Carol's Stirrups • Oil Painting by John Morfis • Horse Tack Fine Art

Carol’s Stirrups Painting

Carol's Stirrups • Oil Painting by John Morfis • Horse Tack Fine Art

It’s funny how one thing leads to another and sometimes a good idea can lay right in plain sight. Since I moved into my current house I have spent a great deal of time tending to the various gardens I’ve created around my house and alongside my detached garage. I’ve learned much about the needs of various vegetables and flowering plants.

In an effort to rid my yard of chemicals I’ve tried to find more ecologically sound ways of nurturing my garden plants and potted plants. It turns out that composting is super easy and provides superb food for feeding most plants. Each year I toss a multitude of fruit and vegetable scraps into the compost pile along with the occasional bag of grass clippings. Eventually I sought out a friend, Carol to help in my composting needs. Carol it turns out had two horses to aide in my quest for the perfect compost pile. Each Spring and Fall I make a trip to Carol’s home to pick up a truckload of horse manure, which I then use to supercharge my compost.

It turns out that Carol has been riding horses all her life and knows much about the sport. She also has accumulated loads of horse tack over the years. Some of it is even tarnished! Yay…you know how I love to paint old stuff!

This pair of stirrups belongs to Carol and she let me borrow them for this oil painting. Besides not being a tool, this painting also departed drastically from my normal composition in that I had two elements to deal with. I toyed with the notion of painting a single stirrup but that just seemed incomplete and silly to be quite honest.

The twine holding the stirrup pair together seemed natural enough and after trying several arrangements I found this arrangement to my satisfaction. There seems to be a nice flow in how the stirrups cascade down from one to the next. As natural as it looks it did take quite some time to arrive at this solution. Painting the shine on the metal required much focus and full range of value from dark to light.


Thanks for reading and as always please leave a comment below!


  1. I have loved horses from a very young age. There is nothing quite like getting in the saddle, and taking off for the afternoon on horseback. Some of my most important life lessons have come from horseback riding. Getting back in the saddle after falling off. Treat your companion well, and it will treat you well. These lessons, accompanied with many others are important for kids to learn. I wish more people would take advantage of the amazing experiences these animals provide.

  2. I really like this painting, the colours and clean lines are stunning. Are prints available?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *