The principles of balance with the horse, although started by previous instructors, were further imprinted into my manner of being by my gentle teacher Dorita Konyot. Through her courage and tutelage many principles were revealed, some discarded and others developed into artful finesse with the horse. All along the way due to our mutual diligence, dedication and regard for the discipline, we became close friends.
During this growing intimacy, she welcomed personal aspects of what was happening in my life and career. I responded to her encouragement. I began to explain I had discovered an interesting parallel as the result of supporting my aspiration to become a great horseman with the means available to me as a sign and mural painter. Piqued, my friend invited me to continue. She listened intently.
I went on to explain. As I accumulated a command of the artform and various aspects of horsemanship – the development of finess with all parts of my body and the maintenance of the attitude that translated into harmony with my surroundings and especially with my equine partner – the developing finesse showed up in my artwork. I had begun to notice that one art-form complimented the other.
As I centered the focus of my horsemanship aspirations on achieving balance, attention to detail and finding a new ease and delicacy, these goals also showed up in the paintings and murals created on motorhomes. As I let go of the preconceived need to control the animal and embraced the concept of harmony and connection with the horse. Those aspects also became a subtle part of each hand-painted masterpiece.
At one time, I painted solely to get by until the next circus season commenced. The ability to travel learned with the circus was a big key to the success I had found. Mural projects took place nationwide. During the years I knew Dorita, demand for airbrushed murals on motorhomes increased exponentially. Mural painting provided the ability to excel with my passion. A dramatic shift occurred.
I still traveled with my horses, but now my entourage went north in the summer and south in the winter so I could be in the proximity of motorhome gatherings. As the resident artist at River Ranch during the winter, I had the perfect place to blend these two objects of my affection. I was a motorhome artist by day and a horseback performer at the Saturday night rodeo.
My two interests, horsemanship and artwork, seemed to complement each other. As serious progress in one genre occurred, a breakthrough showed up in the other. Over the years Dorita influenced me with her particular brand of wisdom and I excelled. Change was inevitable. With her help both fields experienced dramatic upheavals.
As I rattled on to my dear friend about options and dreams with various examples, my friend noticed my run-away thinking and did her best to pull me back.
Dorita calmly encouraged me to trust the process. Performing for performing’s sake is something I love. I remain eager to show off the ability and proficiency of my horse, now in his prime. Perhaps performing at the horse shows would have a double benefit as a perfect place to also showcase my talents as an artist to horse people.
As Dorita contently listened to the tug of war that seemed to be going on in my brain and heart, she casually reached out with a delicate yet masterful aged hand and flicked off the lengthy ash that had accumulated on her cigarette and summed it all up with just a few words.
“It sounds like you have two saddles and just one butt.”