When I visit a racetrack with a long and rich history, like the Indiana State Fair track, I can almost hear the hoofbeats of the racing legends of the past. It gives me goosebumps. It’s like they’re still there, reliving their finest moments for anyone who cares to watch and listen.
Recently I was asked to do a very special harness racing commission for the Indiana Standardbred Association and the Indiana State Fair Commission to commemorate the refurbishing of the historic barn area at the State Fairgrounds. A reproduction of my painting will hang at the entrance of their permanent racing history exhibit in front of the barns, and the original will go to the ISA offices.
I was thrilled when the committee approved my idea of a modern horse racing against an historic horse. To make the time periods more clear, I decided to work in two styles, suggesting a Currier & Ives print for the early horse, and my usual style for the modern day horse. It was quite an artistic challenge to merge the two together. If you look on the left side of the painting, you’ll see the barns as they were a hundred years ago. The barn on the right side is one of the refurbished barns.
During the creation of the painting, I pulled a few two many weeds in the garden, and my carpal tunnel syndrome acted up. I swore I’d finish even if I had to tape a paintbrush to my hand!
“Racing History” by Lesley Spanos. Acrylic painting on cradled Ampersand Gessobord, 36″ x 24″. Copyright ©2013 Lesley Spanos, all rights reserved.
A few images taken along the way: