Thursday, October 18, 2012

Challenge Painting #357 Two Socks Corolla Herd from The Outer Banks of North Carolina

"Two Socks"
Wild Stallion of Corolla Herd in Currituck County North Carolina
8 by 10 inches Watercolor  Original
by Artist Linda L Martin
The Story of Two Socks is a sad one that came to my attention last May shortly after my birthday. Two Socks was a very popular stallion  who was seen often  and remembered by repeated visitors to the islands as they watched his family grow and develop.  Two Socks, a beautiful black stallion, was given his name his name from his two hind socks.

Two Socks is also a story of the challenges of managing the of  wild horses in areas where development is happening quickly. While local governments are struggling to play catch up with regulations, they are also trying to increase their tax base in order to provide services necessary to those moving into the new developments.  It is the challenge of land that has multiple use and multiple owners. All the while sustaining the population of wildlife and wild horses in a dwindling habitat. It is a further challenge because land is limited simply because these are islands.

The beach at Corolla is also considered a main road for 4x4 vehicles and a way for people to get to their homes, as well as to visit the Atlantic Beach for sun and swimming. Driving has always been permitted on the beach as long as I can remember and at this time there is no real move to close a portion of the beach to vehicles.

Wild Banker Horses share the beach
roads on the islands of the Outer Banks.
The non-profit Corolla Wild Horse Fund
was formed by concerned citizens a result
of 19+  wild  horses loosing their lives
to altercations with vehicles on the open
road. In addition to educating the public,
there is a fine of $500 if one harms a 
Wild Horse in the county. The Corolla Wild
Horse fund is currently working on
legislation at the state and federal levels
to put additional  protections in place for
this historically significant and loved herd.
Photography by Kim Galluzzo.
Used by Permission

On the night of May 28th the black stallion, Two Socks, was either defending his band or having a bit of frolic on the beach with his mares when it was reported that he ran into a vehicle and received terminal injuries. Speed was not an issue with the vehicle, nor was alcohol, according to newspaper accounts. The driver was said to be very fond of the wild horses on the island and was heart sick at the accident.

While a lot of people want to place blame in this situation, anyone who has faced a wild deer on a back country road in the dead of night knows that brown is hard to see if there is no additional light. Two Socks was a deep blue black and would have been impossible to see on that dark moonless evening running through the sand. Having spent a night or two on the beach at the Outer Banks myself as a child I know how dark it can get even with the white sand on a starry night.

It is incredibly sad to have lost one such as this noble stallion in any circumstances, especially, one such as he, who was so well loved.  At some point, and soon, changes that favor the safety and preservation of the horses will need to be made to lessen and end the opportunity for the devastating impact of such accidents.

To read more about the  management and challenges of  protecting the Wild Horses of the Outer Banks and what is being done to protect them and their habitat please go to:

Reference photography for tonight's painting provided by Kim Galluzzo.  Information about Two Socks and the challenges of  managing horses in a suburban area was gathered from personal experience, stories from people visiting the Outer Banks, a variety of local and regional news publications including the Virginia Pilot News Paper.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Image #356 Reflections (Finished) Corolla Herd from The Outer Banks of North Carolina

Corolla Wild Horse
8 by 10 inches Original Watercolor
by Linda L Martin Artist
The Corolla wild horses are actually genetically mustangs. After having been tested at the onset of the current preservation efforts, it was found that the highest portion of their DNA came from the Barb and Arabian Horses of Spain, probably brought into the area from trading with the Spanish Settlers that settled in  Florida and South Georgia during the 1500s.

These small horses  are sometimes called Banker Horses or Banker Ponies because of their size. Usually they are about the size of a mid-sized pony when running in the wild. The reason they are so small is because of their diet of marsh grasses.Their thin bloated belly appearance is caused by drinking brackish water. In-fact  in the whole of the Outer Banks island system there is no fresh water for wild things, except when the occasional  rain storm fills in the gathering pools. At one time, before development encroached in to the range of the horses, they also would dig through the sand to find fresh water according to one account of their history.
A wild Banker Horse grazes  next to
a housing development. These horses
desperately need  the protection
of an uninhibited range. Since the
development of residential areas along
the islands of the Outer Banks of
North Caroline, the horses not only
have to compete with thousands of
tourists, but also huge numbers
of houses cluttering their habitat.
Photography by Kim Galluzzo.
Used by Permission

Unlike the  Chincoteague  and Assateague ponies  in Virginia, Banker Horses are found in solid colors of bay, chestnut, Chestnut with Flaxen Manes and Tails,  black, brown, and buckskin. They do, on occasion, have some white markings, sometimes on their faces and/or their legs below the knee. The horses are currently managed by the Corolla Wild Horse Fund.

Like all the wild horses on the Eastern barrier Islands of the United States, the Corolla herd is not protected under the Wild Horse And Burro Act. To read more about the Corolla herd and what they are doing to have the herd legally protected, you can read about the history and goals here:

Reference photography for tonight's painting provided by Kim Galluzzo.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Image #355 Corolla Herd from The Outter Banks of North Carolina First Half.

I am a little over half way through the first painting of the 5 for this series of  the Corolla Wild Mustangs and will write more about the horses and some of the challenges they face tomorrow. This is the first image. I will reveal the name and details tomorrow. Please enjoy.

First half of the First Corolla Wild Horses  Painting
More details and the completed painting tomorrow.
Tonight I start on the first of a new collaboration with Photographer Kim Galluzzo. Kim visits the Corolla Wild Mustangs of Currituck County, North Carolina once or twice a year to photograph the herd. Since I started the Mustang A Day Challenge in December of 2010 I have been looking for a prolific photographer to work with on all of the Outter Banks Herds.  Kim has provided some very nice images for me to work from and will share some of her experiences as we move through the creative process. Thank- you, Kim for working with me on these very special Heritage horses.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Painting #354 "Run Little Horse" for the Book Three Amigos of Sand Wash Basin

"Run Little Horse"
Brave Chasing Apache
For inclusion in the Book Three Amigos of Sand Wash Basin
13 by 8 inches Original Watercolor
by Linda L Martin Artist
Reference Photos for the painting by Joe Tosh

Three Amigos of Sand Wash Basin, a book written by Patrick F. Brennan Jr., Joe Tosh & John Wagner, is a book full of wonderful stories of these three close friends photographing the wild Mustangs at Sand Wash Basin. The book will also be chuck full of the Amigos collective “Best of the Best” wild horse photos that they have collected over the past three years. The book will be released on November 15th of this year- available online ( only and in hard cover edition. This publication will also have two great stories on adopted mustangs- one of them is horse that was gathered at Sand Wash Basin in 2002. The book will also feature three wild horse artists, Karen McLain, Linda Martin and Melody Perez, with paintings photographs from the authors and one from an original work.

The authors met on Face Book, when Joe and John saw photographs of Patrick Brennan had taken of Gymkhana competitions in the Denver area that he had posted on Face Book. John invited Patrick to come out to Sand Wash Basin to photograph the wild horses at SWB. They quickly became fast friends and have had many trips together out at Sand Wash Basin since then.

The idea for the book came from some conversations between the Three Amigos while they were together at Sand Wash Basin last year- when Patrick Brennan floated the idea that they should do a book together about all the great adventures they have had photographing the wild horses.  Patrick thought about it over the winter months and announced on his first visit the following Spring that he was going to go forward with the book. Phone calls, e-mails and Face Book messages fired back and forth between Patrick in Denver, Colorado and John and Joe in Dinosaur, Colorado. Before a few months had past the outline and bare bones draft of the book was down on Patrick’s laptop and they were off and running with it. They are self-publishing the book and if initial sales do well- than Patrick Brennan will be in further contact with a couple of publishers that will take a look at the book for wider distribution based on those initial sales numbers.

There will be no pre-ordering of the book, it will be available online only through A price has not yet been determined. It is expected to be in the $30 to $35 range- but that is just an estimate at his point.  The official link for the book will be posted on Patrick Brennan Website  and there will also be a Face Book page put up by the authors by November 1st  that will be dedicated to the book and will have the direct link for the book posted there.

Patrick Brennan will be featured in a full length article in Sidelines Magazine, a national equestrian magazine published in the US and Canada. The Three Amigos of Sand Wash Basin book will be mentioned prominently in that article. The story will be in their November issue – due out on October 20th, 2012.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Challenge Image #353 Apache of Sand Wash Basin HMA

Detail of Apache for the Book of Sand Wash Basin Painting.

Detail of Apache
by Artist Linda L Martin
The entire painting will be shown in my next blog post. I just didnt think it fair to little Apache not to give him the spotlight before I showed the entire painting. Apache is a feisty little bachelor stallion that according to wild horse photographers at Sand Wash Basin HMA in Colorado spent most of 2011 following along with Band Stallion Brave's band and trying to steal a mare of his own. The Stallion, Brave, was stronger bigger and more experienced, but that didn't stop Apache. While he didn't get a mare last year, he did gain valuable experience that will help in years to come in finding and defending his own mares.

I will share the entire painting with information on the Book and how to Pre-order in my next blog post. Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Challenge Image #352 Study of Brave's Face before Connecting.

As you all probably know by now I am painting a watercolor this week that is to be included in a book about the Sand Wash Basin Wild Horses.  I am Collaborating with Photographer Joe Tosh of Colorado on this one.

"Study of Brave"
6 by 6 inches Watercolor
by Linda L Martin Artist
Joe's action image is so awesome that I decided to do a special study of  Brave's face just before he was about to connect teeth to hide of the horse he was chasing away from his band. Brave is a very stocky and formidable and certainly a force to be reckoned with when it comes to protecting his band. I don't think Ive ever seen, either in life, or in photography a stallion with a mouth that opens quite that wide. And it really shows the bravado of the little bachelor stallion who challenged him.

Tomorrow the close up of  Apache in the painting and information on  how you can pre-order the new book by Patrick Brennan,  Joe Tosh and John Wagner on Friday.

Challenge Image #351 Brave of Sand Wash Basin HMA

This week I am working on a very special collaboration for a book about the Sand Wash Basin Wild horses. Ive never worked with photographer Joe Tosh before. The reference shots for this painting came from him. They are pretty amazing.

Detail of the work in progress
Joe is one of the great photographers that pals around with John Wagner one of my regular collaborators John A Wagner, Patrick Brennan and Joe are the photographers who are putting together the project.

The painting is nearly 3/4ths the way finished. I will put the whole thing on the blog on Thursday. I am one of three artists invited to participate in this honor. This is a pretty amazing project. Thank you Gentlemen for inviting me.

The final painting will be 9 by 13 inches. This is just a close up of Brave. There are two mustangs in the painting. Name to be announced.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Shatzi 2012 Foal Sand Wash Basin HMA Challenge Painting # 350

4 by 6 inches watercolor
by Artist Linda L Martin
To see more of the amazing wild mustang horses of Sand Wash Basin HMA  go to facebook and like the Sand Wash Wild Horses Club Page :

A special Thank- you to photographer John Wagner for the reference photography for this painting.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sagewood 2012 Foal Sand Wash Basin HMA Challenge Painting # 349

The Legacy of  Davy Greasewood.
The Legacy of Davy Greasewood
4 by 6 inches Watercolor
by LindaLMartinArtist
Most people will remember that early in 2012 Band Stallion Davy Greasewood was humanely euthanized on the range when he sustained a life threatening injury. It was later discovered that Davy G had a 16 inch piece of barbed wire wrapped around his leg.

Davy was a very  popular stallion with his band of two mares, Yarrow and her daughter, White Sage. Just a few weeks before  his death , I was told that the domestic mare, Demi, joined the band also. Very shortly after Davy's death  a sorrel stallion named by the horse watchers as Haze took over the mares and has had them to my knowledge until this writing.

Davy's death brought to light some of the real man made dangers to wild horses. Wire and other trash left behind on the range can cause untold peril for wild horses and other animals that frequent the range. The problem of the discarded wire had inspired many volunteers to help clean up the range twice so far in 2012.

While many of us are still missing Davy Greasewood, we are also delighted  to find that  over the summer White Sage delivered a dark chestnut foal. This filly was named, appropriately, Sagewood.  Now the fact is that actual patronage of a stallion to a specific foal in the wild is a bit arbitrary and can usually only be confirmed by DNA testing,  I think it appropriate to assign Davy G with father hood of this little filly. She has a look about her that reminds of him even though she is not his color or markings.

In truth she will know Haze as her father and Band Stallion until such a time that she leaves the band or is stolen by another stallion.

To see more of the amazing wild mustang horses of Sand Wash Basin HMA  go to facebook and like the Sand Wash Wild Horses Club Page :