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Horsemen and deer in a Vineyard?



Denbies Vineyard has a gallery with a programme of shows through the year and some friends of mine have asked me to participate in a show they are curating there this month, February 2022 from the 31st January till the 6th and then from the 14th until the 27th. I drove some pictures over there this morning for the hang.


It is difficult to assess what to show in Surrey... So I decided to show horses and riders in two paintings, one of the Blues and Royals riding down Pall Mall - featuring my grandson in a yellow waterproof - and another of the huntsman and some hounds showing off to hunt supporters on Boxing Day last year, outside their kennels at Ockley. The annual Boxing Day meet can be very entertaining as the day gets a big field and not all of them are accomplished riders, so there are lots of thrills, riders just hanging on, and spills, and downright refusals by the horses to jump. The hounds, on the other hand, just crash through the hedges if they can't get over. Thorns, what thorns? I painted one hound at rider height to show that they do go over. What struck me on the day was how green the tree trunks looked, so I have put that in the painting.


The deer are not from Surrey - I have never seen fallow here yet - but from Sussex, where I spend a lot of time at Petworth. There are two paintings of running deer and one of a buck courting a doe. The running deer were painted at different dates but both relate to the same encounter. The "Running Buck" nearly ran me over as I was walking down a trail near the northern edge of the park, so anxious was he to get away from his pursuer. That was the first one I painted. A few years later I painted "Rivalry" to show what he was running from. If you look you will see the landscapes are similar except I have changed the seasons. The greens and flowers of the first painting have given way to Autumn colours in the tress and the grass has withered, i.e. the green gives way to yellow.


"Fallow rut, Petworth" imagines a buck and doe together in the bowl of the park where there are big old walnut trees and oak trees under which they like to gather for the nuts, so I included a frieze of dark trunks behind the deer. I took liberties with the colour of the doe but I am pretty sure I have seen some of the a light pinkish colour.








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