Monday, November 16, 2009

The Real Jasmine

Jasmine. Ink and oil on canvas, 18x18, by Alli Farkas. Donated to HARPS, the Hooved Animal Rescue and Protection Society, in Barrington Hills, Illinois.

My apologies to Alli Farkas, and to readers I might have confused... the lovely painting I posted yesterday was not of Jasmine, who's shown here, but of Ginger. I suppose it doesn't matter to the horses, but it does to us humans. Sorry!

Alli, who made both of these beautiful paintings, had an interesting time getting the horses to pose for photographs. Here's her story:

"They were both out in a huge grass pasture with a lot of other horses, ponies, and a donkey when I arrived.

As soon as I entered the field, I was surrounded by equines who all thought I had treats for them. When they discovered I didn't, they all soon went back to munching grass, and that's where the problems started! It's really difficult to get a horse who is busy eating to look up at you and pose for a photo.

Usually I have someone with me to distract them, but this time I was running solo because Ronda, the gal at HARPS who was going to assist me, had to run out on a starving horse case just before I arrived. I tried everything--crunching cellophane (horses who like peppermints think you're unwrapping one), jingling car keys, even tossing road apples in the air.

Nothing worked. I did have the HARPS newsletter in my back pocket. It's magazine size, and I opened it up so the pages were hanging down and dangled it slowly in front of Jasmine's nose. She was mildly annoyed, looked up and I got off a few good shots.

Ginger was a different story. She wasn't going for this trick at all, and every time I tried she just showed me her rear end as she trotted off in the opposite direction. I got a couple shots of her while trotting, but they weren't totally in focus. After about an hour and a half of patiently baiting and waiting on the horses, Ronda returned and took Ginger out of the pasture where she graciously posed for us. I combined the fuzzy trotting shot with the sharp portrait style shot to get the painting I was after."

Great story! And great persistence.

HARPS sounds like an excellent group: you can see their website by clicking here.

Alli writes that HARPS is "a wonderful organization
(national chair is Loretta Swit) and they have rescued not only horses, but cattle, goats, and even a llama. They were effusively appreciative of my offer to paint Jasmine and Ginger, and I can't recommend them highly enough if folks out there wish to donate."

Alli's work is engaging and charming. Check out her website and her blog.


  1. Great paintings Alli! Next time take a couple of assistants with you. It will make your photography a lot easier! You really need three people; one to hold, one to get the subject's attention and one to shoot. :-D You did a wonderful job of capturing these equines' personalities!

  2. Don't apologize because that painting is perfect, I could see perfect art there, actually horses are my passion, I'd like you giving me some tips to become an artist like you.