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For the Love of Horses

Shannon Lawlor’s sharp-eyed glimpses of horses, painted in meticulous detail

Acrylic on wood panel
24 x 36 inches

THE ARTIST: Shannon Lawlor

​KNOWN FOR: Sharp-eyed glimpses of horses, painted in meticulous detail.

A LIFE IN PAINT: "I've lived my whole life with horses and the equestrian lifestyle—working for trainers, in an equine vet clinic, on ranches. That was my life's work, and it translated into my artwork. I thought: 'If I've lived it, then I can paint it really well.'"

A LONGER LOOK: "I don't always meet the horses, but they've got to be exuding something that makes me look longer than I should. If I go to a dressage show or a rodeo I can take thousands of pictures. I may work from a multitude of photos to get one image, and then I spend more time drawing to get the composition right."

DELIGHTING IN DETAILS: "I paint on Baltic birch because it's got a very smooth surface. When you're painting every hair and eyelash, the tooth of a canvas just fights against you. I can obsess over details—I love looking at a bridle and you can see where it was worn on another horse and the buckle has made an impression in the leather—that's my happy place, where I'm comfortable."

UNIVERSAL APPEAL OF HORSES: "Maybe a painting will remind a person of something from their past or a horse they used to have. The images can give a sense of peace or freedom or a sense of calmness."

NEXT: Lawlor is the 2017 Calgary Stampede poster artist. July 7-16, calgarystampede.com.

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