Saturday, 23 December 2017

Kauto Star

In my normal world (or should that read world that's normal to me?) I work solely on commission, and occasionally for a specific charitable occasion. I've only ever portrayed one horse (that wasn't one of my own) solely for my own pleasure, and that was Sadlers Wells. I did ultimately sell it, artists need to eat.

Doing Kauto? It's very different, because I needed to do it. He has as yet no destination, and I have no idea what I'm want to do with him.

It's taken me a very, very long time to do this horse, as, until now, I've been unable to rein in my overwhelming emotions at his untimely and unnecessary demise, and that wasn't the feel I wanted to put out there, however much that rage still smoulders. I only watched him racing, I didn't 'know' him, in the flesh, but he came off the racecourse and into my heart. I know I'm not alone, I know that's how so many people feel watching a horse, like him, horses that light up the turf, that transcend the great, that make our hearts soar and our emotions raw. 

I didn't want to jump on the bandwagon churning out his image to cash in after he died, I didn't even know what I wanted to do, so I made a stab at the portrait a year or so ago, but it still didn't feel right. Until now. 

I feel I have to make some kind of statement with the portrait, hence I've included a small symbolic vignette on the bottom right that appeases me enough, without taking away from what is really important, this horse.

Kauto Star was the best horse I've ever seen in National Hunt racing. He was untouchable on his day, and there were plenty of those. He was thrilling and sometimes terrifying. He won £3,775,883. He won the Betfair million pound bonus for winning the Holy Trinity of the Betfair Chase, the King George and the Gold Cup in the same season. I'm pretty sure Betfair thought it would never be achieved. Ouch. 

Many thanks to Jimmy Clark for allowing me to work from his photo of Kauto after winning at Ascot in 2008.

I hope I've done him justice. He was King.