May 9, 2015
My parents each had long love affairs during their marriage. My question is when did Mama find the time and when did Daddy get the gumption? Mama seemed the human manifestation of perpetual motion. She tended an acre garden with neat straight rows of vigorously growing vegetable of glorious hues. She gathered bushels and bushels […]
August 9, 2014
Twenty some years age I painted a large oil in blues and creams of a beautiful chestnut horse with a lady riding side-saddle. I painted quickly spurred on by fear and curiosity. Would it be successful? What would it look like? I loved the painting. Just recently I realized that early effort reflected much of […]
I paint horses. Also, portraits of people and animals. I work in various media: water color, oil, acrylic, pastel; and on a number of supports: canvas, paper, wood panel, slate. For twenty five years I have studied and painted “after” masters: Edgar Degas, Eugene Delacroix, Howard Terpning, Sir Alfred Munnings, Rosa Bonheur, George Stubbs, Frederick Remington, Winslow Homer, and many more.
The Impressionists have had the greatest impact on my artistic sensibilities, however one of my recent pieces was inspired by the Greek sculptor, Lysippus. Cast in 320 BC, the four chariot stallions were created in real-life scale and finished with several layers of gold leaf, some of which remains. Currently, they stand in St. Mark's Basilica in Venice, Italy.
My painting is on a 36” x41” piece of slate. The original bronze oxidized to gorgeous melty aqua greens contrasting with the gold leaf. The acrylic paint I used stood up brilliantly on the slate. Painting “after” this genius ancient master sculptor was humbling, but inspiring. His horses are perfect.
Much of my painting progress has been solo; however, along the way, I have had the opportunity to study with some contemporary artists: water colorist, Alice Shinkos, Jacksonville, Florida; California plein-air painter, Ray Roberts; Elsa Norris Dodd who painted in the mountains of Highlands, NC; abstract painter/professor, Virgil Lampton from Claremore, Oklahoma; most recently, water colorist and sculptor, Roger Shipley of Pennsylvania. Others have helped me through the years but my most steadfast mentor has been my life-long friend and wonderful artist, Elsa Sibley. We've shared horses, art and life since the age of seven. What a gift.
In 1989 my name was put forward by three-time Olympic Stadium Jumper rider, Kathy Kusner, to train a young man in Japan in preparation for international competition, specifically the Olympics. Takeshi Shirai rode in the finals of the Atlanta Olympics as the youngest competitor in the games.
Much of my life has been spent looking through a horse's ears. For many years I trained horses and riders and competed on the US Hunter/Jumper show circuit. While in Japan I trained jumpers and competed at the Grand Prix Stadium Jumping level. When I returned to the US from Japan I began painting that which I know so well...horses.
My husband and I moved to his home state of Pennsylvania about a year ago. Recently I have begun to paint “plein-air” in the valley where Jim grew up, Nippenose – love the name. Dotted with farms, many of them Amish, it is unbelievably rich, fertile, lush and productive, not to mention gorgeous. This is too good to be true! It seems I've been moving toward this very spot all my life: fabulous scenery with “purple mountains majesty” as a backdrop with teams of horses and mules working the fields and carriage horses trotting smartly to and fro pulling the light-weight black Amish buggies.
Just this week I completed an oil on wood panel of a Nippenose Valley vista. Upon completion I thought, “I believe it has a Japanese feel and a bit of Cezanne.” I am finally at a point in my life where paintings develop as an organic mix of my life experience, cumulative studies, and expressions of my inner self. I love color, rhythm, simplicity, and a story. I strive that my work be not-too-laboured and that it be equally easy to look at.
Art is a journey...I am so fortunate to be on it.
Written by Richard James, this article was featured in the summer 2015 edition of the West Branch Life Magazine. Used with permission.
Works including original paintings of local landscapes, portraits of people, as well as animals, are displayed here year-round. Giclees of most paintings are available.
A seasonal gallery where giclees of many of the pieces found here can be purchased.