Category Archives: Videos

Metro’s Book Launch Party

Now that Metro’s book “Painting with Metro: How a Crippled Racehorse Rescued Himself (and Me) with a Paintbrush” is available on Amazon and due to hit bookstores in a couple of weeks, it is time to start getting the word out.cover

Fortunately, Metro is the best sales person around. Everybody wants to meet him, touch him, get their photo taken with him. But he doesn’t make public appearances. Metro’s is not a performing horse, we don’t take him on the road to horse expos, or hire him out to Birthday Parties or Bat Mitzvahs. He is a painter, he paints a couple hours a weeks, and the rest of his time is devoted to a life of leisure.

He has made one personal appearance a few years ago at Penn National Racetrack, but since then, he has been living the life of seclusion.

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Well it’s time for Metro to get out and meet his fans again. Gallery 30 in Gettysburg will be hosting a book launch party for Metro and his new book. Metro has been busy signing books in preparation for this, 500 of them.

The book party is scheduled for April 16th from 1-4:30PM at Gallery 30. Hope to see you there.

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Coloring with Metro

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We had just completed writing the book, Painting with Metro, with Susy Flory and suddenly without anything to do, Susy suggested that I do a coloring book about Metro. I thought this was a great idea, but Metro would have to be involved in the creation of it. When you have a horse that can paint and draw, you might as well let him get involved.

I didn’t want it to be abstract, I wanted it to represent Metro and his life. So I started drawing pictures of Metro on canvas, and then handed Metro the paint pen. We don’t do a a lot of work with paint pens, but Metro enjoys holding one in his mouth and scribbling on a canvas. Soon we were doing pictures of all of Metro’s barn buddies. Pork Chop, Lamont the donkey and Stubby the blind and deaf barn cat are all represented.

Now this isn’t one of those boring color in the spaces type of coloring books, you actually have to put some thought into creating artwork with Metro. But I do it every day, making sense out of Metro’s brush strokes, now you can too. There is art on those pages, you just need to bring it to life.

Coloring with Metro is available now on Amazon.com.

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Does a painting horse really like to paint?

Does Metro like to paint?

Metro Painting
Photo by Wendy Wooley

I have never gotten into the mind of my painting horse, and what he is thinking when he creates his art and abstract paintings. Nor has he ever told me. He is not much of a conversationalist. All I know is his actions tell me he likes it. He likes it a lot. Metro will choose to painting above all else. There is never a rope on him when he paints, he is free to walk away whenever he likes. I can set his easel up in the pasture, and he will stop grazing on grass and walk over to the easel and wait for me to hand him a brush.

I don’t know what pleasure he gets from it. Sure, I have a pocket full of horse treats, but how does that compare to acres of lush spring grass?

You can make a horse do a lot of things that he doesn’t want to. You can put a bridle on his head, a bit in his mouth, and make him turn left or right. You can crack a whip behind him, and make him run. But you can’t make a horse paint. He has to want to paint.

For Metro, I think it is the oral sensation he gets from stroking a brush across a canvas. He always has his mouth on something, whether it’s licking the bars of his stall or pulling on my jacket with his teeth. I think the pleasure he gets is from the feeling in his mouth.

All I know is he has never refused to paint, other than when he made his personal appearance at Penn National. He had no interest in painting there. But I can’t fault him for that. He was not in the comforts of his own studio. He was back at the track with a full view of horses galloping at full speed right in front of him. His mind was elsewhere, perhaps re-living the glory days of his youth.

Metro doing a little Plein Air Painting
Metro doing a little Plein Air Painting

But when he is home, in his own comfort zone, he wants to paint. When he sees me setting up his paints and canvases in his studio, he begins excitedly bobbing his head up and down, ready to be let out of his stall to get that brush in his mouth.

He has painted outside with no fence or rope to hold him back, he has painted in a 180’ arena. He will paint whenever I ask him, for as long as I ask him. I don’t know what his time limit is, because I always punch the clock long before he is ready to give up.

So does a painting horse like to paint? Does he like to create his abstract paintings?

My answer is “yes”.

Click here to see Wendy Wooley’s video of Metro painting outside for his photoshoot.

Bob Ross meets Painting Horse

I remember channel surfing years ago, landing on PBS, and become hypnotized by the soothing voice of Bob Ross. He would talk in the most calming of voice, while he painted “Happy Little Trees” on his show called “The Joy of Painting”.

Not that I was a fan of his painting, or his style, I found that I just couldn’t turn the channel. He had me hooked and I was captivated. I don’t know what it was about him, but I found myself watching whenever his image crossed my TV screen. I may have watched the same episode over and over, because all his paintings looked the same to me, and I didn’t know if I was watching a new episode, or something 10 years old.Bob-Ross-2

But I just found comfort in his voice and watching him apply paint to canvas.

Recently I thought what it would be like if Metro had his own painting show. I know no one is interested in giving Metro is own show, and if Metro could talk, I am sure his voice wouldn’t be as soothing as Bob’s. Metro’s dialog would be filled with 4-letter words and stories about mares he knows.

But maybe we could film a painting from start to finish, and I can talk about the thought process that goes into creating a painting with Metro. I thought one of our collaborative paintings would be nice, and a vase of flowers would be something we could do in one sitting. Anything more complicated than that would take several days, and drying times between sessions.Blue Vase Blues

We would upload it to YouTube and call it “Painting with Metro”.

It wasn’t the best video, we only had one camera, even though a brought two, I forgot to turn one on. The lighting wasn’t the greatest, and it ran a little long.

If there is any interest in seeing more, I would probably put a little more thought into production, and edit it down to 5 minutes.

But here is our first attempt. You can view it here.

To see all of Metro’s available paintings please visit www.paintedbymetro.com.

Teaching Metro to write

Well I don’t think he is actually going to learn how to write his name, but his handwriting is better than some doctor’s I’ve seen.

Since we are working on a book about Metro with Susy Flory, I thought it might be nice to teach Metro how to sign some books when his eventually comes out. Teaching him to hold a sharpie wasn’t going to be that hard, I just put some duct tape around it, like I do his paint brushes, and he took it in his mouth right away. My concern was the size of the book. Painting on a large canvas is no problem for Metro’s large brush strokes, but can he keep the pen on the paper of a book that measures less than a foot.

Metro signing book

Amazingly, Metro adjusted his stroke fro the size of the book, and managed to stay on the page for a few swirls of the pen. This horse never ceases to surprise me on how well he adapts his technique.

So when Metro’s book finally comes, don’t be surprised if you see Metro signing a few copies himself. To see video of Metro signing a book, click here.

Find out more about Metro by visiting his website, www.PaintedbyMetro.com.

Metro and large canvases

I have been reluctant to work on large canvases with Metro, even though his painting style is more suited to a large format, he doesn’t always know his own strength. Besides breaking a lot of brushes, he has also been known to tear a canvas or two with his powerful brushstroke. This can be really frustrating when we’ve been working on one for 3 days, and Metro decides to tear a hole in it. And I was not really keen on investing $70 into a large canvas just to have Metro rip it to shreds.

So I decided to make the switch to cradled hardboard. It still looks like gallery wrapped canvas when painted, but instead of a tearable surface, the surface is made of 1/8″ hardboard. This means Metro is free to attack the painting in any way he chooses.

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With CCTV America scheduled to come out and film Metro for a segment that will air on CCTV and PBS, I thought it was the perfect time to introduce him to the large painting. It would look better on camera. Metro could make more brush strokes on a bigger surface without going off the edge. Horses have a blind spot directly in front of their face, so I don’t know how much of the canvas Metro can actually see while he is painting. I really think he just paints by feel. When I call him to the canvas, he knows exactly where to stand and the correct position to be in. As long as his paintbrush is of proper length, he is fine. If I give him a paint brush that is a little longer than he is used to, it really throws him off. So I really think he is painting blind.

Working small also means he will eventually fall off the edge of the painting, and not find his way back on. The large format allows him to make more brush strokes with out finding the edge. Not always great for the painting, because after the first couple of strokes, all the paint on the brush has been applied. Any stroke after two, means he is just smearing paint around. But it is great for TV, because he is just making lots of strokes and just going to town. We can always finish up the painting with better strokes later.

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The filming with CCTV went great, even though they were here for 5 hours. Usually with the news stories we have been filming, they are in and out in an hour. But this filming was different. This wasn’t going to be a 2 minute piece on the local news. This was going to be a 10 minute mini documentary that is going to air on a new show called Full Frame. It will air sometime in May on CCTV and PBS.

You can’t spend 5 hours with Metro, without getting a little of that “Metro Attitude”. And Metro showed the cameras every side he had to offer. He was great painting, but some of the other shots, he was quite nippy, restless, and just downright cranky. This will probably be the first segment that will show the temperamental side of Metro.

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Here is the finished painting that Metro worked on for the filming. He was basically just smearing paint around and making a mess of it while he was getting filmed, but in subsequent sessions, we were able to make a nice painting out of it. We decided to call it “Wild Horses” because everybody was seeing  figures of horses in the painting. It is amazing what kind of images you can find in one of Metro’s paintings, if you stare at it long enough.

Wild Horses

“Wild Horses” by Metro  $1100

36″x24″ Acrylic on 2″ deep cradled hardboard.

Available at Gallery 30. Will ship. Contact gallery30gettysburg@yahoo.com

Metro an Pork Chop’s birthday balloons

We like to expose our horses to everything possible. Horses think that everything is going to kill them, so the more they can overcome their fears, the less likely they are going to turn and run on the trail when they hear a noise or see something as scary as a plastic bag blowing in the wind.

It is fun finding things that we think is going to scare them, and help them overcome their fears. Tarps, plastic bags, cap guns, and box fans with streamers are all things we have exposed them to. Pork Chop and Metro get a bouquet of balloons every year for their birthdays. Pork Chop is usually unfazed by them, but Metro has a short memory. Just a year ago he was walking around with them in his mouth, but he forgot all that this year. In the video, you will see he still tries to pick them up, but gets scared when they move. Pork Chop lost interest pretty quickly, but Metro stuck around and investigated the balloons for awhile.