Welcome! It’s great to have you visiting my website.

As you view the artwork you’ll notice that most of it is done in graphite pencil. Those who know me are not surprised at this, having seen my work over the years at art fairs and State fairs in Maine and in juried exhibitions in various parts of New England, in California and in Georgia.

Now and then, by invitation, I have also exhibited work at equine events, usually held at boarding and training barns. That’s always a lot of fun, with a variety of horses to watch and photograph, and spectators to talk with as they walk over to take a look at the exhibit during breaks in the action. Owners and riders are caught up in the events of the day, as they must be. Sometimes they have a chance to come by afterward and visit for a minute.

I love taking photos to use later as reference. With animals, there’s no telling what they’ll do from moment to moment. They don’t stand still for long, so it’s good to plan on lots of shots. The most unexpected and fleeting of expressions, captured, can prove to be the making of a portrait.

Fryeburg Fair, the 8-day fair held in Fryeburg, Maine, each year, has proved to be an excellent source of material. With all of the livestock buildings and the large variety of animals ranging from many types of horses and cattle, sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas, pigs and all sorts of domestic birds --- yes, big old pigs have wonderful faces. Chickens are good portrait candidates too! Sure. Even with the artwork booth, Space #7 in the Craft Center, because I have help, there is time to get out with the camera and find good material!

Really --- just about any drawing I do turns into a portrait, whether it’s a commissioned piece or something just for me, to be shown in the coming season. This is because working with detail and shading is wonderful, and even though I might consciously try to work a bit more loosely, all the details in the makeup of the subject, just beg --- no, they shout --- to be put onto the paper. So, it is what it is, and I do what I do, and there we are.

Potential clients sometimes wonder what sort of photo they should provide. Will one be enough? What if some feature of the animal doesn’t show well in the photo? Do not worry. Take as many photos as necessary. If I am the one doing the photography for this, I will take plenty so that, when we get together and decide which to use, the finished work will be satisfactory.

A photo shoot can take on a life of its own. I think of the day at a lovely boarding and training facility in Massachusetts, when I was scheduled to shoot upward of twelve subjects. Each of the barn workers chose their favorite horse. One by one, they brought them into the indoor arena where a Jumping Boot Camp was going on at one end. It speaks well for the sense of security of every single horse who posed for me that regardless of the activity going on quite close behind them, each glossy horse in its beautiful bridle stood quietly and yet alert, letting itself be known --- I didn’t take more than three shots of each, and sometimes fewer. I knew I was getting good expressions and details. Not a single horse showed so much as a hint of the white of an eye. If any or all had required ten or more shots I would have taken them. Horses don’t lie. Their sense of confidence came from the fine care each one receives, and their knowledge that their people care.

Then there was the day, at another barn, where the beautiful horse was rather bored, not standing right up there and being impressive. Optimistically I took shot after shot, though it was obvious that none were usable. Because we never know --- something great can happen without notice --- we keep on. So lift the camera yet again. Sight in. Compose the shot and --- up comes the head, ears pricked, and what sudden, great life there is in his eye! Oh, get that shot! “There! I know that’s going to work! How did that HAPPEN?” A lady standing behind me says, “I tossed this up in the air.” I turn around. In her hand is a green-bristled grooming brush. That portrait turned out so well! What life there was in his face! Not overdone; certainly enough to make him sparkle.

When people say, “Well, how would it turn out?”, I tell them that the finished portrait needs to remind them of how they feel on the best days, at the best times, when with their animal. I’m serious. Every time they look at the piece, it should bring this feeling back. I guarantee satisfaction. Well, the first experience I mentioned above, happened at least six years ago. The second one was much longer ago than that. People have mentioned them to me as if they happened yesterday, so I think this idea is true.

The eyes are so important, bringing life to the face. The more I learn about each client’s animal, the more its personality will show through --- and not only will the eyes show energy, but the surrounding lines, tiny as they may be, do so much to bring out the personality of that animal. So will the position of the ears.

It truly is fun to tell stories with the pencil, bringing out the qualities that identify a much-loved animal. The viewing of such a portrait is like a delicate chain, bringing back not only the most memorable events, but the bits and pieces that many times might otherwise be lost.

About Copyrights

I take my copyrights very seriously. In no way is the artwork on this site to be copied in any form, downloaded, or e-mailed for any type of use, without obtaining permission from me. I thank you in advance for your consideration.

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At no time will information about visitors or customers to this site be passed on to any other party. There is no selling to mailing lists, no sharing of e-mail addresses, ever, without express permission.

Pat Wooldridge can be reached at:
103 King Street
Saco, ME 04072
(207) 284-7215