Salty & Sweet
Portrait of an Assateague Pony happily munching on sea grasses
Salty & Sweet
by Ellen Rice
This sweet little painting sold immediately to a woman who walked in the gallery and spotted the still wet painting on a shelf behind my desk. Salty & Sweet (referring to the grasses) reminded her of the Assateague pony she had purchased many, many years ago.
Her dear companion lived to be almost 30 years old, if I remember correctly, kept in a stable near my home in Ocean View, Delaware. The painting brought tears to her eyes, the good kind that come with happy memories.
I love when my paintings bring happiness. To me, the ponies of Assateague have been a fascination ever since reading Misty of Chincoteague by Margaret Henry in childhood, and I've visited the island many times.
I loved to ride and spent all my leaf raking and other chore money as a kid riding with my best friend, Lynne, as avid a horse lover as I was.
The ponies of Assateague are fabled to have come from a Spanish galleon that sunk off the coast of the island and over several hundred years populated it.
The local fire company corrals the ponies each summer and swims them over to Assateague's sister island, Chincoteague, where thousands gather each summer to watch the "Pony Swim" and buy ponies at auction. This helps keep the herd thinned, makes many a child happy and brings in needed funds for the fire company and the Misty of Chincoteague Museum.
I never owned my own horse or pony, but I've enjoyed drawing and painting them for pleasure and as commissioned portraits for many years. I hope you enjoy the fruits of my labors.
The original pony swim from the Spanish galleon is depicted in my Treasure Beaches of the Mid-Atlantic map and more of the ponies' story is told with my two other Assateague pony prints, Serenity and Merriment, which you might enjoy looking at or bringing home if you or your children or grandchildren are horse lovers, too.