“I enjoy the challenge of bringing out the personality of the horse,” says Abby Rose of Heartworks who brings horses to life in art. She creates more-real-than-life paintings of horses using soft pastels as her “paint”.
Abby Rose got the horse bug from her parents. She and her older sister grew up wanting a horse and jumped at an opportunity to have the horse they were taking lessons on. “God provided us a horse; the very horse we were taking lessons on. We cared for him and rode him; our feet didn’t even reach the stirrups! We always put his needs first,” explained Abby Rose regarding her memories of her first horse, Tommy. “He was our heart horse.”
Horse Connection Brings Horses to Life in Art
That special connection Abby enjoyed with her horse now gives her the unique ability to bring horses to life in art. “How can I bring this animal to life and show its unique personality?” Abby questions and challenges herself when looking at a horse’s photograph she plans to turn into a work of art.
Abby’s Art Journey
Being the younger sister Abby copied her older sister’s artwork as a young child. “My sister used to get mad at me, then my mom explained to her that it was actually a compliment to have your art copied,” explained Abby regarding her artistic journey. “We drew everywhere we went: at restaurants, in the car, at the kitchen table, on long trips. Basically I’ve been drawing ever since I could hold a pencil,” described Abby.
As she dove into the world of realistic drawings she started with pencil drawings. Abby would copy a real picture and make it realistic. She then shared her drawings with her parents who were the first to recognize her special talent.
Meeting Her Mentor
While Abby was developing her style, a special relationship was developing between her grandparents and artist Lesley Harrison in Sutter Creek, CA. Lesley was also becoming a friend of the family. Abby recalls seeing Lesley’s artwork on the wall calendar in their house. Eventually Abby comes to the realization that someone painted the pictures. She was really struck by the detail and concludes, “I want to paint like that!”
Through a series of e-mail exchanges, and Lesley seeing the pencil drawings Abby showed to her parents, Lesley offered to mentor, then fourteen-year-old Abby. “This was not what I was expecting,” exclaimed Abby. Trips from her home in Hollister to Sutter Creek three to four times a year, staying with her grandparents while taking 3-day classes and meeting one-on-one with Lesley comprised Abby’s six year mentoring journey with artist, Lesley Harrison.
“She was just so generous, and so humble. Not many artists are like her,” says a very appreciative Abby. “So I asked her, ‘What can I do for you?’ She told me, ‘Pass this on. Remember what you have been given.’ ”
Your Heart Skips A Beat When You See It
The style of art Abby creates is Photorealism. Using soft pastels and layering the colors like an oil painting she brings a photo to life. “Yeah basically it’s considered Photorealism but I take creative liberties to change things. I make the photo come to life,” she explains. Drawing out the horse’s personality – its heart – is key to making the art come to life. In order to do this she spends time learning about the horse she is going to paint.
“I interact and talk with the horse’s owners to get a feel of the personality of the horse,” explains Abby regarding how she begins to understand the heart of the horse in the photograph. She prefers meeting the horse in person, but that is not always possible.
Other Heartworks Products
Mostly Abby does commission artwork, where she paints a special custom piece for her clients. She uses top-quality pastel and a special canvas, which provides longevity and non-fading color. The final product is delicate yet when asked about the medium she says, “It’s worth the visual affect. Nothing else can make it look so life-like.”
Abby Rose of Heartworks is also developing prints and other products like note cards. She may add pencil drawings to the offerings, because they are easier and less expensive to create. It takes her about a month to complete a soft pastel custom order, so new commissions go on the waiting list.
Abby Rose Looks to the Future
Abby is exploring her style and subjects. “I’d like to develop paintings that use brighter colors, along with faded colors and colors that make you feel relaxed. My favorite thing is where one element stands out, especially with a contrast in color.”
She is taking new commissions and wants the horse world to know she is available to capture the beauty of a special horse partner. She does this by bringing a photograph to life and forever etching the memory of a moment of a horse’s life in one’s mind and heart.
Cover Photo: “Team Meeting” by Abby Rose
Photo Credit: Abby Rose of Heartworks