Tag Archives | painted pattern

Pig Racing in Ireland

Pig Racing in Belturbet (Co.Cavan) Ireland

Pig Racing in Belturbet by Jen Norton


On a recent trip to Ireland our adventures took us to Belturbet to watch Pig Racing. Not even all the locals know about this high point of culture. In fact, we arrived early unable to find where the races were to be held. At 3:30pm, there was not a sign, crowd, or hint of the impending excitement. But at 4pm, the atmosphere changed. Two trucks pulled up…one filled with pigs, which proceeded to unfold, revealing the starting line; the other transformed into the finish line. Barriers were put up, a green Astroturf® carpet was rolled out, short little pig hurdles were spaced along the route, and the bets were taken. By 4:45pm, the races began, with six contending pigs racing down the line with stuffed “jockeys” strapped to their backs.! “Watch out for #6…She’s a real flyer!!” yelled the announcer. Sure enough, five seconds later, #6 was declared winner, the pigs were rewarded with a snack and herded back to the starting truck for the second round. Six rounds of betting, six races…I lost them all, but ended up with an inspirational subject for new paintings!

This piece won the 2009 First Place Award at the SCVWS Annual Exhibition. Judge Christopher Schink commented, “It’s hard to do a good painting that amuses you. This painting is fun without being corny. With its broken-up design, this piece conveys the feeling of the subjects without seeing them. It delighted me! Not just an illustration, it is full of fun and whimsy and has an imaginative concept of design.”

If you’d like to see a short clip of the race that inspired this painting, I’ve posted it on YouTube. Click here.

You can purchase prints of this painting here.

Tomatoes on display

Cherry Tomatoes: $1

“Cherry Tomatoes: $1” by Jen Norton

My painting “Cherry Tomatoes: $1” was juried into the 3rd Annual Int’l Society of Acrylic Painters online show. View the show here.

Juror John Salminen.

An “Ah-Ha” moment about my Art IQ

Ballo dell'alba

Ballo dell'alba (Dance of Dawn) © Jen Norton

(reposted from my former blog) Over the last several years, I have developed this method of drawing with my left hand, free-forming shapes that later become content and parts of other shapes. Sometimes I use this technique to begin a painting. Sometimes I use it to “fix” a painting. Either way, I love the result….the almost mathematical, yet chaotic way that the shapes connect together to create form and content. Organic, tribal…it fascinates me like a PBS special on “String Theory” (yes, I’m geeky). Because it is a very intuitive way of drawing, I can never achieve the same results twice. Sometimes I stand back from a finished piece and think, “Wow, I pulled it off!”. But you know, whenever you get too high on your own horse, God has a way of gently reminding you that He is in control, and His ways are not ours. Such was the case one day when I found myself cleaning my garage….

I came across a drawing my brother Mark had done in high school and given to me. Mark is 10 years younger than I, and has always been fascinated with special effect movies, big-time wrestling and 80s music. We don’t have much in common. He can be focused, obsessed, unwavering…OK, we have a few things in common. In this particular drawing, he had rendered the “Bat Cave”, with in his own personal vision. I had received it graciously, on the surface, and had tucked it among my “old college art”. There it remained hidden for over 20 years, until I was ready to truly receive the gift. So, years later, here I am re-discovering my brother’s work on a hot dusty, garage-cleaning day. It has a familiar feel to my current work…organic shapes, slightly off-kilter patterns that could be seen as chaotic, but that work together. Underlying order. Symmetry. Beauty. Something I have discovered myself, after years of searching. Somehow my brother figured it out way before me. There’s something else I should tell you about Mark. He has Down Syndrome.

Bat Cave by Mark Duris

The Bat Cave © Mark Duris