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  • Writer's pictureJenna Gustafson

Ghost Stampede

MY 200TH PAINTING IS COMPLETE! As a milestone piece, I wanted this painting to be extra special, and I'm not sure if there has ever been so much ME in one painting!

Here's why:

1) These magnificent horses are from the Mahlstedt Ranch in Eastern Montana, not too far from where I grew up! The second I saw Tana Canen's shot with the perfect gallop, expansive prairie and distant badlands that is so quintessentially Big Sky Country, I knew I had to paint it. I just feel such a connection to this space. It's home!

2) Little known fact about me: As a child, I was hopelessly obsessed with horses. I know, I know, "not another girl and her horse love story" you are thinking. But one day around age five, I went to go feed the horses some grass in the pasture next to my house and accidentally got bit. From then on, I have had intense allergies, where just looking at a horse will practically give me hives lol! Every spring I test my theory that I will eventually outgrow my allergies to no avail. So perhaps it has something to do with the human nature of always wanting what we absolutely cannot have, but my utter fascination with these strong, elegant, and intelligent creatures is still going strong to this day!

3) Before painting, I was endlessly drawing with charcoal and pencil, and learned to explore the world by breaking it up into highlights, shadows, and shapes. To replicate this monochromatic experience, I chose the most elegant grey known to man: Payne's Grey. It's amazing how much range you can get out of a singular pigment!

4) Finally, my family and I suffered the death of both of my remaining grandparents last year, and I have my grandmother to thank for this odd and astonishing artistic talent! One of my favorite pieces by Grandma Kate hangs in the basement of my childhood home, and I spent my whole life admiring her haunting rendition of these horses. So as a nod to her and my ever deep roots, I have placed wolves in the shadows of my horses. Can you spot them?

Overall, this painting means so much to me- from the grey scale to the subject matter to the wide open space and freeness- it's truly a part of me. <3

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