Art means everything to me! I love it...I live it...I breathe it! It is a vital element that resides within the very depths of my being! I cannot live without it! My style of painting is very "realistic", greatly influenced by the nineteenth century European and American art. Since my childhood I have enjoyed visiting old museums, carefully observing their priceless masterpieces, with a supreme goal of someday achieving that special quality of artistry in my own work.
Over the years, horses have been my greatest passion and I will always be inspired to paint these magnificent animals. Nevertheless, my inspirations are branching out to include a variety of colorful landscapes, seascapes and wildlife paintings. I’m a "lover of the beautiful", and it is my supreme desire to ever reflect this theme: "May the works which I create, be it horses or nature, Reflect glimpses of beauty that grace the walls of the soul."
About Her Art, Life, Views and Experiences
To go back to the roots of the artist within, it seems that I was born with artistic blood flowing through my veins! I believe this was a special inherited gift from my Great-Great Grandmother Lindskog (on my father’s side) from Sweden. In the earlier part of her life, she was an elegant woman, and a very talented artist. Then on the other hand, it seems that my deep love for horses may have been inherited from my Great-Grandfather Gunderson (on my mother’s side). He was a “horse lover”, and had a farm outside of Oslo, Norway. Sadly, I never had the privilege of meeting neither one of these grandparents, because they died before I was born. I wish I could have known them.
Even though artistic talent is something that can be genetically inherited, there are many skillful artists who have not had the privilege of being gifted with artistic talent. However, they generally developed their skills through proper guidance and a “hands on” experience with art, including much practice and perseverance. With a great desire to achieve and become artists, many have succeeded! Even the gifted ones still have to go through the process of learning, though it tends to come easy.
My interest in art began early in life as a very small child sitting at the kitchen table drawing, drawing, and drawing! Surprisingly, in my earliest years, my first love as a” little artist” was cars! I loved to create pencil and color crayon drawings of the various makes of cars at that time, including the one that was my favorite……the Cadillac! I amazed my family and their friends with my early renderings. Then one day (still in my early years) I noticed horses. I was greatly influenced by the old black and white TV programs with horses, such as “Fury”, “My Friend Flicka”, “The Roy Rogers Show” and others. It didn’t take long for my heart to be hopelessly swept away and held captive by horses! Roy Roger’s horse “Trigger” especially caught my attention! A Beautiful golden Palomino…..very intelligent, with spirit, and yet gentle. As time passed, I continued to draw horses until they became my artistic obsession, not to mention my greatest delight!
Eventually, my parents purchased for me my first horse……a “dream come true!” He was a (chestnut colored) quarter horse gelding, a retired “cow pony” with a million dollar disposition! Not only did I learn to ride, he also gave me a first hand experience with “equine anatomy” which advanced my ability to render horses more accurately. I loved him dearly and I’m thankful for the wonderful memories I have of him. As time passed, I had a few more horses. For a “horse lover”, there is nothing like owning your own horse!
It was often stated that my art was very advanced for my age. I will never forget the time that my teacher entered my art into an elementary school art exhibition (open to all the schools of the town). I don’t remember how old I was at the time, though for sure I was very young….possibly in the fourth grade. I entered a fully rendered pencil drawing of a horse. Soon after, my teacher received a message from the people in charge of the show, stating that my work had been rejected and excluded. They refused to believe that I created the art myself. They insisted it was too advanced for a child of my age! I was devastated! After all these years, as I look back to that dark moment in my early life, now I take it as a compliment! A word of encouragement to new aspiring artists: When you face rejection of your art, don’t let it crush and destroy the “artist within”. Let it be a stepping stone to something greater, always keeping in mind that art judges can be somewhat compared to medical doctors, each having their own opinion. That is what it all boils down to…”an opinion!” Opinions vary from person to person. What is rejected for one show may be accepted at another, and even perhaps win an award!
I pressed on as a young artist, ever striving for improvement in developing my technical skills. Eventually, I began receiving commissions in my early teens. However, there was an obstacle I encountered along the way. I had some problems in my high school art class. My teacher favored abstract art. He didn’t appreciate my realistic style and stated “if you’re going to do work like that, you might as well take a photograph instead!” Back then, contemporary art reigned supreme and there was little appreciation in the art world for realism. However, I am thankful that today that attitude is changing. I would like to add that there was one good thing that came from being in that art class. I created a wood carving of a horse, and it went over so well that it ended up (displayed for several weeks) on the desk of the Superintendent of the Stockton Unified School district, in Stockton, California (USA). As a student, I felt honored! Aside from the carved wooden horse, the art class was of little help to me, and eventually I dropped it, and that was the end of my art classes in high school! From that time on, I was determined that I would develop my skills on my own. I taught myself to paint from Walter Foster art books that were sold (back then) for only a dollar each! I must say, no dollar could have ever been better spent! I learned the basics of painting with oil, and took off from there! Art books are wonderful and are like having some of the best artist in your home to teach you, at “your’ convenience! Today, they have so many wonderful art instruction books to choose from. The books of North light Book Club are my favorites, which I highly recommend them! Also, (Walter Foster books are still available in art stores, and on the internet at amazon.com).
It is a common thought that “horse craziness” is a phase some children go through, and eventually outgrow it. In my case, that didn’t happen! Obviously am still “horse crazy” and always will be! Throughout my life I’ve had great love and compassion for animals, and horses have always been at the top of my list! I feel there are few words that adequately describe these magnificent animals, especially Arabians…my favorite breed! I strive to create pieces that will represent the subjects in the best possible way….a portrayal of the beauty and very essence of the horse! The challenge of capturing their amazing spirit has always been my delight! I enjoy most of all creating art of my own inspirations….from realistic to fantasy! When it comes to equine art, I love variety and feel the sky is the limit! I will never allow myself to be boxed into a particular theme. As an artist, I find it ever refreshing and exciting to be free to follow my artistic inspirations wherever it may lead! As time passes I will continue to aim that direction, with a vision to include more variety of breeds, more feeling and energy, plus greater creativity and artistry for each new and unique composition.
As for the artists that had the greatest influence on my equine art; there were two very famous artists that painted horses, and whose work I greatly admire. They are George Ford Morris, and Jean-Leon Gerome. I remember when I was a young child, I checked out a library book featuring the works of Morris (American artist). I was so impressed with the images that I was inspired more than ever to become a painter of horses. The paintings of Gerome, (a famous nineteenth century French artist) also made quite an impression on me! I had the privilege of seeing some of his magnificent works at the Haggin Museum in Stockton, California. To this day, I delight in viewing Haggin’s fabulous collection of nineteenth century art. Gerome’s renderings revealed very intricate detail, mood and shadow. His horses were so incredibly life-like that they were almost real! As I viewed the works of my favorite artists, for quite some time I would stand and study each piece, carefully observing every bit of brush work and detail, straining my brain to imagine what technical skills they may have used. Then, when I painted, I tried to incorporate the same style of brushwork and etc. into my own renderings. That was quite a challenge and a wonderful learning experience as I created my own unique pieces. As a self taught artist, I learned so much as I experimented with color, brush techniques, etc. On occasion, I still visit the Haggin Museum and enjoy the art to no end!
Of all the subjects there are to paint, nature is becoming my greatest passion and inspiration! I have found the writings of the world famous naturalist John Muir tremendously inspiring and have been greatly influenced by his quotes in regards to nature. My most wonderful experiences with nature have been in the quietness of a mountain forest, perhaps near a waterfall. Or at the top of a high mountain, overlooking a beautiful lake with mountain ranges that extend as far as the eye can see. It is in places like this, the cares of life melt away, and I find myself drawn closer to nature and its Creator... the Great Master Artist! As time passes, it is my passionate desire to create more works depicting nature in its varied forms, many of which will include different types of wildlife with compositions designed supremely to reflect the inherent artistry of nature. For landscape paintings, morning and evening are my favorite times to capture…. when shadows are long with dramatic lighting, and brilliant color is predominant! I’m a lover of color, and enjoy expressing it in my works.
I greatly admire the marvelous works of the nineteenth century American landscape artists such as Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran. I have had the privilege of viewing some of the priceless originals of these famous artists at the Haggin Museum. Their works reveal richly varied effects of light and shadow, and myriad details. Their renderings I find very inspiring and of tremendous influence on my own style of painting, which is continually evolving as I walk down the road of life as an artist.
Also, I admire the Great works from the golden age of the Renaissance (16th century)…. such as that of Michaelangelo. In his figurative works, I love how they express feeling and graceful flow of movement. In addition, I appreciate and admire the art of the Italian Baroque period. (17th century). One of my favorites is the works of Caravaggio. His renderings are famous for their varied light and shadow effects of the subjects. When I created the piece “Mommy & Me” (which became a favorite), its light effects and feeling was based on my influences received from the art of that period. I have always loved dramatic lighting and vibrant color! I would like to add, that I appreciate many Great works of the past, which includes the various types of impressionism. Each having their own unique qualities they are most famous for. Last but not least, I certainly would not want to leave out the art of the 20th century and beyond. There are many wonderful artists today (too numerous to mention) whose fabulous works I greatly admire!
Seascapes are among the subjects I find most inspiring! I love to paint the sea, and enjoy creating various seascapes. While painting such pieces, I experience a wonderful sense of freedom and feel its calming effect, which flows throughout my entire being. Future works will involve more atmospheric effects, mood and drama, and possibly some marine life. One thing for sure, the compositions will be unique compared to those created in the past!
As for the medium I work with, over the years I have created a vast number of works in pastel and conventional oil. The past few years I’ve been painting exclusively with oil because I like its luminosity, intensity of color and depth. Though I have used conventional oil from the beginning, the last couple of years I have been painting with water soluble oil and love it! I use Holbein Duo Aqua Oil colors and am exceptionally pleased with the results they have given me, as well as being much safer for one’s health!
As for the surface I paint on, I have used stretched artist canvas for many years. However, the last few years I have been leaning toward (professionally primed) archival panels, and plan to continue using them. I enjoy painting on its smooth textured surface that is excellent for fine detail, something extremely important for my style of painting!
I have a huge supply of artist brushes that I use for various techniques. My brushes are of all shapes and sizes, from very large to tiny detailers. It is certain that no matter how talented an artist may be, if they don’t have the proper supplies to works with, they will be very limited in what they are able to do.
When I began a new piece, first of all I make a decision about the composition and create a sketched layout. Then I proceed with the under painting by the laying down of base colors in thin applications, beginning with the darkest tones of the shadowed areas. Next, I block in additional color, including the areas of lighter tonal values. Once that is accomplished, I gradually lay down heavier applications of paint, using the “wet on wet” technique most of the time. There are times I apply a wet on dry technique as well, after the painting has dried between painting sessions. It takes many sessions finish a painting. There is a tremendous amount of brushwork involved, and wherever needed, I use “glazing techniques” for various effects. And then little by little, I bring in more detail as the painting progresses. I leave the final touches of delicate highlighting and very fine details at the end for the completion of the work.
I believe God is the giver of all good gifts, and we should make the best use of the talents he has given us, whatever they may be. I paint not only for the satisfaction that it gives me, but with hopes that my renderings will (in some way) be a blessing to the beholder. I’m a perfectionist, and my supreme aim as an artist is to be always moving foreword with fresh new ideas, inspirations and skills. I feel that with art I should continually have an open mind, and not be afraid to experiment. I have grown to realize that challenges can be among our greatest teachers. I feel I should never be content with merely standing still, with God's help ever meeting new artistic challenges as a “conqueror to conquer” in traveling the road of life!