Hollie Berry at Rolex

A Painter’s Perspective from Hollie Berry

Equestrians look at horses different than most people. A painter sees them in an even different way. To find out a little more about a painter’s perspective of our favorite furry friends, I talked to Holle Berry who I met at Rolex last month. Hollie is an amazing artist who captures every horse she paints perfectly and in a way that captures their personalities in a way as unique as they are.

How did you get started in painting?

I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil. I’ve been fortunate to have parents who recognize and support my interest in art, despite not being artists themselves. I was homeschooled until 8th grade, but since my mother couldn’t provide much art instruction she encouraged me by taking me to the Houston Museum of Fine Art and Texas Art Supply regularly. She made sure I always had the materials, time, and space I needed to practice. As I got better she enrolled me in private art classes, including an oil painting class starting when I was just 9 years old. Oil painting has remained my primary medium to this day.

If you could have dinner with any artist, past or present, who would it be and why?

Perhaps I would choose Artemesia Gentileschi. I could talk to her about what it was like being a successful female artist in a time that puts my challenges to shame.

What drew you to painting horses?

Horses have always been a deep part of my psyche, though I struggle to explain why. I grew up in Texas, but I lived in the suburbs with no horses nearby. Neither my parents nor anyone else close to me had horses, yet I was obsessed from an early age. I did go to the Houston Rodeo every year as a child. My mother would take me to see the Rodeo Trail Ride coming into town. None of this can fully account for my fascination, however. Although I love all types of animals, horses are in a class of their own. They have achieved an almost mythical status, like a dragon or griffon, that are too magnificent for reality yet somehow, here they are. That’s why I never seem to tire of painting them.

What is your favorite aspect of a horse to paint? (action, faces, etc.)

I definitely favor compositions that emphasize either the raw power, fluid grace, or gentle intelligence of these animals. As a result, I tend towards scenes of either intense athleticism or a quiet contemplative reflection of the unlikely bond between horse and human.

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