Fast forward to the year 1999—Living and working on a beef ranch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia was where I fell in love with the art of photography, all because of a little pink flower called Claytonia Virginica or Spring Beauty that covered the forest floor. Standing in the forest meadow, mesmerized by what I saw, I had to be able to take that scene back home to show family and friends. Asking my boss if he had a camera, he graciously handed me a Pentax K1000 and the rest is history as they say. (I still have that camera.)
Another leap forward in years to October 2014. My husband, the brainchild in our relationship, suggested I gather several years of equine photographs and present an exhibit called Celebrate the Year of the Horse, the same year as the Chinese year of the horse. It was also his idea to hold this exhibit at our neighbor’s winery in their historic hip roof barn, that had a beautiful walk in hayloft. It was a smashing success, a ton of fun, but loads of work.
This larger than life size banner of Winter Rumble greeted those who attended the Celebrate exhibit. It proudly graced the outside walls of that old barn. Those are our five fat quarter horses who are Ms. Pinnacles buddies here on our farm.
My plan for the following year was to refocus my work on still life and conceptual ideas, BUT the very last day of the Celebrate exhibit sitting in the hay loft of the old barn, surrounded by her old, wise bones, a dear friend and I were watching the slideshow of the Celebrate images I had set to music. My husband had built a cinema size projection screen and scrolling across the screen was a quote I had used, reading along — three words flew out at me!
Those three words grabbed me by the heart, literally, no really — I was shaking, sweaty, heart palpitations and teary eyed — it was an epiphany, a true epiphany and I grabbed my friends arm, looked at her and said, “OMG! I know what I am supposed to do.” At that moment in time, right then and there I knew what my future artistic focus was NOT going to be, not still life, not conceptual ideas, but what it WAS going to be! My lens was going to focus on wild horses for as long as I could physically chase the prairies, the mountains, the badlands, and the deserts to capture their stories and present a new body of work inspired by those three words — Fly Without Wings! But wait, why wild horses?
Back space now to the year 2006. In May of 2006 I had a trip planned with a good friend and we were going to mountain bike the Maah Daah Hey trail in Medora, ND — gateway to Theodore Roosevelt National Park AND the 100 miles, at that time, Maah Daah Hey trail.
We arrived the end of May and so did the rain. Lots of rain. Those of you familiar with bentonite understand there was not a chance in ‘heck’ that we would be mountain biking on that remote, rugged trail, so what did we do instead? We road our mountain bikes on the paved loop road in the park. What did we see? Yep, wild horses!
This concludes part II, of the journey to Blaze. You are invited back tomorrow morning to a longer portion and conclusion of how ‘life choices’ led me to Blaze and ultimately to each of you, who I am eternally grateful for!
Have an amazing day in your part of the world! ~Deb