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Adele Goodman captures Barbaro on canvas for fundraiser

By Susan Shinn
A flatulent dog finally drove Adele Goodman to build her very own art studio. The cozy studio sits atop a hill behind her home in the Corriher Grange community.
It’s where she’s just completed work on a portrait of Barbaro, the winner of the 2006 Kentucky Derby, whose heartbreaking death was the result of a fall in the Preakness.
The breathtaking portrait will be part of a live auction for the Mane Event, a fundraiser May 30 for the Horse Protection Society at the Speedway Club.
Adele estimates she’s put about 30 hours into artwork which measures 16 by 20 inches.
It captures the spirit of Barbaro, a horse loved by millions who is still a well-loved equine figure.
Getting Barbaro’s color exactly right, Adele confides, was difficult.
“It was hard to do,” he says. “He was always covered up.”
She painted on green board and decided on a black background to make the horse really “pop out.”
It’s worth mentioning that Adele’s waist-length hair is coincidentally similar in color to Barbaro’s.
Adele mainly worked on the portrait after coming home from her day job as an executive assistant with Penske Racing in Mooresville.
“I can work about three hours a night and then I start to fade,” Adele says. “It’s very intense because it’s all right brain, and with the pastel, it’s messy.
“I’m very simple. I don’t have all these tools.”
She zips to work every day in her yellow and black Smart Car.
She notes that her studio is run by solar energy.
“I’ve always wanted to be off the grid,” she says with her usual wide grin.
A lot of her grins are reserved for her dogs, Dudley ó who, bless his little canine heart, seems to be allergic to everything ó and the more reserved Sadie. They’re both mutts ó Dudley is a rescue dog (“Nobody was stupid enough to take him but me,” she says) ó and Adele adores them both.
She has her own horse, which she keeps in the barn at a cousin’s house nearby.
These days, Adele paints either animals or nudes.
“I can do faces really good,” she says. “I just don’t. I got bored with it. You should only do what you love.”
The Barbaro portrait is one of several Adele will donate to auctions this year.
“This is a way for me to donate to charity,” she says. “If you have a talent, it’s important to help other people.”
Joanie Benson, executive director of the Horse Protection Society, would certainly agree.
The portrait has been painted with approval from Barbaro’s owners, she notes. She anticipates a lot of interest in the piece.
“I think there may be people who will come just for that,” Joanie says. “There are many people out there who want to keep his memory alive.”
Adele, 44, has been painting for years.
She took anatomy in high school under Brenda Sheppard.
“I was so much farther ahead than everyone else in figure drawing in college” because of that class, she says.
She points to a nude figure which is framed on her studio wall.
“I didn’t mean for her to look so melancholy, but she did,” Adele says.
She painted it shortly after her maternal grandmother died.
She likes her figures to be curvy, she says. “Skinny ain’t sexy.”
She went to art school at East Carolina University ó cried all the way there because she was so far away from home ó ultimately graduating with a business degree and a minor in art.
Adele flips through her portfolio.
“I had a short dark period,” she says, pointing out a drowning woman and a dead Cupid she called “Love Stinks.”
After finally getting fed up with Dudley the farting dog ó “Rembrandt never had to work like this!” she hollered at him one night ó she had the finish work done on Monarch Cottage, as she calls her studio, in December.She painted the walls apricot, which she says are really more terra cotta, and remind her of Rowan County mud.”I needed a living room that was a quiet place to store my stuff,” Adele says of her studio. “I have peace and quiet and I can concentrate.”
The 12-foot by 22-foot space has a front porch, and the back window looks out onto a field green with barley.
Having shown off her studio, Adele tears down the road in her Smart Car to check on her dogs.
Sadie and Dudley, the sneezing, slobbering one, dash out to greet her.
“So could you sketch with this?” she asks, giving Dudley a good scratch behind the ears, which sends him into a delighted frenzy.
She checks over her grandmother’s eight flower beds ó Adele takes care of all of them herself now.
She keeps the property neat because that’s where her family gathers ó at reunions and pretty much every Sunday afternoon.
“We don’t plan it,” she says. “That’s just where we end up.”
She particularly likes a quote from Martin Luther, etched in a stone: “God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers, clouds and stars.”
And on canvas.

Adele Goodman’s portrait of Barbaro is on display at Fine Frame Gallery, 105 S. Main St.
For more information about the Mane Event, go to www.horseprotectionsociety.org or call Joanie Benson at 704-855-2978.


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