George Stubbs Dissertation earned me a Grade D
and I failed my A level art!
I recently posted a before and after photograph of a stunning horse called LJ.
Sometimes, you see the absolute beauty standing before you in a raw digital file. The light was fading when I took this photograph, so it isn’t great, but I knew I could bring it back to life with post-production using Photoshop.
It was a piece of work that was going to be used in a competition with the Guild of Photographers. What I loved, was this gorgeous horse’s expression, and thanks to Rachel Bastow, who’s guiding hand, just aided the pose. After around 10 hours work, the final portrait was complete.
On Facebook, there were comments reminding LJ of George Stubb’s incredible painting, Whistlejacket. This was indeed very flattering, but it also reminded me of a day at Secondary School when my Art teacher and me, agreed to disagree and George was at the centre of it!
I was studying my A level Art at the time and we had to do a dissertation, which would effect our final grade. I was gutted! I hated writing. All I wanted to do was draw and paint! So, I thought I better chose a topic on something I’d enjoy. So I chose George Stubbs and how this Liverpool-born, son of a leather worker, become one of the most incredible horse artists of his time.
And I was so lucky enough one afternoon to visit the Walker Art Gallery (Liverpool) and see the mighty Whistlejacket in the flesh. Wow, what a painting. It’s huge and it totally takes your breath away! I bought a poster, which I recently found and is now on my office wall.
However, then the 17-year-old in me, decided on seeing a few examples of the great master’s work, to question him! A bit controversial for my dissertation!
I concluded, that despite Stubbs having spent many years studying the anatomy of the horse, I knew better than the renowned Royal Academy artist and stated ‘he painted quite a few of his horses with very strange confirmation! Especially their heads, in some of his paintings, they just don’t seem to be in proportion.’
My art teacher was disgusted and gave me a D! 😲 Contributing to failing my Art A level!
I’d argued Sir Alfred Munnings was more skilful in capturing horses, and he’s still my preference today 😂 and still stick to my convictions! But then Stubbs was the first to set the scene.
Controversial? …Well what’s art about, if not to offer discussion! 😂
I did go on and resit my A level art and it’s not put me off what I do today! ❤️
The National Gallery have put together a brilliant tutorial video on Whistlejacket and I recommend anyone interested in equine art to watch it.