Horse in the Alhambra 2

17 02 2008

The painting of Trabag is in its first stage, just monochrome colouring, but everything is at its place. From now on it’s just a lot of work. I sometimes start an oil-painting this way too, but this is going to be in gouache.


The whole series is very much inspired on Mughal Miniatures from the British Museum. I never go there without having a look at my particular favorites. They are often quite flat, space-wise,but I’m noticing the space in the paintings is getting deeper. Trabag has quite a lot of depth.

moghul_miniature_amberhead.jpg. . moghul_miniature.jpg

The Alhambra horses are also quite small, 15cm by 15cm, and painted with gouache, and embellished with real gold and silver leaf. I sometimes put them into real space, and sometimes I just use tiles or a stone-grid as a background.

This is the ”Quarto Dorado”


And different ways the horses are put in:




A Horse in the Alhambra

6 02 2008

Where shall I start… When I was 10 years old my parents took us to Spain, and, to do something cultural, they took us to the Alhambra Palace, Granada. I was completely wiped out, boiled over, and in love. I had many dreams about it.


The Alhambra Palace


I went back some time ago, armed with three cameras and 30 rolls of film!!!


The best dream went thus: I was a cook. In the Alhambra. But I didn’t know what to cook, and I didn’t have any food. I was led to a courtyard, there were a couple of zebras and ponies. No go, I’m not going to cook horses and zebras!

Then a fat Arab came, he showed me the cutest horse: half horse, half zebra. And so cheerful! Never! This horse was not going to be cooked either!

So, no dinner. But a very nice dream, good party, and everybody was very happy, and it started a series of Gouache paintings which one day will be: ”One Hundred Horses in the Alhambra”

This is Rabhar in the Alhambra

A white Arab in the Alhambra

A frisian!


And this is going to be the next one: A spotted Arab called Trabag. I found an old picture of this horse in a book, must be some weird genetic anomaly because there are no pure spotted Arabs. (the Americans like to breed near pure Arabs which are spotted, but they are never truly Asil) I like weird coloured horses for the ”One Hundred Horses”


And tomorrow I’ll start on this one, perhaps a new post then to show you, dear visitors, how it is progressing.


14 01 2008

So why do I do it?


Because it would be a great job if I didn’t get all that flak. And if I could make a basic income out of it. It is great to make something which is good, beautiful, and useful. And sometimes I can express myself as an artist too.

It started with Tarq’s saddle. Which gives no trouble by the way, it has even survived Tarq’s swimming adventure. It has protected his back when he slid down the dike, and bumped on his back over the iron border of the canal. I had to dry it, brush it up, and although clearly has been through the works, is still beautiful and perfectly serviceable.

With Tarq’s saddle I let my worst imaginations loose. design, tooling, colouring, and sowing and construction did take three months.



But definitely worth it. And worthy of The Tarq!


I’m now working on an endurance saddle. The X-treme! I’m leaving everything off which isn’t absolutely necessary. Maximal comfort for the horse; minimal comfort for the rider! It’s still only half finished.


Besides. There is something of a message here: one doesn’t have to buy badly made saddles, that don’t fit and damage your horse. And I spend a lot of time and effort in giving clinics, and lectures, about the importance of, and how to make sure, that your saddle fits reasonably well.

Probably all a waste of time and effort.

Trouble with Tarq

12 01 2008

The Tarq, my horse, doesn’t really believe in my qualities as a leader. He therefore thinks he has to keep a wary eye on our surroundings. Our surroundings are the neat, manicured, countryside of the Netherlands. According to The Tarq these surroundings are full of dangerous sabretooth-tigers, and forest-trolls.

So, last July: The Tarq spots a suspicious flower.bavontuurmettarq1.jpg

And then turned as only Tarq can; in a nano-second! So, I fell off.bavontuurmettarq2.jpg

Tarq fell too, rolled over me and slid down the dike, bavontuurmettarq3.jpgover the iron rail, and landed on his back in the water.


This is a commercial canal, at the side it is more than two meters deep. Many animals get trapped and die in this canal. Tarq went completely under three times, at last he managed to swim, but only his head stuck out of the water, the saddle had shifted, and was dragging him down.


I managed to get the saddle off, Tarq swam a lot better, and after one hopeless try to get out of the water, he started swimming towards the lock. At one point trees were hanging over the water, he could stand there. I hoped a bit of the side would be missing there, so I jumped into the canal.bavontuurmettarq8.jpg

Hopeless; there were two iron railings there so we started swimming. Tarq swam very well now, much faster then me, fully dressed and with shoes.


Near the lock he found a spot where he could stand, he waited for me there.


He knocked his knees against the side when he tried to jump out.


He should be able to jump though, so I let him rest a bit.


After ten minutes he did jump out and I walked him back to the stables. He looked completely happy and relaxed!


I looked after him, and went home for a shower and dry clothes, when I returned he was already half asleep!


The Tarq is getting fat!

6 01 2008

The Tarq is getting fat. Because I can’t train him at the moment he spends his days eating and fighting. He now looks like a German tourist. And he’s also bored, so he is trying to spice up his life by being horrible to me! He is getting very irritating. When I visit him he keeps trying to convince me he’s starving, and in desperate need of food. This evening he trotted towards me, and he looks like a casket on legs! His rotund belly swayed from left to right! My cool, sportive, beautiful Arab now looks as if he’s pregnant with triplets!