Rainbow Springs Art in Dunnellon member Bonnie Eads’ fiberglass steed, “Critters,” shows off his winning qualities at the Circle Square Cultural Center’s lobby at On Top of the World from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. from March 2-27.
Eads is one of 15 artists who was accepted by Marion Cultural Alliance to paint a horse for one of the Alliance’s major fundraisers, Horse Fever 20/20. The horses can be viewed at 8395 SW 80th St., Ocala.
Eads learned on Dec. 15 that her proposal for a painted horse was selected by a jury of regional art professionals. Then she furiously dove into painting her pony, who had to be finished by Feb. 1.
Her white-based horse is covered with the fauna and flora of the Sunshine State.
“I was trying to honor the animals of Florida,” Eads said. “I think I used every reference photo I had ever taken.”
There’s an alligator and apple snake, a black bear and cubs. There’s a Florida mouse, a fox, a ghost crab, and a gopher tortoise. Don’t forget the raccoon, the Southern leopard frog, and the Florida panther.
There are other animals and 50-plus plants, birds, and butterflies.
Once Bonnie finished her horse, she varnished it. It then was picked up by a company with a 16-horse tractor trailer and taken to Liles Collision in Ocala, where it and the other finalists received clear-coat spray finishes, similar to those of cars.
Eads’ horse, as well as three others, are being raffled June 5 through MCA.
Other horses in the herd have sponsors.
Eads, who also had a successful entry in MCA’s last horse fundraising effort in 2011, said she has a “melancholy kind of feeling” upon completing Critters. But she recommended other artists compete the next time MCA has a herd to paint.
“It’s great fun and satisfying,” she said.
Critters' eye is a loggerhead sea turtle hatchling.
Critters' hoof has a gopher on it.
Critters, at right, is joined by, from left, Sunny Daze and Home, Sweet Home at the Marion Cultural Alliance, where they were on display. From March 2-27, they will be stabled at the Circle Square Cultural Center's lobby at On Top of the World in Ocala.