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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
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