Rachael Herman

Tag: Animals

Unique (2013), R.Herman

'Unique' (2013) R. Herman, oil on  canvas, 30 x 50 cm,

Unique, Rachael Herman (2013), oil on canvas, 30 x 50cm

Considering I painted this piece way back in October, this post is a little late off the mark, but here it is anyway…

This painting depicts a 16.1 Dark Bay Dutch Warmblood (or ‘quite big dark brown horse’ to those of us who are equinely challenged) and was a (slightly belated) present for the horse’s previous owner, Cat. Unfortunately the lovely horse, Unique, had to be sold, so the painting was intended to be a sort of commemorative piece. A pretty horse, I’m sure you’ll agree!



At Rest (06/2012), R.Herman

At Rest, Rachael Herman (2012), oil on canvas, 500 mm x 500 mm

At first glance, one could perhaps be duped into thinking that these here limbs are just a run-of-the-mill pair of horse legs, and yes, to a great extent, they are. However, what struck me as unique (the horse is in fact called ‘Unique’. See what I did there…) about these particular equine appendages is the stance in which they are positioned – a rather dainty ‘quatrieme devant’ in fact – so much so I simply had to recapture the moment in oils.

A Cheeky Double Act

Here is a sickeningly adorable photograph of two shetland ponies just chilling out. I like the sort of nonchalant ’emo’ pose of our friend on the right, and if we follow his gaze we come across the comical presence of the young slack-jawed critter to the left. The hopelessly romantic 9 year-old part of me hopes that they are the best of friends.

Weston (05/2012), R.Herman

Weston Rachael Herman (2012), oil on canvas, 800 mm x 700 mm

Please welcome my latest piece that I have been beavering away at for these past few weeks. Confined to my little bedroom, amidst the fumes of turpentine and frustration, I am happy to say that I have finally finished this study of Cat’s fabulous horse, Unique. It does appear to be devoid of a rider (soz Cat), as I wanted to portray the beautiful creature trotting about her meadow freely, as nature intended, or something like that. (Basically, I acted out of cowardice, as I was too scared to paint not only a horse, but a person atop the horse, as painting a horsey alone is a mighty challenge in itself!)

As far as the technical aspects of the piece are concerned, I was going for a more impressionistic approach – you know, all Monet and such. A prime example of this is demonstrated by the trees in the left of the scene, which accounts for there being less focus on form and more on colour and the interplay of light. This is a style I am thus far unfamiliar with in my own practise, hence why it probably looks terrible, but hey, I’ll put that one down to experience I guess… As far as the horse is concerned, I tackled that in my usual ‘blend the colours like there’s no tomorow’ approach – a failsafe when faced with one of those difficult equine shapes.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.


Unique (and Cat), (05/05/2012)

A bit of equine action on a fresh May afternoon, courtesy of Cat and her horse, Unique. 🙂

I hope to one day attempt some sort of painted study of Unique, although I, having not so much as even sketched a horse before, shall see how that one goes…


Yes, we all know that pet photography is utterly lame and frankly offensive to what one would call art. And yes, I realise that I have just posted a photograph of my cat. What. A. Loser. But seriously, even the most enthusiastic of animal-photo-haters would have to admit that she looks pretty damn adorable here perched on top of the porch. I simply could not keep this cuteness to myself any longer. I had to share it with the world. Forgive me.

Watership Down, Richard Adams

So then, let’s get started shall we?

My first encounter with the Watership Down story was, rather unfortunately, courtesy of Martin Rosen, whose particularly disturbing film rendition lured one and all into a deep false sense of security with thoughts of fluffy white rabbit tales – and indeed tails – before unleashing lagomorphic insanity upon unwitting and innocent children, myself included. To this day the haunting notes of ‘Bright Eyes’ chill me to the very bone – something I don’t think I can truly forgive Mr. Garfunkel for. Not to mention those empty, staring eyes and gnashing teeth (of the rabbits, not Art), which are enough to place the humble bunny firmly at number one in Steve Backshall’s ‘Deadly 60’.

Anyway, I digress. The book is what needs to be praised and not the film dismantled. First things first: location, location, location. We initially find ourselves delicately dropped into the heart of the gloriously idyllic English countryside – you can almost breathe the fresh, evening air – next to our main protagonist, a rabbit named Hazel. Adams has no trouble at all in evoking feelings of joy and nostalgia with his intricate descriptions of the wildflowers in the hazy twilight – those hours in which one’s senses are heightened. Throughout the novel, one has an notion of being not just an onlooker but actually a part of the environment, a necessity if we are to buy into this world.

Now let us turn to the players themselves. An interesting observation I have made during my reading career – with regards to my own affinity for fictional characters – is that instead of becoming immersed in the campaign of the hero as intended by the author, I tend to develop an adverse penchant for the more troubled soul. I have even been known to share in the tyrannical glee of the main antagonist as he/she wreaks havoc on his/her victims. How naughty. Anyway, back to those troubled ones with prime example being the dark and fitful Fiver, who is perhaps my favourite character. His blatant struggle with that rare form of rabbit – schizophrenia is admirable, bless him, although there are moments when his melodramatic moaning about blood and nightmares does prove to be more than a little tiresome. Why won’t Hazel just listen for once so that all can have a slight reprise from the all rabbiting-on…?

Which brings me nicely to my first real point of contention: Rabbit tales – are they necessary? Could not Adams merely have popped a little sign on a cowslip next to the entrance of the warren, marked FIB (fable in progress), allowing for us to opt out of consuming these scraps of narrative doled out by dear Dandelion and to instead continue with digesting the juicy meat of the real story? No? Oh. I suppose that Dandelion had to have some sort of quality other than ‘he runs fast’. But seriously, I do believe that the omission of these rather drawn-out tales would do wonders for the pace of the main story.

To end this waffle I shall finalise matters by saying that, all in all, I found this book to be a wonderful and absorbing read with veins of melancholic beauty running throughout this enjoyable stay in the countryside; spanning the breadth of the valley, following the course of the river and delving deep down into the temporary abode of the warren. The delightful world of rabbit relations envelops the reader entirely, causing an insatiable desire to speak Lapine; Silflay in the moonlight with good friends and whisper about the latest exploits of the merciless General Woundwart, who is enough to drive anyone Tharn…