Please look away now if you don't like ex-animals (below). I painted them at The Prince's Drawing School in Shoreditch under the tutelage of Henry Gibbons Guy who gave them a poignant Chardin style setting in the changing light of our fourth-floor studio.
The artists' prey was contributed by the wonderful Delia, one of our fellow students, who brought it from Norfolk via her London deep freeze. Where a squirrel or a rabbit needed post mortem first aid, as it were, she would gently bathe it and then blow dry the fur with her hairdryer. As a gesture towards students who might be squeamish, it was a fine one.Nobody could say that our models didn't look pristine and peaceful.
How embarrassing is this? but my daughter Polly, mother of Lucien (aka Lucky) seemed to think the little chap might enjoy a strangely jolting ride with the odd swerve on the chicanes. Sad to report, this was the most enthusiasm he mustered; more interested in the fragment of cheese pretzel in my hand when not mystified or alarmed by the experience. Oh well, looks as though I was enjoying myself and thoroughly relieved that we didn't have to call the AA (that's the automobile breakdown service where I come from).
We were at Winter WonderhellLand in London's Hyde Park on Sunday, jostling pushchairs with a thousand others, high on the aroma of roasting chestnuts, fresh-fried donuts and hot Bavarian sausage. Oh it was good, really, but not for too long. Lucky and I escaped to the Serpentine lake to feed the water birds and marvel at the way seagulls will take morsels of pink iced bun on the wing. (Not a good day for my diet or theirs for that matter.) Polly braved the swelling crowd and took her five-year old Storm on various attractions. Three quid to go down a slide the height of Mont Blanc (not) proves the Eurozone economic crisis hasn't quite hit home yet. Her pictures of the day at her blog A Caged Bird Sings here.
.. for the first time this century. But I should not misrepresent myself as a horsewoman, having been on one barely a dozen times in my rather long life. The last time was in Australia when a sedate ride on a sweet old nag blind in one eye with shaggy hooves (does that not say cart-horse to you too?) proved more exciting than I anticipated. If it wasn't the fact we were at a 45 degree angle up and down a flipping escarpment, it was the ragdoll moment when she broke into a trot that caused me to smoke two cigarettes at once when I dismounted.
See here, I promise this isn't cruelty to animals. This adorable non-judgmental Icelandic pony is terrifically sturdy and able and willing to field twice his body weight of novice. I am sure he would have let me potter about the Land of the Midnight Sun on him if I'd asked. Skuggi belongs to my cousin Philippa and whilst somebody lent me a pair of gumboots, she lent me a hat and a lot of expert confidence-building advice. Can't say I'm not proud of this picture.
Thrust the bust! I don't know.. probably a bit keen to have a 'good seat'. I really hate being under-dressed and always wanted a proper pair of jodhpurs, boots, hacking jacket, stock, velvet hat. Hairnet. String-backed leather gloves. Whip or more properly, riding crop.
This is the way to do it
Keen sportswoman, champion United States skier and best-dressed all round good egg Ann Bonfoey Taylor
Her hacking jackets had matching riding hats ohh
These images taken from Fashion Independent : The Original Style of Ann Bonfoey Taylor published by the Phoenix Art Museum to which her exquisite wardrobe has been donated.
PS I don't know if anybody is going to read this because I disappeared off the radar so long that I've have fallen off the plot.