When I was younger, I was an avid horseback rider, and my saddle was and still is one of my most prized possessions. The unique experience of riding a horse as well as the aesthetic of the sport have always been major inspirations of mine. It’s a sport that strives to keep tradition alive, like I do when I paint. When the quarantine began, I felt incredibly inspired to begin to undertake more ambitious projects that I had been excitedly planning for a while. I painted this prior to moving into a studio, so I set up this still life in a cramped corner in my room, with the frustratingly inconsistent natural light from my window as my only light source. I found myself painting right up until the sun set, squinting at the painting in the dimming light. Despite the uncomfortable conditions, my experience painting this work was of deep meditation and calm. This painting taught me a lot about rhythm, composition, and atmosphere, and the lessons I learned from it have helped me with every painting I have done since.
But most importantly, this act of creating this painting was an incredible source of comfort to me while I grieved the death of a family member that came as a result of COVID-19. In a way, this painting has been a culmination of everything I love about art: the technique, the craft, its ability to soothe in the toughest of times, and its permanence in a time when everything is changing.
The frame for this painting was also handmade by me, as I strive to master the craft of creating a piece of art from the beginning to when it is hanging on the wall. The frame was inspired by Cassetta frames of the 16th century.