginning to become popular in North America.
We have since met the Family Brian, Wendy and Sydney  recently , I managed to paint a couple of pictures and we delivered them they were very happy with them and took us on a tour of their outside family. They have quite a herd and know every single one of them by name (all named with Icelandic names!)
A great dedicated family who travel a lot to with their horses to the States showing and getting to know like minded interest in the Icelandic breed.
We are looking forward to meeting them again to take winter scene photo's for painting too. Mainly because they are different and not well known YET but soon will be.

Our small travels through horse country was amazing Summer and autumn went by in a flash, the countryside
away from highways is full of incredible scenery, Hills and dales views to take your breath away.
We realize how lucky we are to live near to such great countryside. We will be out and about making the most of our trips with plenty of photographs for painting and meeting such interesting people

2013 was a taste of what we would like to do more of, so 2014 is something to look forward to.

Our best wishes to all for 2014
Babs & John

Saturday, December 21, 2013

House in the Woods

House in the woods, oil on 11x14 board
This was a commission finished a few weeks ago. It was quite a challenge painting from an old 4x6 photo, but as I got into it I began to enjoy the process, trying to paint as fast and loose as possible.

The dappled shadows were the big challenge!

The client was delighted which made my day and from the fee we made a donation to North Halton Kitten Rescue:


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Icelandic Ponies in Action

Oneice farm posted a video of the ponies in Iceland, not only do we see these wonderful creatures galloping through the fields but we get a glimpse of the landscape of Iceland,
Check it out here:

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


"Fenja" oil on 11x14 board
Fenja is a special Icelandic pony at Onice Farm

She is 26 years old, a Mom, Grandmother and Great-grandmother. She was the first pony at Onice farm. A special horse for the family.

I chose to paint her mainly because of the challenge, a lovely colour on a background of snow, certainly a good time of year, almost Christmas like.

Fenja gave me a few problems concentrating on her top coat of the season. The fur tended to vary with reflections from the snow and then a lot of snow covering her coat a real challenge to work on and make it look  real. Quite a few brushes were tried with not very much success,but, eventually at a distance the picture seemed to work!              


Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Morning at Onice Farm

Keeping an eye on us!
The painting by Babs we delivered

We had a great experience on Saturday morning, we met up with Brian,Wendy and Sydney at Onice Farm to deliver some paintings, we had an invitation for coffee and  being it was a cold morning that was welcome and gave us a little time to get to know our new friends .

Afterwords we were taken to see the rest of the family about 11 very furry horses in a paddock near the house. We were thrilled to have such close contact to pet them and get to know their Icelandic names. John was able to take a few shots while I took advantage of some close petting, they have their winter coats on so the snow just stayed on their fur they are very inquisitive and enjoyed the attention !  We had the time to to see the rest of the herd in their winter quarters all came to greet us again they were eager to see who we were and if there were some treats in the offing.

Our tour of the stables and Arena was stunning. We could see how much these horses mean to this family, they know each horse by name amazing to us, as there are so many in the herd.

There is a video here so you can see the herd in action

All in all a good way to start the festivities. Thanks Guys we learned a lot and enjoyed every moment.
Now we have to get some of that winter clothing, Maybe Santa will get us for Christmas?

Onice farm is on Facebook here:

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Crafty Christmas!

The Wood work being admired by Woodie

The Arts and Crafts member of our family Darryl, has just finished his Christmas piece for this year.
He really loves working with wood of any kind  including furniture, but his specific trade mark ,  is display pieces for all the holidays which are always done to perfection and the detailed painting of the figures shows how much he enjoys his work.

Woodie, the dog,  keeps him company too.

Of  course  living in the Country with farms all around us a John Deere piece of equipment is a priority for the Season. 

Good Stuff,  just to get us feeling Christmas is around the corner.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Between Events

"Between Events" oil on 18x24 inch canvas

This is a painting from a photo I took in summer at Palgrave, There are a lot more people and horses in the photo, but I wanted to simplify to create a peaceful feeling.

This painting has been quite a challenge, and I've had doubts about it a few times, earlier the horses were a lot lighter showing their lovely orangey brown hair, but that didn't work overall, the trees didn't fit, so I repainted the horses darker.

Whether it is finished depends on how I can live with it over the next few days.

Every painting is a lesson!


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Winsong Farm, again!

Two horses enjoying a beautiful November day
Yesterday we visited Winsong farm to deliver a finished painting of Zelador the beautiful white horse. The day was gorgeous, all sunny and bright after the cold, snow and rain of the previous week.

Winnie has a new passion, she is training her dog "Trooper" who is of the vizsla breed, to do similar tricks to
what she has taught the horses.

Trooper is a lovely animal, full of fun and excitement, doing his tricks with great speed to get to the treat.
With his favourite toy, the Bell

Before Troopers tricks we met Bill riding Zeloso, the
half brother of Zelador, and he seemed keen to meet us.


We were very thrilled also that Winnie gave us a small Sculpture of Zelador sitting on a cushion, which is now on display.
The sculpture was made by Ann Clifford

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"Ty" a family dog

"Ty" oil on 11x14 board
Wendy of Onice Farms wrote:
"This is his end of the day look. Ty is an energetic Border Collie who loves life. I have had dogs my whole life and can honestly say he is the best dog I have ever owned. His loyal character and friendly personality make him very special. I look forward to coming home from work everyday because I know he will be waiting for me. He gets down on the ground and gives me the look you see in the photo. I think he's saying "What took you so long" To have a dog like Ty is the best feeling in the world. My heart melts when I'm away from him for to long. He will be 2 on Feb 8 2014. He is considered to be our Family dog but I think it's quite obvious who he loves the most ( Me.... The one who feeds him)   Good luck with your painting and thanks for doing this     Wendy"

A painting of a well loved young Border Collie "Ty". hope you like it Wendy?!


Saturday, November 2, 2013

"Tildra II & Katina"

"Tildra II & Katina" oil on 16x20 board

The Onice  Horse Farm captured our hearts.The ponies have Icelandic names, Tildra II & Katina

We had arrived early and these two were in a little hut looking out on the activity, some ponies going into the fields. It was the first picture I took that day Katina was intrigued looking at me a little on the sly side while I tried to take my shot Tildra II was interested in watching the comings and goings for the set up of the open house.

These horses are a treat to get to know cute as buttons, full of life and action, they can carry a full grown person for a good ride, mainly because their backs are shorter than the standard horse they are sturdy and can take winters very well with thick heavy coats the snow doesn't penetrate into the skin. amazingly their life is average 40 years!

They will be at the Royal Ag Show  in Toronto the next few days.At the moment the family are showing off their Icelandic breed and no doubt giving the public a good time watching the ponies showing off all they can do.
 A real Joy to paint!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The World of Equineity!

Gimcrack Equestrian Centre in King Township

We haven't been painting for a couple of weeks, some "Bug" has captured us and made us ache and doze, so we thought we would share some of the scenery from our trip out to the Headwaters Horse Country Stable Tour.

Gimcrack Equestrian Centre
This is a magnificent farm situated in the rolling hills of King Township, and makes us very proud to live in King Township!
Above you can see the landscape and the horses are friendly too!

Waterstone Estate & Farm

Waterstone Estate farm
Located in King Township again but at the north end close to the Holland Marsh, beautiful area for horse riders and a huge indoor arena.

Just North of Schomberg, a place specialising in teaching adults all about horse riding, 
Showing the art of horse handling
"Come on I dare you!"
If we were a bit younger we might be tempted, but being seniors we are beyond the adult stage!

Lots of inspiration for painting in all these places/

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pomp and Circumstance

My niece Rachel lives just outside of London and a couple of days ago made a trip to check The Mall Galleries and a bit of a walk around.She knows how much we are into horses at the moment.

She was able to take some photo's of the Horse Guards Parade, it was a pleasant surprise looking at a tradition that thankfully hasn't been changed too much .  Something about being an Ex pat you tend to forget
about these treats, the pride and beauty of these horses trotting along with the Guards certainly  makes the heart strings vibrate a little.

Here are a couple of Rachel's photo's for you to enjoy if you're a Brit. 

A colourful spectacle for a rainy day!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Zelador of Winsong Farm

Zelador oil on 14x18 canvas

He is a great looking horse, we took the picture while he was training for a show. Going through his paces with Winnie we took quite a few shots,but, I picked this one as he has a look of concentration and
was standing quite proudly.

I had some difficulty with the lighting coming from above in the arena and then conflicted with a bright day outside! but I think I succeeded and hope Winnie and Bill will like my rendition of a lovely animal
that he is.      

Friday, October 11, 2013

Holly's Pots and Me!

Some months ago I had painted Holly's horse and Willow her lab, I thought it would be a nice surprise gift. Things worked out a little differently she was so pleased with her gift she wanted to give me something in return.

Brilliant idea, Holly is an excellent potter and I took advantage of it, asking for a nice blue jug and not to worry how long it would take. A couple of weeks ago she knocked on the door armed with two blue jugs and a good size pot for plants.

I was more than happy,  the jug was a birthday gift for my daughter, I had a surprise too as it worked out, having a jug and a pot too!

Thanks Holly for your generosity I will treasure them they are now out on display in our kitchen.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

OnIce Horse Farm

The Welcome Committee
A Big Secret we found yesterday.

Saturday we were full of energy even though there were heavy clouds and the chance of rain we went out to enjoy the Headwaters Country Stables Tour.
As usual not knowing what it was we were getting into, our first choice just 15 minutes away is the OnIce Horse Farm, specialising in Icelandic Ponies and set in the beautiful  Ontario Countryside we never knew existed! We arrived just as the Horas family were setting up, Mr & Mrs Horas, Wendy, Mitchell and Brian.

We were greeted right away and introduced to a very friendly family, we had the opportunity to look around as they brought the ponies out into the pasture. I believe they have 19 of these special and unique animals .
Meantime we were invited to have fresh coffee/tea  home made cookies warm from the oven or apples and cider, all made by Oma.

We thought it was a great way to start our morning watching the goings on. We had the chance to talk to the Wendy who is very enthusiastic about Icelandic ponies and we found out the uniqueness of these animals, they are playful and hardy with the ability not to worry about the winter, their coats designed to take all kinds of weather and they can give a smooth ride even though they are small.
Wendy demonstrating the way to ride a Pony!

We realized we had found a family who are totally besotted and only too pleased to give us all the information they could about being care givers and owners. 

We are looking forward to more trips to  Onice Horse Farm again hopefully soon when they are not
so busy.
We visited 3 other Stables all very different in this area so lots more to write about with photo's for another day.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Winsong Winnie and Zelador

Winnie & Zelador Walking to the barn. 
A beautiful Autumn day and we had the privilege of meeting Winnie of Winsong Farm, a gorgeous morning of sun and warmth arriving at 9 30a.m. we drove up the path and parked the car just as she was coming to greet us for an hour to watch her train Zelador  putting him through his paces in readiness for the Weekend event .

Zelador  is of Portuguese origin, he is a  .Lusitano Gelding, strong handsome colour of milk with a shaking chocolate sprinkles he was still in his stall and seemed to be  listening as Winnie gave us a summary of all what entails training and looking after their horses. An amazing amount of hard work and lots of love and kindness goes into every day. With gentleness and lots of encouragement for Zelador,  it was good to see no cracking whips. just softly talking and encouragement.

They are definitely in communication with each other and a joy to watch this incredible horse who seemed to enjoy his routine catching a ball, standing on wooden blocks, waiting for the next thing with patience and pride, his eyes on Winnie all the time.
He can even sit on a bean bag!

This Sunday we are going back with the audience of 70 or so people to watch the whole show, We are looking forward to seeing more.

Our sincere thanks to Winnie taking the time out before she had another training session straight after us!

We are beginning to understand equine people, they are a different set of folk who LOVE and Care for their Horses!.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Study of Dee Dee

"Dee Dee" oil on 8x10 board
Study of Dee Dee

I decided to paint a study of DeeDee from a photo, I liked her steady gaze into the distance. I believe she must be black as I found magenta,ultramarine blue and browns in her.

At a later date I would like to paint her larger, it was interesting working with a dry brush blending the colours her coat looks sleek and shiny, I think she's lovely.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

"A Bit of Peace before the Jumping"

"Grazing" oil on 14x18 canvas
At Palgrave 

We went to Hunter class jumps, this was a moment of opportunity for a little leisure and a nibble of fresh grass, for the horse!. We don't know his name but thought it was a pleasant moment, he was with his owner who was in deep conversation. He is a big horse but had a gentle look about him. So he was the one I picked for a painting.

A couple of things I have noticed is the colours you can see in the hair so many hues in the body which took a while to work out. I was able to get the paint in the right places and then left it to dry for a while to do the background that seemed to take a little longer than expected
I tried some different effects but in the end I did the back ground as the picture looked, more of less.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Busy Life! - but Inspiring!

We are so inspired by the Equine world that we have taken on too many paintings plus a couple of commissions and we need to prioritise!
Babs' easel is on the right and mine on the left and we are both working on horse pictures plus one old house for me.
And on top of that we are spending our weekends at the Equine centre looking for more inspiration, and it keeps on coming!

So today it will be the Old House for me and for her the "Grazing Hunter".

And then we have to weed out the mint patch and take down the canopy over the deck, Fall is with us, slight frost in some places this morning.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Loosy Goosy and Mrs Uptight !

"Walking to the Start" by John oil on 16x20 canvas
"Dressage" by Babs oil on 11x14 board
Having worked at painting for a few years now we both know we have developed a different style in the way we paint. It's been frustrating and interesting seeing how our practice pictures as we call them are morphing into a pattern over the past few weeks. We had different like and dislikes in what we painted.
Recently we have had some success painting a variety of horses.

John decided to join me in an experiment going to a few Equine events at Caledon Equine Park just to see what happens and to get a feel for the atmosphere and taking pictures. We worked on an idea for both of us to paint similar scenes, however, John is more  interested in scenes of horses and riders preparing for the event while I am practising more on the team (horse and rider) must add we know nothing about the actual Sport so it 's been fun learning about the skills necessary to take the shots and time the jumps or watching dressage with concentration.

We are posting two pictures to show you what we have achieved so far, of course with some artistic license!
Jumps are incredible to watch but for working to make the horse shine we decided to eliminate some  equipment they have on the field for jumping its almost like a jigsaw puzzle!  and dressage a lot of concentration for shots.

The Caledon Equine Park is in a beautiful location, magnificent sky bordered by lovely forests which both add to the final picture!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Gluttons for Punishment

Caledon Equine Park, Palgrave

The last few weekends have been spent watching horses being put through their paces from jumps to dressage has been interesting. It is a such a large amount of young people all enthusiastic and horses doing their best to please.

The more we visit the less we understand ! However we do  enjoy the whole thing watching many riders,some professional and some amateurs. The atmosphere on the days we have been are relaxed between sessions so it gives us a chance to take photographs for painting and a wander round at the eventing picking out interesting scenes that we like hopefully to become paintings eventually.

My practice painting is horse and rider doing dressage I like to torture myself attempting to make the picture look right, horses feet are a true test of patience along with the gear of straps and saddle with rider on top!
This one was on a sunny day with dark trees and bright earth, colour coming from the sunny day.

John has caught the bug too but likes to include the  scenery! 

The paintings will be ready for vewing in a few days.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

"At the Equine Workshop"

"Concentration at the Workshop" oil on 11x14 board

Granddaughter  Katie at a Equine workshop, which she enjoyed a lot, Jazz her horse has been with her since Christmas and it looks like they have bonded and are very happy with their  partnership.

This is a first painting I have done that includes the rider, so I hope Katie doesn't mind the less than perfect likeness! But with more practice as I will improve!

Happy Birthday, the painting will be delivered ASAP!

Love Babs