Cowgirl Up! | Linda St. Clair

By Bonnie Gangelhoff

Sweet Sara, oil, 24 x 18.

New Mexico-based painter Linda St. Clair treasures living in the West. Among other things, one of her attractions to the region is the access to a wide variety of animal species, ranging from grizzly bears to gray wolves. For her painting HORSES OF A DIFFERENT COLOR, St. Clair was inspired by a visit to a northern New Mexico ranch where she studied and photographed white mustangs for reference material. “In this painting I was trying to see what I could leave out and still have a strong image,” St. Clair says. “I was going for a cleaner, more contemporary look than I have ever done before.”

St. Clair says she particularly enjoys painting white horses because of the many colors she sees in the light reflected off of the white animal. An adventuresome traveler for the sake of her art, St. Clair has journeyed to far-flung locales to view her models up close and personal. For example, she has been to the Arctic to see polar bears and to Africa to observe zebras and elephants. “I think it’s so important to be around animals and see the way they move and smell, among other things. That all goes into the painting of them. And I really like spending time with them.” Her goal, she says, is to offer viewers a glimpse into an animal’s individuality, tell a story, and make people feel a connection to her subjects. “Like people, animals have personalities,” St. Clair says. “At least that’s what I am choosing to believe.”

She is represented by Trailside Galleries, Jackson, WY, and Scottsdale, AZ; Evergreen Fine Art, Evergreen, CO; District Gallery, Park City, UT; Morris & Whiteside Galleries, Hilton Head, SC; Kneeland Gallery, Ketchum, ID; and Russell Collection Fine Art Gallery, Austin, TX;

Featured in March 2012.