My daughter, Ellen A. Cook, always wanted to ride horses. I didn't know anything about horses and was very reluctant. As I watched her learn to ride dressage when she was 8 I learned about a world which I thought held very little interest to me. I was wrong.
Miracle Maxx is a true story Ellen and I wrote for children about Ellen's horse, Maxx. Maxx is a grandson of Secretariat. We believe that Maxx inherited Secretariat's amazing will. He was severely bitten by a rattlesnake and it was thought he couldn't survive.
I have always wanted to make paintings. One project I have been working on since 1992 are life size oil portraits of artists, collectors, and curators. The paintings are painted from life sittings in the studios or homes. My art background influenced the way the images were painted in Miracle Maxx. My daughter, Ellen, and I coauthored and illustrated the book. Ellen corrected the anatomy in all the pencil drawings of Maxx before the watercolor was applied. On my home page (deannmelton.com) one can click the link to Ellen's page to see her sculptures and murals.
As an 18 year old student she continues to ride dressage on Maxx and has earned the USDF Bronze medal. She rode her first Prix St. George test in January and was presented with roses.
For those who are traveling through the Phoenix Airport (Terminal 4, Level 3) the Phoenix Airport Museum is showing eight life size portraits and eight small watercolors of mine. The show will be up from now to February 2014.