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Bathing of a Red Horse (2021)

Bathing of a Red Horse - Ekaterina Aristova I 72x93 cm, 2021 Paris

Some people think that this work was realized about six years ago, during the figurative period. However, I’ve made it this year and there is an explanation why.

At the beginning of this year, a Gentleman approached me with a private order - to paint a portrait of his sister for her birthday. I rarely work by commission - only if the project is interesting to me and it has more meaning than just a portrait. I usually disagree right away because I need time to think. So it was in this case.

At the beginning it was not easy to find the right subject. And the wishes of the customer, honestly, puzzled me at first. His sister was fond of horseback riding and he wanted the portrait to reflect her personality, character and hobbies. It is quite difficult to paint a good "living" portrait without seeing the person himself. The gentleman sent me a photo of her sister - a young woman with dark hair, a serious, slightly oriental appearance, dressed simply and tastefully - next to a horse, and another photo - on horseback. I looked at the photo for a long time, peered into the features of the heroine, but ... I didn't feel anything. Empty. Just a photo. Just a portrait. Who is she, this girl, really? What is her voice? Eyes? Is she really that serious? Or is it just a shot, a random moment - one in a thousand?

It was already very late, Andrey stopped by to find out what I was doing. Seeing the horse, he joked - Have you conceived a new horse series?)) I told him about the order and admitted that I probably would have to refuse - I don't know what to do with this horse, I don't see the point, but I don't want to paint just a portrait. Then he joked again - Make a red horse! And then it dawned on me! I looked up at him - it's brilliant! He laughed, ignoring my words, and went to bed, and I immediately began to make the first sketch. Brilliant! Like Petrov-Vodkin - but 100 years later! The red horse symbolises Russia, the girl holding it by the bit - the West, trying to "tame" the obstinate animal, make it go its own way at the expense of political measures (sanctions). Will the rider manage to get the horse into the water? I don't think so. Our country has its own special path ... not easy to understand.

I made the first sketch right on my phone. I was so excited and inspired! I couldn't wait to get to work! This is the feeling I need to make a good painting.

In the morning I sent the sketch to the customer. I really really wanted to write this work. And I decided that by all means I would do it. Whatever the collector will say.

The customer did not immediately respond. I even had to ask if he got the sketch? And what my surprise and even annoyance was when he replied, saying that the sketch was great, but too bright for his sister - she prefers a calmer palette - white, lilac, black ... and he would like a portrait (in the classical sense).

I was disappointed, but promised that I would do some more sketches. However, I was already working without enthusiasm. I did make some new sketches for the portrait of this woman, but I never had to paint her portrait (fortunately). The gentleman approved the project, the price, the terms, signed the “devis” (invoice) and even paid the entire amount in full ... However, when paying, I was alarmed by one thing and I decided to talk about it with my bank. My suspicions were confirmed - it was a planned fraud. The bank canceled the transfer and everything ended well. In all senses. And I happily set about creating an artwork - the one that I could not wait to paint - Bathing a Red Horse. 2021.

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