The Thinking Woman's Almanac 
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Annie's Life Around Horses
Annie's NYC Horses
News & Upcoming Events
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Horses Live and in Reproduction

From Annie Shaver-Crandell's Studio 
November 2013

Artist's Pasturage: The Grace of Green 

Annie's Background on her love of horses  


My love of horses began early and remains a bit of a mystery, since I grew up in Oberlin, Ohio, in an ordinary house on a corner, with no horses in sight, at least in this lifetime, and certainly without the means to acquire or maintain a horse. There was a war on, with rationing of food and fuel; my father was in charge of the town scrap metal drive. My family was not suffering in any way, but, understandably, no one was buying crayons for a small child.  I inherited my big brother's coffee can of crayons, drew horses constantly, and, thoughtful girl that I apparently was, gave them green fields to live in. Of necessity, I became adept at mixing colors a la Monet. I was very grateful to my mother when, after the war ended, she took me downtown for a new box of crayons. I wore the green one down to half the length of the others with the speed of light. 


The text of this fabric collage, Artist's Pasturage: The Grace of Green, reads:      When I was four, I had no more green crayons, having fed every blade of grass to horses.  At seven, I thought kelly green the best color in the world. I still need the grace of green.   


As it happens, my favorite color now is something else -- deep ultramarine blue -- but I tend to regard the historical obsession with green as a byproduct of the obsession with the animals themselves.


I was lucky enough to be have been able to learn to care for, ride, respect and not fear horses at a relatively early age. I like the smell of horses, and even their manure is a friendly aroma for me.  I have ridden as an adult but never had a horse of my own. And so horses remain for me a love-from-a-distance, a bit like being enchanted with someone else's partner -- great company, but not to bring home.  



Annie's Life Around Horses 


In my current life, I am mainly in Manhattan and travel to Long Island on weekends, soaking up landscapes and the creatures in them. Sometimes I've been farther afield, as proved by the nearly finished painting of eight teenage Chincoteague fillies photographed last May in Virginia. 

Detail of unfinished Chincoteague fillies


Closer to home, I like to follow the Smithtown Hunt, the oldest and only remaining hunt club on Long Island, which encourages spectators; we're called hilltoppers, and follow the hunt on foot and by car to locations in open land and woods from which we can see the field of hounds and riders [ ].  Though there are still plenty of foxes on Long Island, these are drag hunts; the hounds follow a scent laid by a pink-coated "fox" carrying a spray can of stinky fox-urine scent to lay a trail through fields and woods.  At the end of the ride, the hounds are fed and returned to their kennel to rest.  Members of fox-hunts are generally allied with the cause of preservation of open land.  They like horses and dogs, and the point is a rapid ride in cool weather and the company of fellow riders and the noisy pack of foxhounds.


Fillies source photo is in my June 2013 newsletter.


This month's video is a brilliant evocation by Julianna Fricchione of this year's Opening Day of the Smithtown Hunt, held on the grounds of the SUNY Old Westbury campus in Nassau County several weeks ago.  What she has captured is not only the pageantry of the spectacle and excitement of the hounds, the horses, and riders as they enjoy a good run, but also aspects of how my creative process is stimulated by the events and sights of the hunt.  This is another painting derived from previous hunts.

Hunters on a Rise, oil 

Smithtown Hunt, Opening Day 2013. An Artist's View
Smithtown Hunt, Opening Day 2013. An Artist's View

This past weekend Daniel and I attended a hunter-pace gathering at Asharoken, near Northport. This is an event in which riders compete in teams over a course of jumps and varied terrain, attempting to cover the course accurately in the shortest time. No hounds, just horses and riders. The site, adjoining Long Island Sound, is stunning; I'm looking forward to creating another batch of paintings. 

Hunter-Pace event
at Asharoken 




Carousel Horse. monotype. 5x7". 2013. 1/2.



Annie's Horses in New York City 


In the city, I've been having fun with other horses real and imagined. Jane's Carousel, in Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO, is a beautifully restored and maintained early 20th-century merry-go-round with exquisitely carved and painted horses that miraculously survived 2012's Hurricane Sandy. I've begun paintings and monotypes, one of which appears in this newsletter. 

As a landscape painter I have made an inadvertent specialty of depicting endangered locations, and I fear that the carriage horses of Central Park may join this category, if current political factions have their way. Every horse I have seen working in the park appears to be properly shod, well fed and watered, groomed, given ample opportunity to rest, and generally well looked after. The weather conditions in which the horses may work are strictly regulated, and a special unit of the NYPD oversees operation of the carriages.  I have never seen Manhattan carriage drivers working a lame horse or abusing one in any way -- why would they do anything to damage their sources of livelihood?. The concept of a working animal should not be so foreign to city-dwellers; after all, we have police horses and dogs [see My Best Friend, the acrylic of a Malinois and handler in the earlier June 2013 newsletter], guide and therapy dogs.  I'm hoping common sense prevails with respect to preserving this delightful aspect of a visitors' New York experience.


With this in mind, I'm looking forward to painting from my recent photos of these very New York subjects in the company of St-Gaudens' beautiful -- and freshly gilded -- equestrian statue of General William Tecumseh Sherman accompanied by a personification of Victory. I realize he is no hero to many southerners, for good reason, but it is a lovely sculpture, in the long tradition of equestrian monuments of the ancient Romans and subsequent European victors, nobility and royalty.   

General Sherman


Other questions about horse painting strategies?  Please feel free to write me at


News and Upcoming Events

   Poxono Landing: Summer Sunsets acrylic
old at auction at the Salmagundi Club
on November 1.
Blue Roofs, watercolor
Sold at auction November 15 
Annual ThumbBox Exhibition,
Salmagundi Club of New York, through January 3, 2014

COMMISSIONS I am still available for commissions before the holidays, but please contact me soon for timely deliveries. 


LI plein aire august

Win a Free Watercolor Lesson

Like me on facebook and twitter the word "watercolor" to me and your name will be entered for a chance to win a free watercolor lesson at my Bond Street studio!

Annie's work may be seen at  


Space is currently available in small group painting classes offered at the Bond Street studio.  Monday 2:30-5:30, Wednesday 3:00-6:00, Thursday 10 am-1:00 pm.  Call or email me for details about these and private lessons.   

Call Annie for a personal commission
Red Grazing, acrylic


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2013 Annie Shaver-Crandell