More Horses!

I’m a bit late posting about it this week, but I was back with the horses on Monday, and have another load of life drawings.

I didn’t get as much done as normal, as I was pretty tired, and was enjoying catching up with friends. And of course having cuddles with the ponies. Ghost and another pony both tried to eat my sketchbook, and also got snot on it (I bet my tutor will love that!), and Ghost nearly ate my pen which would not have been good! When they realised that my sketchbook wasn’t a tasty snack, the white pony proceeded to chew my hair, whilst Ghost just turned around and ignored me. He’s such a monkey.


Busy, Busy, Busy!

Well I’ve had a rather busy week!

With the deadline for my current uni project coming up, I’ve been embroidering like a mad thing and my fingers are now very raw.

On wednesday, I was also with the equestrian club helping out at one of their competitions (the team placed 2nd), which was a 5am start, so I’m still recovering from that. That was all with a bad leg, after I hurt my knee and foot doing rising trot on monday. I think that was just pulled muscles, they’re not really hurting so much now . Who knows, I’m hypermobile and my joints are always doing interesting things.

My embroidery stuff I’m really enjoying, but the actual theme of that project I’m still not feeling. I’m struggling to connect with it a bit I guess. Hopefully I can produce something good, because this stuff is being displayed in an exhibition at the art school!

My project explores how JP Duguid’s discovery of how penicillin works effected the overall story of penicillin, but I feel like it didn’t have a massive impact, and my tutor is wanting me to show his impact, rather than just make pretty embroideries of microscope slides. So I’ve looked at how the form of lysis  penicillin uses effects the peptidoglycan in the cell walls of bacteria. I’ve also explored the history leading up to his discovery- Fleming’s discovery in 1928, failed attempts to use penicillin, and also anthrax because that appears to be how JPD figured it out. I’m not 100% on that, but in the folder of info I had there was a diagram that he’d made showing penicillin lysing anthrax.

The anthrax stuff has been quite a heavy inspiration. The bacteria itself looks like wool, and it was originally referred to as woolsorter’s disease, due to it mainly being contracted by people working with animals. I did originally play with weaving and lucet, but I eventually settled on embroidery, as I like the juxtaposition of the pretty, crafty look with the deadly diseases stuff.

Nothing like making lethal stuff pretty, right?


Embroidery of the lysing of anthrax
Embroidery of the lysing of anthrax

Horses Round 2

Last night I was, once again, at the stables for my riding lesson. And again, when my lesson was over I spent some time drawing the horses there.

This time, however, I chose to focus on the stationary horses, and looked at their faces in more detail. I am definitely stronger in that respect, but for my kelpie story I need to be capable drawing the bodies and faces of both moving and still horses.

The horses found my antics quite fascinating. Some expected me to be giving them a wee snack, and were sadly disappointed when all they got was pet on the nose. Others were much more interested, and managed to smear horse snot all over some of the pages.

The horse I ride, Ghost, was very pleased with the attention! Having stood on my foot (ouch) earlier in the evening, and then being sassy all through my lesson, he was being very pleasant! He even posed for me, although after a while he did attempt to eat my pen… I guess he was expecting a reward for being so handsome and well behaved (for once!).

More images from my session can be viewed on the sketchbooks page!


Pen sketch of Ghost
Pen sketch of Ghost

Horses In Motion

I have been passionate about horses and ponies pretty much since birth. My auntie was an avid rider, and when I was little I dreamed of being like her and competing on horses.

For many years, I couldn’t ride simply because it is an enormously expensive hobby, but in the last 6 months or so I have finally gotten into it again, after over 10 years out of the saddle.

Riding itself gives me such a buzz, and after my first lesson after Christmas this week I knew that for my next project (a picture book) I wanted it to be inspired by horses. I am, of course, fascinated by the myths and legends of Scotland, so I fell pretty quickly upon the idea of a story about a kelpie (a type of Scottish water demon).

Horses are notoriously difficult to portray well, so after I finished my lesson on Monday I watched the advanced riders in theirs. Drawing stationary horses I have no trouble with, but I struggle with horses in motion, so watching the advanced riders was a perfect opportunity to observe how the horses moved, and to see the horses’ expressions during the lesson. Next week I intend to do more life drawing of the horses, as well as possibly take some photos so I have a clearer record of their bodies than my speed sketches.

Images from Monday’s drawing session can be seen here:


Life drawing of horses in fineliner, all sketches drawn in approx. 30 seconds - 1 minute