Category Archives: equine painting

The Old Trysting Tree II

This painting, for which my daughter, Iphigeneia and her Morgan mare, Pelee, served as models, was inspired in part by a vintage print and in part by Mary Stewart’s novel, The Ivy Tree. For those of you who have never been addicted to Mary Stewart’s literate and evocative — think Daphne du Maurier — suspense stories, The Ivy Tree tells the story of a young woman impersonating someone she resembles, Annabelle, who is presumed dead. Annabelle abandoned her Yorkshire home eight years previously, after falling traumatically in love with a married neighbor. The Ivy Tree was indeed a trysting tree, but in this case not only a place to meet, but more importantly, to leave messages.

Annabelle was a superlative horsewoman; our heroine refuses to mount one. Annabelle was in love with Adam; our heroine tells him that it’s over and has been since she was eighteen. There is a Roman ruin; there is an inheritance; there is danger; there is a desperate ride in a storm and there is the question of whether our heroine is really the disappeared Annabelle after all.

The Old Trysting Tree II, oil on canvas, 12×12, $200.00 USD

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The Old Trysting Tree I

The Old Trysting Tree I

The Old Trysting Tree I

It’s spring, the beginning of a long riding season!

I’ve been working again on the idea of an out-of-the-way trysting place, where lovers met on horseback or on foot and in secret. I was inspired by a print I bought in an antique store I was passing in Minnesota — it must have been on a calendar or the illustration for a literary magazine — and bought because I loved the idea.

This painting is my first effort, perhaps I should say “installment”. The model for the girl is my daughter’s friend, Katie, on her horse, Dillon. (For Portrait of Katie, see Polishing Her Boots in my Gallery at

This past weekend I tried another pose, with my daughter, Iphigeneia, on her horse, Pelee. I imagine her finding the place and touching it’s barely discernible initials carved into the bark of an old oak. I’ll post it as soon as I’m finished. In the meantime, I’m still working on the Bust of the Girl on the Red Chair.

Here’s a lyric of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s:

The Betrothal

Oh, come, my lad, or go, my lad,
And love me if you like.
I shall not hear the door shut
Nor the knocker strike.

Oh, bring me gifts or beg me gifts,
And wed me if you will.
I’d make a man a good wife,
Sensible and still.

And why should I be cold, my lad,
And why should you repine,
Because I love a dark head
That never will be mine?

I might as well be easing you
As lie alone in bed
And waste the night in wanting
A cruel dark head.

You might as well be calling yours
What never will be his,
And one of be happy.
There’s few enough as is.

The Old Trysting Tree I, 8×10 on canvas, $160.00 USD

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