Champion, 6" x 8", acrylics on panel, depicting American Pharoah, the Kentucky Derby winner the year I was the Derby artist. Reproductions available here.
We are halfway through Kentucky Derby Week. Three years ago I was the official artist of The Kentucky Derby. And for the first time in 37 years, the Derby winner went on to win the Preakness and Belmont, securing a Triple Crown. And I saw the first leg in person from my seats at the wire.My Grandfather and I shared a passion for horse racing. We watched the Derby together every year, sharing stats and guesses during the prep races. When he and Grandma retired they moved to Arkansas where he quickly became a regular at Oaklawn Park. About that same time, he became a fervent supported of the Arkansas Derby winner, something rather uncommon in the late 80s. Our Derby Week consults were initially letters, then phone calls, then Facebook messages. What I wouldn't give to hash over the morning line with him again. Or to have been able to share my Derby Artist honor with him at my side.
I did the next best thing that first Saturday in May 2015, 5 years after his passing - I bid on the Arkansas Derby winner because I knew that's what he would have asked me to do. So when the horses came round the final turn and American Pharoah had taken the lead, the sound of the crowd was a far away echo in my head. Instead I was engulfed in one of Grandpa's trademark bear hugs, complete with the brush of his whiskery cheek.
I got to share my day with him after all, not as my silly little selfish head had imagined, but in an entirely deeper level that honored our connection.
Here's the link to a photo essay of my Kentucky Derby journey, in case you missed it yesterday.
Also, another link to Monday's post about my artistic growth.
And another one to yesterday's post and my childhood passion for Walter Farley books.
Who have you shared your love of racing with?
Thursday, May 03, 2018
All the Dog-a-Days Ever......
- ▼ May (9)
- ► 2017 (121)
- ► 2016 (135)
- ► 2015 (198)
- ► 2014 (170)
- ► 2013 (215)
- ► 2012 (213)
- ► 2011 (225)
- ► 2010 (212)
- ► 2009 (215)
- ► 2008 (235)
- ► 2007 (248)