Wow! Not one albino deer, but two.
Walking my dogs along the edge of a long wooded slope, just near the cottage the other day, I saw a small herd of 10-12 roe deer, resting not all far from me in amongst the trees, and remarkably, they hadn't spotted either myself or the dogs (who amazingly behaved themselves).
There were 6 stags and several does - one of which was completely white, even the the usual stripey rump was all white. And a 2nd doe, not white like the first, but a very pale version of the normal roe deer colouring.
Now standing quite still, I was able to watch them for several minutes before I tried to move in a bit closer - not a good decision, as they then immediately saw me and quickly moved off further into the trees.
Why is it you never have a camera available, just when you most need it?
Unlike humans, deer have multiple pigments and albinism in animals is considered to be a hereditary condition characterised by the absence of melanin in particular, in the eyes, skin and hair. Whilst a deer with complete absence of melanin is called an albino, a deer with only a diminished amount is described as leucistic or albinoid, so I guess this herd has one of each.
I have since seen them another 3 times, but not as close up, and got this more distant photo (above). So the quest is on to get some really clear, close up pics - I shall post an update if I'm successful.
If you ask the average person to name a famous horse artist, then George Stubbs would most likely be at the top of the list. Stubbs is admired as 'the master painter of horses', and yet...
Born in the early 1700s, Stubbs began his early work on equine anatomy by severing a horse's jugular vein, suspending it from a ceiling, and then gradually stripped away the various layers of skin and muscles in order to study and illustrate.
This was a period in our history when horses were generally considered 'beasts', to be used and abused without consideration of their welfare.
With veterinary science being largely non-existent, equine welfare was left to farriers, and written advice by the likes of Gervase Markham, who recommended such practices as rubbing a horse's coat with its own blood to make it glossy, and for unresponsive horses, he advised to create sensitive spots on it's sides by perforating and lifting the skin, rubbing in salt!
There were signs of progress too in the eighteenth century, with men such as William Gibson and Henry Bracken writing to denounce the ignorance and abuse promoted by Markham. It was not however, until the very end of the century before the first veterinary college was established.
It is good to reflect on, and be most grateful for, just how far we have progressed to the present day.
For the artist and designer, one of the most intimidating things to work through can be that blank sheet of paper, the empty canvas. It's the making of the first mark, the first thoughts put into 2-dimensional brush strokes or pencil lines.
It's feeling a bit the same way for this first blog entry - my head is full of ideas, themes and points that I want to write about, and I can't rush in and tackle all the subjects at the same time, so how do I start?
When I put the first brush strokes onto a clean white canvas, I make a few marks, then a few more, and very quickly, it all starts to flow - I trust this blog will work in the same way.
I am particularly enthused to write about 18th century equestrian art, it being one of my most favourite topics. However, I will also endeavour to bring in a wide range of art movements, styles and individual artists.
I am privileged to live in a very lovely part of the country, the South Downs, which is full of horses! So I am sure I won't be able to resist sharing something of life in the Downs too.
|Fine Horse Portraits||