As many of you know I have written several manuscripts for children’s picture books. Illustrating is also one of my passions so they go hand in hand.

Having ridden horses for a large part of my life I have learned about the benefits they offer people with disabilities. As a young rider I watched a friend with Cerebral Palsy  become the state champion. She and her big red horse were a perfect team with lots of blue ribbons and trophies.

More recently I volunteered at an equine therapy facility in Decatur, GA. I watched many people delight in the movement and connection with these big hairy beasts.

I have been working for several years on a picture book about the experience.

You may remember this illustration that won a first place in our local SCBWI competition.

pj tried and tried
P.J. Tried and Tried

This is exactly the way I would feel going into the field to catch a horse on the weekend mornings. A little love, a little treat, and a whole of lot of equine energy running around me. It was pure delight and a little terror.

My manuscript is mixing those feelings and some extra sensations to share the experience of being with these big hairy things.



Painting at Booth Western Art Museum

I was so honored to be invited to paint at the Booth Western Art Museum last Friday. A fund raiser for the Young Philanthropists organization was  held in the evening. Four artists were creating pieces while music played. We had about an hour and a quarter to finish our work. First we wandered this amazing museum, a jewel box of western art set in Cartersville, GA. The bronzes, the paintings, and the kindest, brightest group of people you would ever want to meet were all there.

I arrived with an easel, supplies and a large sheet of watercolor paper painted with a gray blue wash. The party begins with music playing and attendees mingling and enjoying themselves. I start to sketch.

and I begin....
and I begin….

Pencil on acrylic wash to get a sense of where I am going with this piece.

As the evening goes so does the painting.
As the evening goes so does the painting.

The paint goes on as the cowboy, horse, barn, fence, and trees begin to appear.

Adding some green grass.
Adding some green grass.

The grass, highlights, a few sparks of color to add some zip are the last things to add.

Finished art, Come with Me.
Finished art, Come with Me.

I was so happy to see my friend Kitty Klein at the event. She brought her husband, John and friend, Lee Ann.

Beth with Kitty Klein.
Beth with Kitty Klein.

As the artists finished their paintings cowboy hats were set out for raffle tickets. Party goers could put their tickets in the hats at each artist’s station.

The climactic moment arrived, with painting in hand I went to the stage to explain my painting. Both of my grandfathers had had horses. One was an actual cowboy in west Texas while the other was part of a mounted posse in Arizona. The latter actually passed away while riding his beloved Palomino. Horses have been a favorite part of my life as well.

The raffle ticket was drawn and the winner was the lovely Elizabeth.

Elizabeth and her new painting.
Elizabeth and her new painting.

What a pleasure to see my painting go to somebody who was so excited and pleased to have it.

Thank you so much to this wonderful organization for including me in this magic evening.