Artists of Note | Deborah Berniklau

Capturing the human-equine connection

Deborah Berniklau, Stepping Out, oil, 12 x 9.

Deborah Berniklau, Stepping Out, oil, 12 x 9.

This story was featured in the October 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art October 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

“The real voyage of discovery 
consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” This famous quote, attributed to Marcel Proust, took on an almost literal significance for artist Deborah Berniklau when, in the early 1990s, she suddenly began to lose her sight. “I discovered I have an incurable genetic eye disease,” she explains. “It took eight or nine months to find a solution, but after surgery and special contacts, I’m able to see again.”

At the time, she was working as an illustrator in the Midwest. Not long after her recovery, other life events—primarily moving to Colorado and having a baby—led Berniklau to put her art on hold. “It wasn’t until my son was in sixth grade that I returned to art,” she says. “When I did, I wanted to focus more on fine art, and illustration fell by the wayside.”

Her subject matter came easily: “I’ve loved horses ever since my childhood in New Mexico,” she explains. Today Berniklau is a proud member of the Oil Painters of America, and her goal is to capture the emotional connection between horses and people. “I try to convey a story in each painting by capturing that relationship that’s existed for thousands of years,” she says. The artist’s own horse, a Spanish Andalusian named 
Galeon, serves as both a model and a source of inspiration. “I want my paintings to provide others with a timeless treasure of their own experiences 
with these majestic, beautiful creatures,” she says. —Lindsay Mitchell

Berniklau is represented by Evergreen Fine Art, Evergreen, CO.

Featured in the October 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art October 2014 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!

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