Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Yvonne Kitchen, Bronze Portraits from Nature

I am beginning my contribution to our horse blog at a very exciting time for me having just heard from the Society of Animal Artists that I have been accepted as an Associate Member. I am hoping that this association will be as meaningful as have been my membership in the Equine Art Guild and Associate Memberships in the Women Artists of the West and American Academy of Equine Art. Being the widow of a university professor (of Veterinary Medicine) it is easy to understand how much I appreciate belonging to organizations that promote lifelong learning. The Society of Animal Artists letter came in quick succession with having my latest bronze "Hobbled", a portrait of Mulemanship Clinician Brad Cameron and his beautiful young mule Concho, win 1st place in the Sculpture Division at the 49ers Death Valley Days Art Show, and all three of my entries, "Florida Cracker Cowboy", "Hey, Mom!", and "Kate & Dan", juried into the Women Artists of the West A Mountain Holiday Small Works Show in Pinetop, AZ with "Hey, Mom!" selling before the show even opened. All four of these bronzes can be found on my website with "Hobbled" being found with my other new work on the In the Works page.

Like many equine artists, my passion for horses started very early, and I was fortunate that when my Daddy, an artist who worked primarily in graphite, guache, and pen & ink creating very accurate, detailed drawings of football teams that were as true to their subject as my equine portraits, had his heart attach when I was three we spent endless hours drawing as I sat with him on the hospital bed set up in our dining room. To this day when I am teaching, I still hear his voice echoing in my brain "if you want to draw horses, you have to Really Look at how the legs go..." His Dad was a horse trainer, my maternal grandfather a pastellist who also influenced my work, and my maternal great-grandfather the first thoroughbred breeder in Northern California. So I guess you could say I have Horse and Art throughout my genes.
Add to that all the years of raising, training, and grooming not only horses but a wide variety of domestic and exotic animals, and I sculpt as much by feel as by sight. And I always strive to bring out the personality rather than mere anatomical correctness whether taking a trip down memory lane such as with my "Major Trilogy", doing a commission such as "Dancing Morgans" or "Bruce and Bing", or creating trophies such as the mule, donkey, and draft horse I did for Winnemucca Mule Races.

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