My name is Rita Dee and all of my material comes from the waters of the mighty Hudson River where wood washes down from the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains. I will of course welcome any piece of wood with an unusual shape no matter how small or large or where it comes from.
I began making these horses professionally about 20 years ago but owe a huge debt of gratitude to my girlhood friend and horse crazy cohort Christine Hanson who showed me when I was in the sixth grade how to make horses out of wire. We had shoe boxes full of them and would set up mock horse races.
Each sculpture takes about 8 weeks to construct including pre-staining and searching for wood. Sometimes even longer depending on whether I have included hand painted pieces. Some have taken 9-12 months to complete if they contain painted scenes on the wood.
The wood is joined together with powder coated decking screws and can last in the out-door elements if treated twice a year.
I work strictly from life or memory... I like the energy and movement that comes from seeing life. I do not sketch anything out ahead of time. I like to look at horses grazing in pasture or performing under saddle. I do also like to study the great masters like Leonardo DaVinci and Michelangelo, Rosa Bonheur, Degas etc.etc.
I am often asked if I do any other animals besides horses - and yes I do, but so far only Bison. They also have a form that works well with driftwood and their historical connection to the native people of this great continent inspires me to pursue studying them as a subject. But horses are for me my main inspiration. Where else can one find such grace, beauty, strength and yes sometimes unpredictability as well as nobility and gentleness as with the horse. No other animal has been able to capture the imagination and love of mankind throughout the ages as the horse.They have a mystical quality that draws me in now as much as it did when I first saw them as a small child.
As Winston Churchill once said “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” How true!