Behind the Paint: ROSES IN MAY and KITTEN’S JOY

Kitten's Joy

Behind the Paint: ROSES IN MAY and KITTEN’S JOY

 

 

Roses In May
Roses In May

One of the great comedies of all time is “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”, which could be a great line for the travels in painting Roses In May. Our story begins more than 10 years ago. Before I painted Roses In May winning the Dubai World Cup, I had painted him in the post parade for the 2004 Breeders’ Cup. It was a pretty good painting and I was asked to a put a piece in a show in Louisville during the 2005 Kentucky Derby. So, the painting of Roses In May in the post parade was the one I entered.

 

 

 

The Friday before the derby as the crowds filled the restaurants in the Louisville area, it just so happened that I ended up sitting next to Ken Ramsey as we waited for our tables. Striking up a conversation with Ken is like falling off a log and in no time we were talking horses. I told him about the painting of Roses In May in the show and he quickly mentioned he had seen it and liked it. In a few more minutes we had a gentleman’s agreement that he would buy it. I assured him it would be there when he went in the next morning . . . When I asked the people running the show, they informed me that one of Mr. Ramsey’s family members had bought it; so I had to keep it a secret. Well, I few months passed and I never heard from the Ramseys, so I finally gave into curiosity and called; only to learn that Mr. Ramsey was never given the painting and had gone by the show again to buy it, but was told it was sold. I was now a “liar” and obviously not a gentleman! In the world where an artist struggles to sell their art, I had sold mine twice and that one piece was the only original sold at the show! I to this day have never learned who bought the painting and it maybe the only original oil painting I have done that I do not know where it is and they don’t put missing artwork on the side of milk cartons.

 

Roses in May
Roses in May

Convincing Ken Ramsey that I was a man of my word was not going to be easy, but persistence and ten years can move mountains. It just wasn’t the direct route . . . as luck and the universe would have it, I was commissioned by Danzel Brendemuehl to paint Roses In May. She had owned him as a yearling. Even this had it’s turns and adventures. I met Mr. Okada whose Big Red Farm in Japan stands Roses In May while I was working on the painting live and he wanted to see the finished painting of Roses In May. So, I emailed him a photo and was very quickly asked if he could buy it. “No, this was a commission; painted for someone else.” After he asked again, I said I would talk with Danzel. She was happy to allow Mr. Okada to buy the original; they offered her to come visit their farm and I gave Danzel a print of the painting. Everybody was happy . . . the irony was not lost on me as I thought, “maybe Ken Ramsey is right, I’m a scoundrel!”
For those of you keeping track at home, I have now painted Roses In May twice and sold the paintings four times! And Ken Ramsey still had neither of them. Over time either Ken forgot that I was a liar, or he started to let it slide . . . trust me, Ken Ramsey is a one of the smartest people you’ll meet: I’m pretty sure he never forgets!

 

Kitten's Joy
Kitten’s Joy

Almost two years ago the thought of doing the book, “A Brush With Greatness” started to come together. I had so many wonderful horses that I’ve painted that were the foundation to the book, but there were some horses that just needed to be in the group. I told Ken about the book and asked if we could use Kitten’s Joy and count on him for a quote for the book on both Kitten’s Joy and Roses In May. He was the perfect gentleman and when I told him that I’d be making a donation to Old Friends with 10% of the proceeds of the Kitten’s Joy painting – finally, I had removed that label of “liar” from my name!

 

 

Ramsey Farms
Ramsey Farms
Old Friends Farm
Old Friends Farm

The Ramsey family has been great to the sport and I wish them continued success and many more litters of fast kittens.

 

 

 

Kitten’s Joy Unframed Giclee Print


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Kitten’s Joy Framed Giclee Print


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A Brush with Greatness (Hardcover)


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