An Enduring Partnership
July 3, 2017
Quartz Hill Farm
July 3, 2017

The Art of The Arabian Horse

Khalifah, oil on natural canvas

By Sharon Meyers

Artist and photographer Samantha Pearce was attracted to horses from a young age. In the 1980s/90s she had the good fortune to work with Simeon Stud and Hawley Arabians and during a visit to France in 1998, she had the exciting opportunity of working with Shamilah Arabians. Her enthusiasm for beautiful and spirited Arabians also sparked Samantha’s interest in horse photography.

After returning from France, Samantha took a hiatus from both horses and art when she married and started a family. While raising her four children, Samantha’s flare for photography never waned and until recently she worked as a child and family photographer. Her children are now aged between 15 and 8 years and the good news is that Samantha now has more time to dabble in other activities. Her passion for painting has well and truly been rekindled!

When Did You First Pick-Up A Paintbrush?

My dad always drew and painted and I would draw alongside him, my favourite subject – horses! Eventually I worked for an art supply store and this is where I fell in love with the paints. I didn’t know I could paint at the time but I bought my first paints there. I loved to draw and was passionate about horses, so transferred all this love to paper. I did a lot of paintings of Arabians when I was 19 to mid-20s – sometimes I think my best work.

What Art Medium Do You Like Using?

Up until now, I’ve always used gouache paint (a mix of watercolour and poster paint). That was what I started with and it became my comfort zone. Recently I’ve branched out and am experimenting with pastels, coloured pencils and oil paints – sometimes combining watercolour/pastels/pencils. I’m still finding my way, always learning.

Why Horses And Arabians In Particular?

I’ve loved horses since I was a small child. My family were not horsey and we could never afford them. I saw my first Arabian Studs & Stallions magazine in 1982. Hamil was on the cover, standing in a creek – a Pat Slater photo and a lightning bolt hit me! From that moment on, it was only Arabians for me. I pored over magazines and loved the beautiful photos by such photographers as Pat Slater, Sparagowski and Rik Van Lent. All those beautiful early Arabian Horse World magazines from the 1980s inspired me so much. I learned photography later in life and dabbled in equine photography. Hopefully I will have opportunities in the future to continue with this line of photography. I love to work from my own photos, my own vision – from start to finish.

Where Does Your Inspiration Come From?

So many places! I love light, it drives my photography and is what I wish I could achieve in my paintings. I find Glenn Jacobs photography very inspiring; he really paints with light. I love the artist Ali Almimar’s work, his beautiful Arabian type, light and colour. Vladimir Volegov is a master of light and he paints beautiful women in glorious light with oils. Artists Marian Duncan, Jill Vanstone, and Anna Shaw are all so talented and have always been so friendly and supportive. Light, light, light and the horses themselves of course, the history of the breed, the old equine art masters.

When Someone Looks At Your Artwork, What Do You Want Them To Take Away From It?

I want people to feel the life of the horse and I want that horse to look alive and full of spirit. Someone once said my horses look like they might snort at you at any moment, swish a tail or blink an eye. I love that! Alive but still me – my own style.

Where To Next?

Keep learning – keep experimenting. Trying to attain that light! I wish I could tell more of a story with my paintings. I’m not where I want to be and time is my enemy but bit by bit, I hope to improve.