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Equine Enterprise Profile: Shannon Lawlor of Shannon Lawlor Fine Art Inc. by Carol M. Upton

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   December 31, 2012 17:04



A browse through Shannon Lawlor’s online gallery explains why she is considered by Western Fine Art Collectors to be a premier bridle horse illustrator. Her paintings tap into our imaginations, yet also capture, with energy and spirit, real-life moments of working stock horses, ranching families and riders. A striking feature of her work is the animation in the faces of her equine subjects, something that is often lacking in animal art. Other pieces by Shannon include detailed and memorable close up images of inanimate objects such as spurs, knots, and chapetons, which are so fascinating to lovers of historical Western riding traditions.

Shannon never knew a life without horses. She had Welsh Ponies as a child and then grew up on a ¾ Arab Gelding, whom she describes as “….the horse that shaped everything for me.” Shannon has always worked in the horse/agricultural business - as a veterinary assistant, starting colts, working on cattle ranches and in feedlots. She had not planned on being an artist; however, as she embraced the desire to paint and with horses as her clear inspiration, she realized that art as a business was quite possible, and made that transition 8 years ago.

Like the development of any business, building a name for Shannon Lawlor Fine Art Inc. has taken time and dedication. It requires being on the road at shows and doing what Shannon calls “brush mileage”, consistently spending a lot of time in her studio in Nanton, Alberta, perfecting and honing skills. She devotes weeks at a time to researching her subject matter and in addition, wears all the hats the average self-employed business person must wear, keeping up with office tasks and coordinating multiple Art and Trade show events.

“I keep reinventing myself,” Shannon says, “because I want to improve as an artist. My vision is constantly changing. Of course, raising your own bar can be the most challenging thing to undertake.”




Shannon sees forward thinking as imperative in the equine art business. She is inspired by the many great equine artists in Western Canada alone and she finds support in meeting them at the trade shows to be the best form of professional development.

Shannon still has finger paintings of horses from her kindergarten days and it is evident that her joy in her work is simply a passion for the equine. She continues to seek out the horses that inspire her as subjects. What is her advice to others who want to pursue a career in equine art?

“You need to have faith that it is going to work. Be prepared to pay your dues, to do without, and to keep at it.”

This discipline and commitment have served Shannon well over the past 8 years. Her art is featured on international magazine covers, including Western Horseman, and on television for Canadian Cowboy Country. She has an impressive list of awards in art competitions across the country, most recently first place in the Ex Arte Equinus International Competition for Art Horse Magazine in Beaumont, Texas 2011/2012 with her painting of Casey, a Grade Percheron stallion. Shannon is the only artist to have placed first twice in this competition. She continues to participate in many invitational arts shows, including the Calgary Stampede, Phippen Museum and the Greeley Stampede.

About the Artist:

Shannon resides in Alberta where traditional bridle horse culture is strong. Her images portray the working stock horse and pay tribute to working horsemen and horses alike maintaining old traditions throughout North America. Visit Shannon at: www.shannonlawlor.com

Carol Upton (604) 886-8951
Dreams Aloud Promotions
~ Linking your dreams to the world
Website:      www.dreamsaloud.ca
Twitter:         http://twitter.com/#!/Karolka
LinkedIn:      http://linkd.in/qyQNxy
Facebook:   http://on.fb.me/dTidfK

HOT:          http://www.horseownertoday.com/vendor.aspx?vid=79

Equine Enterprise Profile: Paper Horse Photography with Andrea Blair By Carol M. Upton

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   December 18, 2012 07:48

 




Photography began for Andrea Blair when she was only 5 years old. Andrea’s family had always been creative in film and photography, so she naturally absorbed a love of this art through them. Today, she is renowned for her work from her Paper Horse Photography studio in Salmon Arm, B.C., showcasing the intense connection between people and animals, particularly horses.

Whether a client wants a farm family session, fun photos of horses and dogs, or a professional equestrian event shoot, Andrea is there with the skills to create a relaxed combination of client bond with her vision.

“I believe stepping out of the box is important,” Andrea says, “ embracing myself as an artist and following my own path.”

For Andrea, that means illuminating the love between pets and their people in the most creative possible ways, while still reflecting individual spirit. Only a trip through her online gallery can possibly do justice to this sensitive and patient work.

Andrea started in wedding and family photography, but quickly realized that her heart is with photographing animals and the lives that people build around them. Several years ago, she began connecting with the equine community via horse sport events and has never looked back.

Andrea is a busy mom who also works another full-time job, so organization and tight deadlines are the watchwords of her day. She often fits her photography work, image editing and email processing long into the night.

Andrea describes herself has having “…. a big heart and big dreams.” Always seeking another challenge, one of her biggest joys is traveling across the provinces meeting new people and their animals. She is now spearheading the second year of her Senior Horse Project.

“I am inspired by life in all its stages - every wrinkle, pucker, protrusion, sway back, grey hair or lack of teeth that tell the story of who these horses are at this stage in their life. As I photograph them I am further intrigued to hear their story as told by the people who love them.”

Once she has enough senior horses photographed, Andrea will compile their images and stories together to produce a book. She invites queries on this project and the focus in early 2013 will be on miniatures. Sales of prints have been particularly popular this year for Paper Horse Photography and Andrea is excited about the new energy her work is bringing to her in 2013.

Andrea Blair | Paper Horse Photography is a portrait photographer specializing in equine and canine photography with a style consisting of candid, heartfelt and emotional imagery. Based in Salmon Arm, BC Andrea is always eager to capture the bond between people and their animals. Visit her gallery at http://www.andreablair.com or her Blog at http://www.ablairphotographyblog.com

 

Carol Upton (604) 886-8951
Dreams Aloud Promotions
~ Linking your dreams to the world
Website:      www.dreamsaloud.ca
Twitter:         http://twitter.com/#!/Karolka
LinkedIn:      http://linkd.in/qyQNxy
Facebook:   http://on.fb.me/dTidfK

HOT:          http://www.horseownertoday.com/vendor.aspx?vid=79

Equine Enterprise Profile: Thunderfoot Studio with Vivian Harder by Carol M. Upton

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   August 3, 2012 14:45

 

 





Drawing and painting horses has come naturally to Vivian Harder and is always at the heart of her work in Thunderfoot Studio.  She has owned horses her entire life, knows their anatomy intimately, and strives to bring their spirit and power to every painting she does.


Harder’s artistic talent appeared in early childhood and she sold her first horse painting at age 14.  After graduating art school, she started out by freelancing logos and brochures.

“It was a job but I had no passion for it.  I decided I wanted to work in the horse industry and paint horses.  I live in Langley B.C., where every farm has horses, so I was lucky that a market for my work existed here.”

Harder describes the development of her equine art business as an “ongoing dance”.  This dance includes attending endless trade and art shows, handing out brochures, getting into galleries, volunteering, networking with the equine industry, and painting, painting, painting.  No two days are ever the same.  She may be creating packaging graphics for horse treats one minute and finishing a commission of galloping horses the next.

“I always start my equine paintings with accurate illustrations, drawing inspiration from photos, memories and reference material from my horsey lifestyle; then I put those things aside and let my free spirit take me where it will.”

Harder’s joy is working with horses and their people, learning something new each day and finding creative freedom.  Her greatest challenge is in marketing, as it is for so many equine businesses.  She would prefer to just paint and not have to work the business side, but she knows that is unrealistic.

Overcoming such a challenge is not easy.  Harder has joined equestrian and artist groups whose members offer support and networking opportunities.  Aside from talent, the advice she offers to those who would like to start a career in equine art is to be outgoing, find your market and introduce your work to them.  It is important to be visible.

Future plans for Thunderfoot Studio include seeking more representation.  Harder feels that the less time she spends on marketing, the more time she can spend in her studio, where luminous colors and sleek equine images bloom, and she can continue creating the fresh, imaginative work that is uniquely hers.

Vivian Harder’s life-long joy has been sharing her art with others and she is known for her unique style of painting, which combines realism with the creativity of vibrant, sensual strokes of color in oils and watercolors. A love of animals and nature, combined with a compelling desire to draw and paint have been the artistic driving forces in Vivian’s life since she was a young child. Visit Vivian at www.thunderfootstudio.com

Carol Upton (604) 886-8951
Dreams Aloud Promotions
~ Linking your dreams to the world
Website:      www.dreamsaloud.ca
Twitter:         http://twitter.com/#!/Karolka
LinkedIn:      http://linkd.in/qyQNxy
Facebook:   http://on.fb.me/dTidfK

HOT:          http://www.horseownertoday.com/vendor.aspx?vid=79

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