The great thing about art is you never know when you’re going to see the next great piece. Great artists come from all backgrounds and age is no limit. Abby Rose has managed to create a number of gasp worthy pieces of art…and she’s SO VERY YOUNG! The first time I saw one of her works I thought it was a digitally manipulated photograph. Guess what? They aren’t! She works in pastels! Aren’t you even a little impressed yet? Read on to learn more about this exceptional young artist.
What is your story? How did you become an artist?
My passion for art began as soon as I could hold a pencil and as soon as I saw my older sister doing it. Thanks Sis! My love for animals, particularly horses, inspired me to spend hours every day penciling in my sketch book. My family has always been so supportive, and they encouraged me to dream big! Being home-schooled gave me more opportunity than most to hone my skill and even use it as an extracurricular activity. Disney was a HUGE inspiration for me when I was younger and still is!
Do you have any artists that have really inspired your work?
Shortly after turning fourteen in 2010 I attended my first pastel class with renowned artist and my art idol Lesley Harrison. I grew up seeing her calendars on our wall and compared every horse painting I ever saw with the way she paints hers. She blows my mind the way she makes them come alive! I still cannot believe I have the privilege of knowing her and gleaning knowledge from her experience. Lesley’s friendship means the world to me.
What is your favorite medium to work with and why?
My first love will always be graphite. That being said when I tried pastels for the first time with the help of my Mentor, I felt like I had found the vehicle that could take me to all the places I wanted to go in my art. I am thrilled with the contrast of softness and detail the pastels allow me to place into my work! But I will always enjoy playing with new tools and mediums.
Do you plan on making art your career?
Part of my dream is for my art to provide for my family, traveling, and owning my own horse. In 2011 I was asked to paint my first commission; once I realized that people enjoy my artwork, I knew there was nothing else in the world I wanted to do more. Today I am building my business by attending shows, working on new paintings and drawings, and continuing to develop my style. I hope to grow the business and make it a life long love affair!
Do you prefer to work large or small or somewhere in the middle?
Somewhere in the middle! I love to mix things up, but right now my happy place is a nice medium canvas where I can play. It allows me to get that lick of satisfaction with some fine detail and personality, while still forcing me to look at the big picture and focus on the overall impression I get when looking at the piece.
How did the horse become one of your primary subjects?
Horses to me are the most beautiful and powerful creatures on earth! God created my sister and I with an innate love for them ever since the beginning. No one forced horses on us, but from the first horse beenie babies we could never get enough of them. Breyers, My Little Pony’s, Spirit Stallion of the Cimarron, you name it…we were obsessed with them. Jim’s horse in “Man From Snowy River” is my dream horse, and don’t get me started on the Black from “The Black Stallion”!
How did you develop your current style?
Practice, practice, and exploration! I was so fortunate to be given a great style foundation by my Mentor Lesley Harrison, but it has taken many hours of my own practice to find out what I like, where I want to improve, and to learn to trust my own artistic eye to create something uniquely me. The more I paint the more I develop. It’s such a fun adventure!
How do you get inspired?
Inspiration for me comes and goes. I am not always inspired on what to paint, rather, I am inspired TO paint. Either for a job, or to build my inventory. I actually find it freeing when I know I HAVE to paint something, and then I work within whatever boundaries those are to stretch my creative brain. I am often driven by challenges, and those never seem to be in short supply. A forever goal of mine is in every painting to bring personality and emotion to the subject, and create a lifelike softness that extends past the artwork into the viewers reality. It is an illusive goal and very rewarding when it comes through!
What is your history with horses?
I’ve been riding horses since I was seven years old and have ridden in CGA events and was taught to train horses for children’s therapy. More recently I have started cattle sorting (I think I might be addicted) and helping out with trail rides at an amazing local destination ranch called the Bar SZ which used to be the Doc Bar ranch!
My first horse was a complete miracle. Tommy (featured in the ocean painting) was a chestnut brown and white paint with a strong, independent personality and the biggest heart in a horse I have ever personally known. He was a very fast ex-barrel racer, yet in his early retirement he allowed me (a little girl who couldn’t reach the stirrups at the time) to ride at a trot and canter through all the events that he was accustomed to galloping through at top speeds. Tommy connected with me at my deepest heart level. I still cry whenever I think about him. Besides my sister he was my best friend, and we enjoyed many special years with him. He proved time and time again that he would have done quite literally anything for us. I will never forget how it felt to ride him, stroke his neck or look into his eyes.
What is your favorite part of being an artist? Any part you don’t enjoy quite as much?
Of course I love creating whatever I want to create, in whatever way I desire! However, in a more practical way I love that being an artist allows me to control my schedule. I have the freedom to go on trips, take time for family, sleep in, stay up late, go exercise, or take naps in the middle of the day! On the flip side, creating my own schedule and being my own boss can also be a huge stress. For me having no boundaries can sometimes be a cage of its own.
Do you have any plans for any upcoming shows or competitions?
Yes! I will have a booth at the San Benito Horse and Saddle Show, June 22nd – 24th.
On September 21st – 23rd I will be at the Draft Horse Classic in Grass Valley. I will have a painting in the art show and hopefully a booth there as well!
How can our readers purchase your artwork?
You can contact me through my website or find me through Facebook or Instagram. My website has all the information you might need on commissions, and I will be posting any new paintings up for sale on social media.