The Rose In The Arena....

“THE ROSE IN THE ARENA” 48 x 48″ oil on canvas by Lesley Humphrey. Copyright 2014. Available at The Sporting Art Auction, Keeneland, Lexington, Kentucky November 15th, 2014.

This painting depicts a "shero of mine"....Rose Napravnik won the Breeders' Cup Distaff on Untapable yesterday.  Later, in the winner's circle, Rose announced that she was pregnant, and will be retiringfrom racing on Sunday to start a family.  Congratulations Rose!!!!

What is not immediately apparent, though, is that Rose is dressed in peach and watermelon pink, the same colors attributed to Wendy Davis who is running for Governer of Texas against formidable odds and an "off-the-charts" male establishment, a throne previously occupied by the insufferable Rick Perry.  I was moved to tears when she stood for 12 hours fighting for the rights of women, and I don't care which side of the fence you stand politically, that was a passionate stand for real change, and a call for evolution!

I'm sure if Theodore Roosevelt was alive today, he might have been inspired to modify his powerful message to include you, Wendy and Rose:

"It's not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong woman stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the woman who is actually in the arena, whose fact is marred by dust and sweat and blood; Who strives valiantly; Who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion... Who spends herself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if she fails, at least she fails while daring that her place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."  (T. Roosevelt - gender modified)

I had the privilege of watching Rose when I was the Official Artist of the 137th Kentucky Derby and Oaks at Churchill Downs.  I recall her brilliant ride in the Oaks as she battled with St. John’s River, coming second but closing fast…. Another 10 yards and she would have won…. She went on to win the Kentucky Oaks in 2013 and again this year.

Here she is riding past me at my 137th Kentucky Derby riding Pants On Fire….  as “My Old Kentucky Home” was playing.  It is she who inspired the painting “The Rose In The Arena” which will be auctioned away with lots of wonderful paintings at The Sporting Art Auction, Keeneland, Lexington, Kentucky on November 14th.  The following photograph helped inspire my painting “The Rose In The Arena”.  You will notice that I changed the sign behind to “Weep No More My Lady”, which seemed more appropriate in view of the content.

The composition was created not on the old way of calculating "the golden mean", but on the unfolding fibonacci sequence formula, unfolding like a nautilus shell, as nature unfolds in her infinite beauty.

Wendy and Rose.... I am rooting for you, but whether you win or lose it is of no consequence.  You are already winners and incredible roll models to me, and for anyone thinking of stepping into "the arena" no matter what challenge that represents for them.