There are a few challenges in filming a horse creating a painting. First: you need good lighting. Second: a warm environment would be nice. Third: additional helpers to work the camera and assist with the art supplies. Fourth: a horse that would like to paint at the same time that we’re filming!

Sue (art supplies), Kristy (camera woman), Zelador (sort of interested horse) and I checked out the barn for lighting. Although it was an extremely bright day the barn was too dark. Bummer. The barn is where we paint. Now we needed to find a brighter place with the knowledge that the horse had never painted in that location. For brightness we ruled out painting in a paddock. The lovely, brilliant day was without wind, but the temperature was hovering around -5C. Too cold for fingers to hold brushes, open paints and work the camera. Probably pretty annoying for the horse trying to hold a brush in its mouth.

Zelador and his entourage headed to the arena. Just before Christmas there was a heat wave (no wind and 1C). Bill and Ron, with a little help from me, took out the old, thick, yellowish “windows” on the south side of the arena and put in clear ones. The new windows let in tons of light. Now our first criteria for creating a video was met. Our quest for a warm environment also stopped at the arena. The thermometer on the north wall (out of the blazing sunlight) read -2C. Wow! Not bad for February 10!

The final element, “a horse that would like to paint”, will always be a challenge. What a horse does beautifully in his stall with no audience is one thing, what he does in a new location with adoring fans is quite another.

The one BIG thing we had going for us is the pedestal. Zelador is comfortable up there and is happy to stand quietly at liberty for long periods of time. I can’t quite picture him standing motionless on the arena floor.

The filming went well BECAUSE upon entering the arena we turned Zelador loose and let him roll luxuriously. If we hadn’t, he would have been itching to leave us, not focusing on the task at hand, become totally annoying, etc., etc., so he could roll.

We used two drawing tools: a paint brush and a soft dog toy. I have about 15 different brushes and materials that we’ve used in our horse paintings. Although Zelador did hold each item, he didn’t hold them for long. Sniff.

Zelador was keen and interested throughout the filming. The people met some challenges/discomforts. Sue’s hands were a bright red almost instantly (bitter cold, they were!!!). Kristy totally gave up on zooming in and out for great shots because her fingers weren’t all that supple. I ran out of treats and my clothes have specks of paint here and there which allows the astute observer to discern which colours were used.

Check out the video below.