Calm Appraisal (Mongol Herder) 20×16″ oil
It was the second morning out on my one-week camping trip last August.We had stayed the previous night at the ger of my driver and his family, who lavished on me piles of white foods…aruul, airag, urum (dried yogurt, fermented mare’s milk, clotted cream) and more.
As we were heading west towards what I had been told was a beautiful lake, I spotted a large herd of yaks not too far from the road. Puugii, who turned out to be a great driver, pulled over and stopped. I got out to take pictures and almost immediately saw three herders coming our way at a gallop. They pulled up, all dressed in del and boots, looking very dashing, and stopped. What a photo op! I asked Puugii to ask them if I could take some pictures. There was a little hesitation, but then they nodded and I got to work, knowing already that I would be getting multiple paintings from this encounter.
I didn’t realize until I got home and took a closer look that this mal chin (herder) was checking me out with a look of calm appraisal.
You can see the other two paintings I’ve done so far here (the portrait at the bottom) and here.
Loose Horse Ahead 18×24″ oil
Yes, even with the craziness of preparing my WildArt Mongolia Expedition Kickstarter project, I continue to work at my easel. And I just finished this one late last week.
Pokey Park and I and our guide/driver were exploring the wetland area of Gun-Galuut Nature Reserve, when we saw a local herder coming past us. One of the impressive things about Mongol riders is that, even at a very young age, they can ride a horse going pretty much at any gait or speed standing up and utterly still.
He rode on past us and we continued birdwatching and picture taking. Not too much later though, back he came, catching up with a brown horse, saddled and bridled, which had clearly gotten loose. In the meantime, a good-sized group of horses were heading for some open water. The brown horse dodged behind them with the rider right after him. Up came his urga (the long pole with a loop that is used instead of a rope lasso) and in short order the brown horse was captured.
For the painting, I wanted to show Mongol horsemanship, which most people haven’t seen. The bonus, of course, was the great morning light and the setting. And…you may have noticed that the rider in the photo is wearing backwards baseball cap, but not in the painting. I’m interested in painting the Mongolia of today, but the baseball caps just don’t do it for me, however practical they are for the wearers, so I leave them off. But everything else is as I saw it that beautiful morning in August 2011.