Friday, December 9, 2011

Challenge Painting #236 Favorite Horses of Sand Wash Basin: Picasso

Picasso of Sand Wash Basin

8 by 8 inches Watercolor
by LindaLMartinArtist

I think that anyone who knows me and has followed the entire project of the Mustang A Day Challenge through its first year, probably knows, that for me, Picasso embodies all that is the spirit of the wild horse in North America. He is the quintessential band stallions that rogue beauty with a gentle eye toward his harem. Over the last year I have painted him 5 times, usually with Monet. He is the only stallion, of which, I have painted the entire harem.

I actually knew Picasso through photographs long before I saw him posted on the Sand Wash Basin Wild Horses page in Facebook and knew what the wild horse watchers had named him.   

The most famous photo of him, by Claude Steeleman was actually turned into a lamp as well as cover photo for his book, Colorado’s Wild Horses published in 2009. The photo was taken of Picasso sometime in 2007-8. In the Fall of 2010 I had seen the lamp in the gallery that was carrying my Christmas Cards. It was a thrill and opened the door for me to explain all about the horses of Sand Wash Basin to the gallery owner. It drew a crowd and hopefully sold some of those lamps for Claude, now that the gallery had background information on Picasso. 

A Portion of the proceeds of this
painting will go to Nancy Roberts
to help aid in her documentation
efforts  on the Sand Wash Basin HMA

Since that day I have found out that a number of internationally known wild life photographers have traveled to the Sand Wash Basin just to photograph Picasso. Today my favorite painting of Picasso and Monet hangs above my desk in my studio. He has been the primary image on my business cards since I painted his single full body portrait 10 months ago. He also graces the profile photo of my FaceBook Page. His coat pattern is unique. Yet throughout the Sand Wash Basin you can see Picasso’s genetic attributes weave like a thread throughout the pintos there. Granted it  it is only possible to know how he is related through DNA testing.

One of the most remarkable stories I had heard about Picasso happened during the 2008 BLM management round up. Someone had told me that Picasso was helicopter savvy. And as a result while most of the horses in the Sand Wash Basin were rounded up, Picasso eluded capture. They literally had to go out with horses and riders to rope him in order to bring him in. I think from several accounts he was more angry about being caught, than he was fearful. There had been according to one account the possibility of pulling him from the range. But in a decision of brilliance by the BLM they, with some prompting from an interested party, released him.  

I say it was a brilliant move by the BLM to release Picasso in 2008 because he is so well recognized that in the past year he has become a sort of Ambassador for the Wild horses. His beauty, his ongoing personal story and family drama has drawn in the hearts and minds of people from all over the world who are now helping to support the accurate volunteer documentation of the herd that will help to preserve it and keep it safe for generations to come. It  is my honest hope that Picasso and his mares will be able to stay together and live out their lives in the Sand Wash Basin of Colorado.

If you want to read more about the Wild Horses of the Sand Wash Basin HMA and connect with other people interested in preserving this herd of wild horses please “Like” TheSand Wash Basin Wild Horses on Facebook.

This concludes my week of Favorite Sand Wash Basin Wild Horses. Obviously, I couldn’t include all of my favorites, so in a few weeks I will do another 5 including some mares, and of course the stallions I had to leave out. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. I will be painting more happy mustangs next week.


  1. PICASSO is a handsome horse and inspires many it seems. I have seen images of him on FB and I too see the draw as to why you want to recreate him on canvas and paper. Lovely work.

  2. Thank- you Sheri. Its sort of amazing that he is so widely recognized even by those who dont know his name. And he doesn't even have a movie like Cloud does. ;0)