When I was younger, my father -- then a rising star among California landscape artists -- visited Yosemite National Park. The result was a stunning series of landscape paintings that brought to life the magnificence of the mountains, streams, trees and rocks. Each piece was a labor of love, each canvas a reflection of the intricacies of nature that must have nearly overwhelmed him upon first sight.
When I met with artist Carole Andreen-Harris at Santa Anita one morning before Breeders' Cup, I imagined that she must have had similar feelings. Andreen-Harris, who lives in Arizona and has spent years photographing and painting racehorses at local racetracks such as Rillito Park, was suddenly in the midst of the greatest equine athletes in the world. I could feel her excitement as she photographed them jogging, galloping, and breezing by in the crystal clear October sunshine with the picturesque backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains.
Visual artists are unique human beings, driven by a desire to express life's beauty in a tangible medium. Andreen-Harris strives to translate the visual power and poetry of the horse in painting. With a lifelong love and obsession for everything equine, she has a special passion for horse racing. Her trip to Santa Anita yielded more than 400 photographs suitable for painting, and she has already begun work on some, including a lovely study of the head of a chestnut horse, for which she sent me a sneak peek.
Her style is one of realism, with the horses the focal points in her paintings. Her use of light to accentuate their sleek coats, combined with the detail of each straining muscle, gives the viewer a sense of the excitement and action of the Thoroughbred racehorse. To see more examples of her work, visit her website at www.andreenharris.com.
This post is dedicated to the memory of my father, landscape artist Bernard Wynne, who passed away November 15, 2009, at the age of 89. He lives on in his works.