All images on this blog site are copyrighted and may not be reproduced in any manner without the written permssion of the artist, Memory Roth

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Journey of a Painting - Getter the Horse

I don't remember the very first time I was on a horse, but I do remember getting bucked off of one when I was around 7 years old.  Later on, when I was 14 I tried riding a horse again, but I was so afraid and I'm sure she sensed that because she just walked into a ditch and wouldn't get out.  My cousin who was about 8 at the time, had to come and rescue me. Not to say I don't like horses, because I do, I just like to be in a standing position with my feet firmly planted on the ground when I am visiting one. 

So, you might be wondering why I chose to paint a horse and this one in particular.  I have never painted a horse before and I love animals in general and portraits in particular.  A while back I was painting with some friends and one of their favorite subjects to talk about was horses.  It was interesting to see the love of horses through their eyes.  One friend had recently painted a beautiful portrait of a close up of part of a horse's head, the eye and eyelash were something to behold.  The other friend was just starting to paint a painting with a horse in it.  I thought, why not, it might be a good time to try to paint a horse, at least I was in good company and if I totally messed it up, they would tell me.

The first time I laid eyes on Getter was in a photograph I saw on Facebook through a mutual friend of the owners.  I contacted them and ask permission to paint the photograph.  The photographer, Jessica Elenbaas has a way with a camera and it was a really good photo.  What captured my attention the most was the way Getter was looking at the camera.

I had the privilege of meeting Getter in person recently.  What a beautiful, gentle horse!  Maybe some day I will get brave enough to try to ride a horse again.  Until then, I will savour my memories of meeting Getter and perhaps try my hand at another horse painting.

As with most of my paintings, I start with a monochromatic.  This is done by blocking in values (dark, medium and light).  As it progresses, I continually fine tune everything until it is ready for colour.  Then I do the same with the colour.  I hope you enjoy the journey of this painting.  









The finished painting!

The Story of Getter
There is a saying that a pony is a childhood dream but a horse in an adulthood treasure. For Jessica Elenbaas both are true. Was it divine intervention or chance that brought Getter into Jessica’s life?

Getter was born in Republic, Washington, USA twenty-two years ago. When she was two years old she was brought to Lynden, Washington to train with Jessica’s riding instructor and neighbour Sally. Jessica met Getter when her parents took her to try out a horse named Jessie. While discussing the compatibility of Jessica and Jessie, Jessica, her mom, Sally, and Sally’s husband Roger, also a trainer, were standing in Getter’s stall. They came to the conclusion that Jessie was not a good match for Jessica. Roger was trying to describe the kind of horse that would be perfect for her when he looked over at Getter and said “She needs a horse like Getter”. A perfect match was made and Getter and Jessica bonded quickly.

Getter is a gentle trustworthy horse. When Jessica was a young teenager she would climb on top of Getter when Getter was lying down in the stall and Jessica would coax her into standing up and going for a ride. When Jessica calls her name Getter will come and she greets Jessica each morning with a half whinny when Jessica opens the barn door. Getter loves having her belly scratched right behind her front legs and will stick out her top lip and wiggle it on Jessica, much to the amusement of Jessica and her friends. And nobody keeps a secret better than Getter.

Getter and Jessica took many years of lessons, participated in 4-H and Appaloosa Breed shows, sometimes traveling to Ellensburg and Tacoma. Jessica’s parents were once offered $10,000.00 for Getter but refused. Getter was not for sale!!

Getter had two foals; Zippy who still lives with Getter, and one that was sold. Zippy is like her mother, sweet, great with kids and fun to be around. Jessica, married Ben and they have three children aged 6, 5 and 3. Getter loves adults and children alike, and puts her head down so the kids can pet and kiss her.

Ben, Jessica’s husband has many Getter stories but a favorite is the time a calf got loose and he and Getter went looking for it. Getter found the calf and chased it back to the barn. Problem was Ben was no longer in the saddle. How that happened he won’t say. It was a sight to see; a calf being chased by a rider less horse with the rider running behind.

Divine intervention or fate, we’ll never know, but everyone in the family agrees: Getter brings love and joy to all their lives. And what could be better than that?

Original Oil on 16" x 20" Gallery Wrapped Canvas
Original reference photo courtesy of Jessica Elenbaas


  I was so happy to meet Getter and her family while I was in Washington.  What a wonderful horse and what a wonderful family.
Check out Ben and Jessica Elenbaas' website Farmer Ben's at or join their fan page on facebook...Farmer Ben's.


Denise said...
I'm so glad you are letting us be a part of Getter's journey. It must be difficult to be patiently going through all these steps when you excited to see the finished project.
February 19, 2010 10:04 AM

John Barclay said...
I love this series. Very educational and instructive for us photographers.
The image reminds me of an image I did last year. Great job!

April 3, 2010 3:01 PM

Anonymous said...
it's truly awesome, thanks.
- Norman



John Barclay said...

I love this painting. It is just stunning. How I'd love to be an artist with your skill, but alas I am just a photographer.... :)

Denise said...

Oh, Memory,a wonderful story and beautiful painting. I''m sure Getter's family members are thrilled.

Alexis said...

Unbelievable. You are so amzingly talented!!!!

warren said...

Absolutely amazing, Memory. As good as any Fred Stone I've seen or own. You have been blessed with a remarkable talent. Cathy