I actually had some trouble with this project. I was a huge fan of Ruffian as a kid. I followed her career and kept a scrapbook of her. This is the first time since then that I have tried to do a picture of her. I hadn’t looked at pictures of her in years, and when I started going through them, I was weeping! It was like being a kid all over again.
She was a big, colorful character, larger than life. From a distance the painting looks like a black horse, but up close you will see a myriad of colors. I wanted the background colors to look pink, because she was a girl, but if you look closely, you will see that they are not really pink. I decided to paint her in the act of running, because that is how she seemed to thrive. She wanted to keep going even after she broke her leg. What an incredible spirit she was! I wonder now if she is the reason my first horse was a dark bay mare.