Beating an Inanimate Horse

It wasn’t dead until I got my hands and brush on it. Then I really killed it.

full speed sienna

The sienna wash sketch seemed a good start. Trying to minimize painting an outline but a horse’s anatomy isn’t familiar to me. Thought I needed some lines for proportion.

And then! And then, with a few deftly and consistently  wrong swabs of a brush, I kept at it until I ruined it.

The horse is full speed ahead, the young man, bareback, barefoot, confident, slender stick in his teeth.

This is the only section that had redemption.

speedcolor If that.

What started out a steed, ended up looking like the equine version of Carol Channing. Like a carousel horse. With garish make-up and curly mane.

When you start dabbing and poking at it, it’s time to scrape.

Especially after looking at Frank Gardners‘ new painting of a horse called Ben. One brush stroke at a time you can see how he sees color. And the shift from sun to shade. Just go look at this painting and double click to see it close. It is so beautiful.

I don’t have it this week. This might be why.

beautiful beamer

Our beautiful girl Beamer 1/99-7/09. She was just as she looks. My first dog. And never went anywhere without her football purse. A very sad day.

Or maybe THIS is the reason:


Cute? Yes. Claws like Freddie Kreuger? Times velocity? Plus a lower lip ( not mine ), a moving vehicle ( my husband ), all together equals a trip to the emergency room.

Cliff note version: ( so aptly named if you saw the hill I’m on ): walking above cute dog on our hilly road. Daddy passes in pick up truck, stops, and dog, all 58 pounds of him tried to leap like a Chihuahua through the open window and instead makes contact with Kellys’ lower lip. I see spurts of blood, I hear expletives. I know it can’t be good. He drove with one hand, holding his lip together with the other. I ran home with the dog.

With only two people ahead of us, we thought we’d be a quick in and out. That turned into almost 4 hours.

By 10:30 PM we were back home, 8 stitches later. A double cocktail week- both stirred AND shaken.

Decided to read about art instead- another Gardner- Isabella Stewart Gardner and the world’s largest and most mysterious  art theft.  The Gardner Heist by Ulrich Boser.

Still, none of this really explains why I don’t have it this week. Does it? Anyone??

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40 Responses to “Beating an Inanimate Horse”

  1. Noel Luria Says:


  2. Frank Gardner Says:

    Oh Bonnie, I am sorry to hear about Beamer.
    Thanks for the kind words about my painting of Ben. I surely would have put on some more strokes if he had just stood still long enough.
    You know, when my arm and brushes are not doing what I want them to I just walk away and do something else.
    Actually, that butt is not bad.

  3. Kelly Gloger Says:

    Who ever said that “one must have it” every week? All of us are allowed a time of funk and a few days of being “off”. What you gave to me and my Frankenstein lip job (best bedside manner on the planet), post dog claw/ripped inner lip, had more than enough of “it” in it for me.

    The only advice I can give you as a non-painter is this – Use big brushes, limit your brush strokes and colors, use the paint to “sculpt” light, not paint it, and let yourself be bold. Remember every canvas is not meant for the Louvre my love! Have more fun with it!

  4. Marian Fortunati Says:

    Yes, it DOES explain it…
    Painting is as much heart and concentration as it is talent… When your heart is broken and your emotional mind is adrift over lost loves and damaged loves …. no one can paint!!

    So sorry, Bonnie.

    At least your husband’s lip will heal….. and he still has strong arms to hold you tight!!

  5. Bonnie Luria Says:

    Thanks Marian-I always say skin will heal but a good pair of pants or a blood soaked shirt is ruined forever!

    Thanks for your sweet words.

  6. Carol King Says:


    you poor baby! Such a tough week. Beamer was such a sweetie! And Kelly ain’t bad either.

    And I know what you mean about feeling like nothing is there! I feel that all too often when I go to class and stare and a blank piece of paper.

    But I like your horse. And even if, like Kelly says, it’s not for the Louvre, it’s still something! Keep painting, keep posting.

    • Bonnie Says:

      Thanks Carol-Kelly is healing fast. I told him if he was a breed of dog, he’d be an Australian ” Healer “.
      I think I’m too quick to scrape and wipe but it’s really how I felt this week.

  7. mike rooney Says:

    when it aint flowin’ just do something else and dont feel guilty (above all else)
    you might just need some downtime to recharge. i loved the early stage of the horse sketch.

    • Bonnie Says:

      Mike- nice to see you here again. Sometimes I think you can push the feeling, other times I have to step away.
      My early stages go well. I think I can draw with more skill than I can apply paint.
      Either it comes out too dark or too light or too thick or too thin.

      It may be time for another instructional DVD!. LOL.
      Hope Jamie continues to improve.

  8. Wreggie Says:

    I’m so sorry. I hate to loose them.

    • Bonnie Says:

      Thanks Wreggie- I know how much you and Gigi feel for your animals. They burrow deep into our hearts.
      Let me know when you’re here in September. We’re just up the hill.

  9. w1kkp Says:

    “I hear expletives”

    Your dog swears?


  10. JoAnn Sanborn Says:

    Sympathies for Beamer–and Kelly, and the cool swearing dog. What a week. At least the garden benefited. And the horse’s ass.

  11. Donald Diddams Says:

    I had to chuckle at the small section of the painting you showed and Frank Gardner’s comment that the “butt was not bad”. Is that what it means to be drawn and quartered?

    Seriously, I agree that it is not a good to be too hard on oneself. For me, creativity requires some degree of mindfulness and inner quiet. Emotional upsets like the loss of your lovely dog and Kelly’s torn lip can surely interfere with the flow. My guess is that most artists never admit to how many attempts end up in the trash.

  12. Bonnie Says:

    JoAnn-The only horse’s ass was me for scraping too soon.
    I think my mood overrode my desire to paint.

    Don- oh that’s priceless and I wish I had thought of it for my title.
    I know if I step away for a day or two, I come back feeling like I washed my creative blackboard.

    PS- Congratulations again for your great show.

  13. planetross Says:

    Sorry to hear about Beamer.

    Some days the muses are not amused.
    Inspirationing is in affect then!

    Sometimes you gotta lose it to know how good it feels when it comes back. It’s like sanity … or your virginity … or something I guess.

  14. planetross Says:

    I meant “effect” and “my virginity” or something like “this”.

  15. TerryC Says:

    So sorry about your loss, Bonnie. I know Beamer had a very happy life with you.

    Only four hours in the ER! Not bad – was that the first time for you and Kelly?

    • Bonnie Luria Says:

      Terry- a month after I moved here, I punctured my leg when I fell on a hidden Ginger Thomas stump. That was my first indoctrination to the ER. Six hours on a Sunday- no tetanus available, no nurse to cover the docs sewing, so Kelly rifled thru the drawers, found gauze and tape, we covered it ourselves and I hobbled out of there.

      There’s no evidence of triage. Kellys’ bleeding mouth was tended to after a 10 month old baby with a bee stung hand who was laughing and seemingly unaffected by the event.

      OY! What a place.

  16. Melinda Says:

    I’m so sorry about your loss. Beamer looked like a very sweet dog and I know you will always carry your dog’s happy days in your heart.

    You’re very brave! Best wishes to you and your husband. You’ll be back in the studio producing inspirational work soon….I just know it.

    • Bonnie Luria Says:

      Melinda- thanks for the uplifting comment. It’s only and always time that needs to pass for the loss to hurt less.

      I’ve got some new brushes to try- they could be my motivation.

  17. wrjones Says:

    Frank is a wonderful painter but I like this cropped piece of yours better than Ben. This is a good painting Bonnie with beautiful lost and found edges.

    • Bonnie Luria Says:

      Bill- if you’re trying to vie your way to a vacation destination with flattery you sure know how to do it.
      I’m going to try it again since I really liked the subject and feel inspired by some positive comments.

  18. Eldon Says:

    Bonnie, I hate it when that happens. But this too will pass. And how do I know? You’ve got heart.

  19. Joanne Says:

    Hi Bonnie,
    My heart goes out to you in the loss of Beamer. I love the orange football purse she carried, and know that as your first dog, she must have taught you much about faithfulness and unconditional love. I think instead of painting the horse just now, you should paint a picture of Beamer. It might be difficult emotionally, but then again, your heart would be right there. The painting would almost paint itself, I think. The horse is for another day… and on THAT day, it will come together seamlessly.
    You have one fine man there – even when injured. In reading your posts to one another, I felt like a voyeuristic eavesdropper! *blush* So wonderful to “see” that kind of love and devotion to one another.
    Here is a BIG HUG to say I am sorry for your heart pain, and your husband’s lip pain, and I hope that this week will bring healing, joy and enough laughter to lift your vision to a new horizon.

  20. Bonnie Luria Says:

    Joanne- you always write from the heart and with great sympatico.
    Your words mean more than I can even express and I thank you so much.

  21. Jala Pfaff Says:

    Oh my god, I’m so extremely sorry to hear about your wonderful companion passing on. You have my deepest sympathy. Many hugs and Lynx-kisses too.

    (I came here to see what you were up to and to tell you I’ve just given you a blog award…but I see you have a lot more on your plate than you bargained for.)

  22. Sharon Crute Says:

    Boy, do our lives parallel.

    My sincerest condolences for your loss of Beamer. She looks dignified, alert but most of all confident of being loved as she returns the devotion. How we cherish these precious family members. Bittersweet that she’ll be missed with pangs of memory for now, smiles later.

    The lizards will miss her.

    I’m losing my Siamese by degrees. Sixteen treasured years coming to an very unwelcome close. There is a pall over this house and I struggle with my responsibility, emotions, but most of all in the studio.

    Commendable is the horse sketch created by a non-equine artist. Gee, study a bit of anatomy and you’re certainly a formidable horse artist!

  23. razzbuffnik Says:

    Sorry to hear about your furry friend.

    On a lighter note, you make a fine horse’s ass!

    (sorry but I just couldn’t resist)

  24. Mary Sheehan Winn Says:

    Oh Beamer, baby 😦

    Bonnie, just take it easy. The horse sketch isn’t bad at all, but we do lose perspective when we aren’t ‘getting it’.
    Personally, I like to chill out and am not driven by time. Pitiful, I know.

  25. Margarite Bojorquez Says:

    Now i really really want to get a dog of my own.

  26. solvay Says:


    This is SO belated (I’ve been working nonstop all summer and have had to cut back dramatically on my usual blog tour…, in my inbox, there was a bizarre notice of a new comment on Frank’s “Ben” – it was in some kind of gibberish code and when I clicked on “Ben” there wasn’t any new comment at all. BUT, at the bottom, there was a link to that painting, so I clicked on it to see if that was what the odd thing in my inbox was, but NO, it was this blog post of yours), and here it is six weeks later and I read that your beloved dog has gone. OH. THAT is like losing God, the emptiness is so total. I’m so so so sorry. I also know that six weeks later will find you still grieving – my heart goes out to you, Bonnie. I’m so glad for the mystery note in my inbox, because it brought me here to you. I hope you have people near you who continue to comfort you for the very long time that it takes to come to a resting place for your aching heart.
    With love to you, Bonnie,

  27. Frank Gardner Says:

    Solveg, that was a spam infestation that was posted to about 8 of my blogposts. I deleted them pretty fast which is why it was not there anymore when you looked. It does show up in the mailboxes of anyone that had posted a comment though.
    I saw it coming through on some other blogs that I had commented on first, then it hit mine. Stupid spammers.

    • solvay Says:


      Wow – I hope that spam didn’t cause trouble on your blog. But, I’m really glad you explained, since I was pretty confused. I love when mysteries are solved!

      But, as long as no problems were caused to your blog, I am kind of glad for it, since it brought me directly to this post of Bonnie’s.
      And, by now, I’ve discovered the new love in her life: Cloud.

      Thanks for taking the time to explain everything, Frank!

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