“Joe was a horse that I grew up with. He belonged to my dad and was a big piece of our small farm in Fountain Green, UT. When I lived in Fountain Green as an adolescent, I began to take painting more seriously. Joe was, and still is, a favorite subject of mine, although now I can only pull from photographs and memories. I find that when painting such a serious and important part of my past, I always pair the subject with bright colors. I am not sure if this is intentional or not. I have always liked the idea of painting ordinary things in extraordinary situations and, at the same time, keeping it simple.”
Lindsey Bittner Graham
“The painting YOU GO GIRL communicates the incredible dedication, trust, and respect that a barrel-racing champion has for her horse. It was during the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo that this amazing athletic team blew me away with its impeccable performance. The dynamic sunlight and shadow shapes inspired me to paint with energetic and very direct brushwork—not only to emphasize the muscular physique of the horse but to re-create the high-action drama of the moment. Another small but ever-so-important detail was the challenge of portraying the rider’s face: her total confidence in her horse and her determination and focus on the upcoming, final barrel and the championship outcome.”
“It was the spring of 2007, and I hadn’t photographed a foal in over ten years. I had come to the conclusion that it was impossible to get beyond ‘innocent’ or ‘cute’ when the subject was newborns or young colts. My daughter and I were taking pictures at a ranch, when I was drawn to a very young foal lying in the grass. I was mesmerized by its profile, especially the curve of its neck. As I raised the camera, my imagination had already erased the shape of the foal’s body and the grass that surrounded it. I was greatly influenced by my mother, who is a calligrapher, and there is no doubt that my aesthetic approach favors ‘line’ over ‘light.’”
“I want to reveal the singular personalities of horses, not just their similarities. The flick of a tail; the calm, discerning gaze; alert ears—these are all things that can distinguish one horse from another. SMOOTH MOVES is modeled after my horse Hank; he’s confident, friendly, and has the moves down pat. Confidence shows in the bright yellows and oranges; deep blues and purples give him depth; and the turquoise, green, and lavender are the unexpected spark of charm and intelligence that we find in a good horse. Walking toward us, he’s ready and willing to head out on the trail. This painting is a small tribute to the beauty, grace, and lovableness of the horse … and those attributes are the reason I paint them.”
“I have had the opportunity to be around horses for many years, which has enabled me to develop a relationship with them and an understanding of them. I attempt to capture their innermost feelings, grace, and nobility in my paintings. Many times, our ranch horses serve as an inspiration for my paintings. If the occasion arises, other horses are also included in my works, as were these horses. They were standing peacefully by a water tank on a warm summer day, and they seemed to make the perfect painting. I liked the tranquility of the scene and the contrast of colors in the horses. I juxtaposed the horses to form the composition I was looking for. Then I added a third horse in the background to complete the painting.”
“A horse’s beauty is infinite and readily apparent. Its athletic and graceful structure, cloaked in an amazing variety of color and texture, can change dramatically as its demeanor transforms from utter tranquility to raging energy. Yet, the more I observe, the more I’m taken by the ethereal nature of horses. Their magnificent presence belies an endearing fragility, and our history together is the stuff of endless experience and dreams.
“MAHOGANY is part of my artistic and emotional compulsion to study these majestic creatures. I find a studied background to be superfluous, so I’ve allowed the painted horse to stand free, almost like a piece of sculpture.”
Manitou Galleries, Santa Fe, NM; Marshall/LeKae Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ; Dabbert Gallery, Sarasota, FL; Edgewood Orchard Gallery, Fish Creek, WI; Richard Danskin Galleries, Palm Desert, CA; www.williamasuys.com.
“I live in southern Utah and am surrounded by horses. I see them every morning, coming and going; they are the neighbors that I pass by and wave to. They remind me of people as they gather in clusters and gossip with their tagalong birds. WHISPERS captures the moment just before two horses square off, head to butt, so they can swish away flies from each other’s faces using their tails. In my paintings, horses often mirror the intimacies of human relationships and the spiritual journeys that we all travel together. More importantly, though, a horse just looks cool.”
Mountain Trails Gallery, Jackson, WY; Hennington Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM; District Art Gallery, Park City, UT; El Prado Gallery, Sedona, AZ; Lovetts Gallery, Tulsa, OK; Beartooth Gallery, Red Lodge, MT; www.jeffham.net.
“This was not my horse. I used reference photos. A friend in Arizona took a photo of this horse, a working quarter horse. What drew me to the horse was its determination and concentration. That’s why I titled the piece PAYING ATTENTION. The horse was being used as part of a demonstration at Arizona’s Empire Ranch Foundation Roundup on how to work cattle. I like the contrast of the light and shadows, which works great in graphite drawings. I grew up around horses on a ranch in Blum, TX, and I’ve always been close to them. They are beautiful animals, and you can teach them anything you want them to do.”
“I saw this bunch of horses at the annual Jordan Valley Big Loop Rodeo in Oregon. They turned these horses loose, and they came blasting down the hill and the dust was flying. There were about 100 horses, including bucking horses and saddle horses. Fortunately, not too many artists and photographers have discovered the rodeo. There’s usually only a few of us there. I usually take lots of pictures. I was an avid horsewoman for 30 years, and I’ve been around horses all my life. I grew up on a ranch in the Sierra foothills. I trained horses to put myself through college. And when you have a deep feeling for something, you want to express it in paint.”
“The painting ALL WASHED UP is one of those après le bain moments—a stately Percheron horse stands dripping dry in the afternoon sun. All of the elements of this scene, both abstract and emotional, lent themselves to the painting. I loved that the ‘bather’ was looking upon me with the same sense of intrigue that I was directing at him. The wet pavement was reflecting a warm light on his broad belly, while the dark entrance behind him emphasized the strength of his curves. I enjoy working with strong horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines juxtaposed with more curvilinear forms, and this scene simply had it all. I can’t help but wonder if Degas was drawn to similar elements when painting his bathers.”
Featured in March 2012.