Ghost Horse no. 7

Ghost Horse no. 7.
24 x 48″.
Oil and gesso on prepared canvas.
By Cat Jones.

This is part of a continuing collection intended to commemorate the victims of the Saratoga track. I just felt drawn to paint them, and I’d like to see enough attention brought to the cruelty and abuse of the racing industry that we could end this form of intentionally inflicted suffering.

The idea was to create a painting for every fallen horse at Saratoga since I began this collection in 2016. But they’re killing horses so fast that I cannot keep up. Nineteen horses were killed at Saratoga in 2016. So far, in the first few weeks of the 2017 season, eleven have already died. This is only one track, only one and a half seasons. There’s no excuse to be a smiling spectator in the face of this.

*Update, added on August 9, the number of dead horses at Saratoga this season is now up to twelve. One track out of many, just the first few weeks of the season. This is happening all over the world.

*Update. Added August 16. The death toll from the 2017 season at Saratoga is now 14. The latest victim heartbreakingly continued to try to run with a shattered leg, until there was no way left to run.

*Update. Added August 19. The Saratoga death count for the 2017 season is now seventeen.


The After Show Glow

Pop- up gallery show – a benefit for my community.


My castle mate and I are both artists. We stay up most of the night together, painting in our side – by- side studios in this old Castle where we live, sharing ideas and gossip and comiserations, suffering for our art while most (but not all) of our other housemates sleep. And then, it comes time to show.

I anxiously dread each show, all the way up until it happens, and then I embrace it. On the day of the show, no matter how big or small the event, there is always the pre- hang freak – out… the frayed nerves, the stress, the fraught logistics, the raw emotion. But then, the moment the paintings are hung, the lighting is perfected, and the doors are opened… then we’re on. For me, this part is golden, and I don’t know why. I’m not usually all that comfortable with human interactions. But, as an artist, I revel in the performance art of the show, in meeting new people, in catching up with friends and fellow artists, in learning how the pieces I’ve worked so hard on might impact the people who have come to see them.

It’s funny, but after every show, I feel something like the runner’s high that I’m told athletes experience after great exertion. Each artist is different on this point. My Castle mate feels the effects of this exertion in her own way – She gets a headache and feels spent, exhausted. But I feel a thrill that carries me into the night. And that’s what I’m feeling right now, having just gotten back to the Castle after a crowded and exhilarating First Friday event. This was a benefit show, for a lot of former neighbors who lost their homes when an entire block burned down on Madison avenue, right across the street from an apartment where I used to live. There was great art, great music, and a great turnout. And now here I am, at almost 2am, grinning to myself, basking in the afterglow. Tomorrow, I’ll worry about the next show. But for right now, on this cricket filled night, I’m exactly content. I will probably play guitar for the rest of the night.

Amanda and Ruby and I, livin’ the dream, baby, at tonight’s show.