Sunday, April 11, 2010

Wild Horses: Completed Drawing

"The Hand of Man"
20" x 25"
Color Pencil on Uart 500

You may recall that the recently completed wild horses drawing has been in flat-file-exile, while my loss of objectivity adjusts itself.  Today I removed it from the "flat file drawer of shame" (to quote a very funny comment by Australian artist Peter Brown).  As I suspected, the drawing and myself simply needed some time and distance from one another.  I'm feeling much better about it than when I placed it there two weeks ago..........and alright-okay-yes-you-caught-me: I changed the title.  While talking with a good friend about the drawing several weeks ago, she used the phrase "the hand of man" when discussing the fate of many wild horses.  It stuck with me, and better captured what I wished to convey than did "Broken Spirit".

To recount some of what I shared several months ago when I laid out the initial drawing, the two wild horses portrayed here were in a holding area owned and operated by the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Wyoming.  They had been captured during a wild horse round-up organized by the BLM.  Though difficult to see in this photograph, their recent struggle is evidenced by the small wounds, spots of dried blood, and grass stain on the pale horse's coat.  I was drawn to and sought to capture the emotion displayed by these two horses: the fatigued sadness of the pale horse, the rather haunting gaze of the dark horse, and the obvious bond between the two.

It bears repeating that there are an estimated 38,000 wild horses roaming free on U.S. range lands, and more than 30,000 in captivity in holding areas and corrals managed by the BLM.  Sadly, this icon of the American West is caught in a controversy involving wild horse proponents, cattle ranchers and land owners, and the U.S. government.  Round-ups are periodically orchestrated in several western states in an effort to manage wild horse numbers, and are sometimes performed in ways (including the use of helicoptors) that cause injury, death, and the separation of mothers from foals who cannot sustain themselves. 

My drawing is not intended so much as a political statement, as it is a venue through which some may be compelled to learn more.  As I indicated in a previous post, my own knowledge of the issue is too limited for me to develop strong opinions regarding how this issue should be handled.  However it is my hope that our government will implement strategies that eliminate the harm caused, and will allow as many wild horses as possible to remain on open rangelands. 

For further information on both sides of the controversy, visit the official site of the United States Bureau of Land Management and the Wild Horse Preservation Campaign.



  1. Lynda,
    Magnificently done and with your explaination of where your subject(s)came from the title is perfect.
    I live out West but know about as much as you concerning the wild horse population here and I feel the same, that though the balance of the herds needs to be managed for their own survival there must be better ways to do this. I hope enough people eventually learn about it and there might soon be a large enough voice to effect change. Maybe this drawing will jumpstart many to help the change begin.
    Will you be entering this somewhere soon?

  2. Hi Lynda,
    This painting is sublime, now I get the whole atmosphere and story behind. Thanks for sharing it, that's something I had never heard before. I hope that issue resolves in the best way for the horses and everyone else.
    Warm regards,

  3. It's stunning Lynda and as Michael says your explanation is perfect. Living in the UK I'm not qualified or knowledgeable enough to make judgement but as a human being with a heart beat my instinct in what is happening is nowhere near right or just.

  4. Beautiful drawing and a very poignant story.

  5. Beautiful Lynda! The story behind the drawing makes it that much stronger.

  6. Maravilloso, me sorprende como has conseguido conservar los detalles en las partes más oscuras del caballo negro, es de un realismo extraordinario, enhorabuena.

  7. Thank you everyone for your very kind words about "The Hand of Man"; the piece was challenging on a number of different levels, which makes your words especially rewarding. Sharing this story in itself is important -- I value your appreciation of it.

    Michael, I finished this piece just in time (3 days before the deadline) to submit it to CPSA Internationals in San Francisco.......Now its your turn.....GET TO WORK! hahahaha.....Anyway, I've considered a couple of other things also but am not sure yet.

    Hola Francis. Aprecio especialmente su comentario, porque a veces durante el proceso de este dibujo es que realmente se preguntaba si yo estaba manejando el caballo oscuro con eficacia. Gracias.

  8. It's wonderful to see the drawing completed, Lynda. And great to read the story behind the drawing again. I also love the "exile" in the flat file drawer bit. Too funny.

  9. Thats what it is Debbi......Exile! Otherwise I'd run the risk of feeling a strong need to have a bon fire; hahahahaha. I have such a bad attitude toward some of my pieces right after they are completed.

  10. This is such a moving piece Lynda. You did a fabulous job! I am sure it will be accepted into the CPSA exhibition. Don't put it back in that file drawer, you need to get this framed (with some acrylic so you can ship it). :-)

  11. A beautiful portrait Lynda, you truly captured the spirit of these wild horses. I love to read your story behind this painting and I understand the title change. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Thank you for the vote of confidence, you understand however, I will proceed without expectation or attachment to outcomes......
    : )

    Thanks so much Colette. Yes, and I was having a hard time titling this one; so it is a good thing my friend just happened upon that phrase in conversation.

  13. Hi Lynda, I think a bonfire of some of my old stuff would be very cathartic. I have actually started cleaning out my flat files and portfolios and thrown out some old artwork. Stuff that I really don't need to keep. But if you ever want to have a joint bonfire. . .. I know, you don't have that much stuff yet that you could afford to burn.
    Hey, only one week until the CPSA results!!!

  14. such an emotionally touching piece, capturing traits of horses and weather... beautiful work