“I will wait.” Painted March 2023. 12”x12”. Acrylic on Stretched Canvas.
I’ve been ruminating on the idea of patience lately. Entanglements have been slow to untangle. Expectations that seemed realistic, lie crumpled on the ground, trampled by missed deadlines. Problems that should have been resolved weeks ago, have remained stubbornly unresolved. I’m learning to find new levels of patience inside myself.
Growing up on a cattle ranch, horses were integral to the overall functioning of the place. This was before the days of ATV’s and accessing cattle in the bush or moving the herd from one pasture to another was always done on horseback. Horses also provided us kids with endless entertainment. We spent hours with our horses; exploring the far reaches of the ranch, using them for transportation when it was too far to walk, or practicing in the corral prior to a horse show. Like people, horses have very distinct personalities, and one came to mind while I was considering the importance of patience in life.
Smokey was a Kentucky Walking horse that we owned growing up. He was the largest horse on the ranch but was also extremely kid friendly. He would let kids scramble up, over and under him without moving a muscle. He would wait patiently by the corral fence while we climbed up onto his back – he was too tall for little kids to have any hope of leaping onto his back. With nothing more than a piece of binder twine around his nose, he’d take us anywhere we wanted to go. He was such a calm horse that I don’t remember him ever getting spooked, kicking anyone, or bucking a rider off. Still, it was a rite of passage to fall off old Smokey. Once you started to slide off his broad back, there was little you could do to stop the inevitable. It was a long way to fall, but when you hit the ground Smokey would immediately stop and just wait for you to get up. He seemed unbothered by either poor riding skills or colourful language.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of Smokey, so in preparation for this painting, I had to look for some reference photos of old grey horses that had seen better years. Smokey seemed to be one of the few horses that would hang his head over the fence and wait for you, so I incorporated the kind of wire fences that we would often have at the corner of a pasture into the painting. I like the pattern the wire fence makes, but shading the horse through these wire rectangles was a challenge. I dedicate this painting to Smokey, a most beautiful and patient soul.