Truly a spiritual piece for me, this one came after a drought of lack for inspiration. I would go to the woodshop and look at wood and no good ideas would come. Then I'd have a good idea, go try to find the right wood for it and couldn’t get anywhere from that angle either. So then I prayed, asking for help.
This time when I went to the shop I walked over to a piece of mesquite and the thought of a white horse came to me. Good, a white horse would do well on mesquite. I started to visualize the horse and then for some reason thought of the story in Revelations about a white horse. I didn't remember the story so I ran up to the house, got the Bible and said "Okay God, show me where it is". I had no idea which chapter it was in so I just opened to Revelations and there it was. (Smile.) 19:11 "And I saw heaven opened and behold, I saw a white horse; and he who sat upon him was called Faithful and True..." Wow!
So I realized that I needed to do 2 horses, Faithful and True. Faithful would be white and True would be black. I began to think of the composition, thought there may be more to it because of the way the ideas where unfolding, and decided to cut the board long. I felt there might need to be a 3rd horse but didn't have an idea about it yet. By the time I cut, planed, joined and sanded the wood I was ready to start the sketch. I decided to use no references at all but rather be guided by the master artist. Faithful and True went on beautifully with practically no erasing. That is unusual for me. I typically labor over the sketches and spend tons of time on them.
This board has some small knots running through it that made me think of an appaloosa horse. I had thought about that from the start but put it aside as just my infatuation with Appaloosas; I was focused on the white and black horses and working on their sketches when the phone rang. While we were talking I told my friend about the picture I was doing, and he said "You should put an Appaloosa horse in there". Okay, I got the message. After I hung up with Chuck it came to me that the Appaloosa is Joy. "Faithful and True meet Joy!" I was very excited and started sketching her but this was different. I was having problems, kept changing the composition, lots of erasing. I think I re-drew just one of the front legs 7 times and still didn't like it. Faithful and True went on perfectly, practically with my eyes closed, why was I running into a wall with Joy?
I finally decided to go look at a picture of an Appaloosa and maybe I'd get unstuck, so I went in the house and just as I sat down at my desk it hit me. This isn't Joy, it's supposed to be Hope. I'm trying to do an end run around Hope to get to Joy but I don't know what Joy looks like yet. I do know what Hope looks like. So I ran back out to the studio and erased all the spots and that darn front leg, again, and the ideas began to flow. I already had Hope touching noses with True and the rest of the body composition was good (except for that one leg). I got the leg right and then came the spots, what marked Hope. It started with the broken heart then the spots coming out of it like water from a fountain, then the circular patterns, circle of life, and a small, unbroken heart in one of the circles. Her face came next with the star and a small tear, the look of constellations representing the universe, and the Milky Way. Finally, the tail of the star, shaped like the tail of a g, this in remembrance of a powerful line from a wonderful story by Nancy Tester, "Revision".
You may surmise by now that I have been through some tough stuff lately. Yes. God told me awhile back to give people hope. I have not felt very hopeful lately so don't think I've been doing a very good job of that and have felt like a great failure, with good reason. I have been a failure lately, in that particular arena. But my falling down and failing doesn't worry God nearly as much as it does me, He has all the time in the universe. I on the other hand am very nearsighted. With the gift of this picture and the inspiration, I think I’m learning how to walk again and hopefully see farther, no matter how bad my eyes are. I hope. Indeed.