By Suzanne Webel
On a beautiful fall afternoon, seventeen aspiring equine artists and their guests assembled with a mixture of eagerness and trepidation in Barn A at the Boulder County Fairgrounds to capture their ponies on canvas.
Participants had submitted a favorite photo of their subjects ahead of time, which our “artists on deck” Stacie Schuchardt and her friend Dana had transferred as sketches onto canvas, and which were waiting for people as they arrived. We had set up a supplies table with an assortment of acrylic paints and brushes, with individual tabletop easels and palettes at tables deployed around the room. And of course there were refreshments to keep people fortified for their endeavors.
Stacie and Dana put everyone at ease with a few introductory remarks and tips on getting started (simple backgrounds first, then the horse, then last, the tack, eyes and muzzles!). The outline drawings made the blank canvas feel less intimidating, and after the first tentative brushstroke on it became great fun blocking out the areas to be painted and filling them in. Stacie and Dana circulated among us, offering helpful pointers and support.
What amazed me was the creativity and variety of styles that emerged unbidden, ranging from startlingly realistic equine portraits, to wild colors and textures, to sunburst haloes and flowers!
Time flew, there was a lot of laughter and conversation, and by the end of the session everyone was able to take home a lasting souvenir of their painting adventure. The most common feedback we got was that everyone had fun and wanted us to put on another Paint Your Pony event soon, which was the nicest compliment of all.