DESCRIPTION: Original Oil Painting on Canvas By Tom Chapman. It was done with a palette knife and has a lot of texture.
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Imagine careening down the track on a half ton of horseflesh doing 40 MPH. Think of the jockey balancing himself motionlessly on top of his mount with no safety net. Visualize the bright colors of the jockeys’ silks, the flare of the horses’ nostrils, the excitement of horseracing. Some would consider the world of thoroughbred horseracing as an art form and the riders who guide their mounts as artists.
I am a former jockey-turned artist and many of my fans thought many of my riding feats were works of art. Now my art takes a more traditional form. Instead of riding horses, I paint them. I also paint just about everything else from wildlife, to birds, to chickens.
As a jockey I’ve experienced the banging of the starting gate doors closing. I felt the horse under me anticipating the ringing of the bell and leaving there like a scalded cat when the gates burst open. I’ve heard the noise of the horses’ hooves and their strained breathing, the jockeys hollering, and the wind blowing through the rigging of my helmet. I’ve felt the horse’s mane whipping across my face and the dirt clumps pelting me like a hailstorm. A few times I’ve even felt the sting of another jockey’ badly aimed whip. On top of all this, there is an adrenaline rush that just doesn’t stop. This is the unique perspective that I try to bring to my art. Many of my pieces either focus on the jockey or have a jockey’s point of view.
Because of my background in horseracing and my knowledge of horse anatomy my paintings are accurately depicted. My medium is oil on canvas of all different sizes. I’ve taken a few private lessons to learn about color mixing and values but for all practical purposes I’m self-taught. Realism is the style I use for the most part but I’ve dabbled in impressionism also. I not only capture the grace and beauty of my subjects, but also the raw power and energy that equine athletes exude. My dramatic use of color, light, and shadow display the excitement of horseracing at its very best.
My work hangs in private collections across the US and in several homes in other nations. While I’ve shown in galleries, lately I’ve been promoting and selling my work via the internet, giving me exposure world-wide.