Some time ago, whilst driving along a back lane to visit friends in the New Forest, we passed a grassy area by a stream.
I thought this would be a perfect spot to paint and I returned with my equipment for sketching a few days later. It was a lovely sunny afternoon, Mark went off for a walk, and I sat at my easel pastel painting.

I loved the light and shade created by the overhanging trees, and the lovely colours in the brackish steam. A sound nearby alerted me to a new prescence and looking up I saw a beautiful white pony walking down to the crossing point in the stream to drink. As I was sitting still, the pony ignored my prescence, and I was able to take some lovely photos, before he/she moved off again.

It was a really lovely moment! I had been wanting to find the special places in the Forest, and the stream had seemed to be it, but now there was another kind of magic that happens when we sit still and become part of our surroundings. This lovely visitor inspired my first two horse paintings and so began the summer’s inspiration!

Returning to this spot again a few days later I arrived in the morning instead. The ponies are creatures of routine, so as I sat sketching again, interested in the difference between the morning to afternoon light of the same location, a group of 3 chestnut ponies came by. Once again, after a swift look at me, they continued with their wandering grazing.

These 3 inspired the series of 3 dark horses against the dark hedge, allowing me to explore the lights, darks and negative spaces. I loved the way the chestnut reds of their coats shone in the sunlight.

Since these two encounters I have taken hundreds of photos of the New Forest ponies, but none capture the joy of just sitting and allowing the magic to come to me.