This striking piece of equestrian art measures 26 by 36 inches and depicts a pair of racehorses working on an overcast morning, on the Summer Canter of Newmarket Heath.
Painted in oil on canvas, it captures the spirit of enjoyment and competition between two thoroughbreds exercising on the gallops. The bay horse, leading by a short head, is stretching every sinew to stay in front of his counterpart, and is relishing his dominance. The grey, portrayed in the suspension phase of his gallop, appears to be enjoying his work every bit as much.
Greys have a devoted following among horse enthusiasts but are in fact the most demanding colour of horse to paint. Their coats reflect light instead of absorbing it which means that muscle definition and movement are not as evident as with other horses. When this is coupled with the sort of markings which are commonplace on greys, the artist can be presented with quite a challenge.
For me this piece of art had to be all about motion and the majesty of the horse in full flight. I love the tonal contrast between grey and bay horses and had a strong desire to place the two together, each acting as a visual foil for the other. By setting the horses against a grey sky, with distant brown fields, I have mirrored their coats in the landscape. This gives a cohesion and unity to the painting and makes it relaxing to view.
The name of the painting is taken from the shape of the leading horse's left foreleg, which points to where it is about to strike, like a bolt of electricity. The grey horse moves fractionally behind the strike, like an angry cloud in a gathering storm. In this painting the landscape reflects the horses whilst in turn the horses mirror the sky, moving over the turf with power and purpose.
'Bay Lightning' is available to buy as a limited edition print.
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