The Injured Jockeys Fund has worked with renowned equine artist Caroline Cook to produce this year’s Christmas card. The result is Snowy Beach, a delightful scene of horses galloping alongside icy waters.
The Injured Jockeys Fund caught up with the artist to find out how she brought this wonderful scene to life and what the inspiration was for this year’s design.
The Christmas card has a fantastic history and is very much part of the history of the Injured Jockeys Fund. It is also a key part of the fundraising efforts and to date has helped raise in excess of £4-million to support the work that the Injured Jockeys Fund does.
You can see 50 years of the Injured Jockeys Fund in this book, authored by Sean Magee, which was published as part of the celebrations of the milestone of the IJF. You can purchase a copy here.
IJF: How did you get involved with this year’s Christmas card and what was the inspiration?
Caroline Cook: The IJF contacted me in the Spring regarding painting the card for this year. We discussed some ideas and used a photo of trainer Christian Williams’ string as a first reference.
I then found this video on his Twitter which was the inspiration for the final painting.
Racing fans who follow Christian Williams on Twitter will know that the trainer often shares magic photos and videos of his string out exercising at his base in Ogmore-by-the-Sea in Wales.
Caroline went on to explain that she found two further reference images of horses galloping on the beach and from there the idea was borne and from there she got to work.
Caroline talked us through the process.
“First I sketched the painting and blocked in the structure. Then I started to add the sky and sand, building the painting. I work in acrylics, using thin glazes of transparent paint.
“I gradually build the painting adding thin layers to add depth and detail.
“The painting is now nearing completion. The final details are added which gives the painting added depth. I really enjoyed painting it and the challenge of getting the light and reflections.”
IJF: How long have you been painting for and where did you get your love of painting equines from?
Caroline Cook: I have painted all my life and am self taught. Racehorses are my favourite subject and I try to capture mood and movement whilst retaining accuracy
I worked for years alongside my husband Trevor Hallett in his yard in Cornwall in the 1980s.We often took the horses to Par Sands when the weather was bad so the painting brings back memories of the big freeze.”
Par Sands Beach is a vast expanse of firm sand backed by sand dunes located about four miles from St Austell in Cornwall.
For those also wanting a larger print of this fantastic scene, these are available as Limited Edition prints and can be purchased here.
Caroline Cook has kindly stipulated that £10 from every print sold will be donated to the Injured Jockeys Fund.
To see a full collection of the work by Caroline Cook visit www.carolinecook.net