Living

Keeneland: Traditions include a live artist, distinctly Kentucky 'champagne'

Peter Williams, Keeneland's house artist, worked on a painting of horses and riders with the paddock area as a background. The native New Zealander began painting while working as a shepherd; he fell in love with Kentucky's horse culture while visiting here. Williams likes to set up his easel so that passersby can watch the work in progress.
Peter Williams, Keeneland's house artist, worked on a painting of horses and riders with the paddock area as a background. The native New Zealander began painting while working as a shepherd; he fell in love with Kentucky's horse culture while visiting here. Williams likes to set up his easel so that passersby can watch the work in progress.

Keeneland is nothing if not traditional, and while the track now features 21st-century technology such as high-definition televisions and a full-service smart phone app, there are also many things done at the track the way they have been for years.

One you sometimes might notice is a gentleman with an easel, canvas and palette of paints quietly working as the pageantry of the meet swirls around him. That artist is Peter Williams, who is Keeneland's house artist.

The New Zealander started his painting career while working a day job as a shepherd and developed a bond with Kentucky and its equine culture during several painting tours of the United States. In addition to enjoying painting, according to his website (Peterwilliamsart.net) he enjoys giving viewers the experience of watching live painting taking place, which is part of the reason he can be seen prominently painting one of his canvases.

Williams' work extends beyond equine art though, including landscapes, vintage automobiles, still lifes and ocean scenes. In 2012, he published a book to celebrate his 50-years painting: Peter Williams Retrospective: Paintings and People Dear to Me.

Fall Meet events

Friday and Saturday: Keeneland's tailgate lot, The Hill, features food trucks, a jumbo TV screen, wireless wagering and wagering terminals, race-day programs, a Keeneland Gift Shop kiosk and free shuttles to the track. On Saturday, fans may take in live music and college football on television screens. BETologists will be available to answer fans' questions.

Saturday: Sunrise Trackside offers activities for all ages beginning at 7 a.m. Enjoy morning workouts, Breakfast with the Works, children's activities, tours and more.

Oct. 24: The University of Kentucky's Homecoming weekend will be celebrated with See Blue Day. Tailgate on The Hill from noon to 1 p.m. for special appearances by the UK cheerleaders, pep band and more. UK students, alumni and faculty receive free general admission and access to reserved grandstand seating with their IDs. A special Lextran shuttle will pick up at Wildcat Plaza on UK's campus.

Oct. 24: State Traditions trunk show at the gift shop.

Oct. 25 (final day of meet): Fan Appreciation Day. The first 3,000 patrons will be treated to a special giveaway and sampling of bread pudding in the North Terrace. 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Oct. 25: State Traditions trunk show at the gift shop.

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