FALL CITY, WASH. - At 16 hands, Candace Shrope's horse Murphy is pretty average size for his breed. But there's nothing average about his personality.
"He has a huge personality. He loves people, he loves attention, he's very outgoing and he has to put his mouth on everything," said Shrope.
But while most horse owners would consider Murphy's mouthing a bad thing, Shrope turned his bite, into something beautiful.
"I had read this article about a horse who painted and seen those videos of elephants who can paint and I thought, well he's scraping things back and forth on the ground, what if that was a paint brush?
With a little practice and a lot of patience, Murphy the horse has become a prolific painter.
"The first time I put paint on the brush he swiped it and he dropped the brush and he was surprised like he could tell the difference. And from that day forward it's been totally different,” said Shrope. "I start to set all the painting stuff up, get all the colors I want to do. I set the canvas out and he stands in his stall and flaps his lips at me like, let’s paint I want to paint!"
Murphy has painted more than one hundred portraits so far. Everything from horses to Seahawks. And while he gets most of the credit, this unlikely partnership has also brought out the inner artist in Shrope.
"As I've gone I've become more and more complex and artistic. And it's really interesting to see the evolution from me just doing a horseshoe to these complex, layered animals."
When finished the portraits are given away to friends or pet charities. She also sells some online on her Etsy site.
"The back of every painting has a picture of Murphy with that painting so you know it's authentic."
So while some may brush off Murphy's talent as merely a trick, the product and the bond between these two is picture perfect.
"I'm doing something with my horse that makes me happy and makes him happy. And the end product makes other people happy."
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