Tag Archives: equine paintings



URBAN GALLERY‘s artist for December 2018 offers up a whole herd of colourful, vibrant horses galloping across the gallery walls: VANESSA CUARTAS presents lively abstract equine portraits in her solo show BRIO that runs now until December 29th….a glorious exhibition on which to end the year!

Of Colombian heritage, Vanessa is originally from Miami, and now resides in Toronto. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Central Florida with an emphasis on graphic design, later receiving an Art Direction Diploma from the Miami Ad School.  Throughout her school years and any personal time, Vanessa always found time to paint as much as she could, and rode her family’s horses regularly. She became passionate about the Puerto Rican Paso Fino breed and if you look carefully at her paintings, you can see their influence in the  conformation (stance) of each subject.20181208_132318 20181208_132234We spoke with Vanessa just before the gallery doors were opened and here is what she shared…

A designer by day and artist by night, her passion for painting has grown stronger in recent years. When she first moved to Toronto, she was without an established circle of friends and struggling to find an artistic focus so Vanessa decided to do what she loved most: paint horses. Her unique contemporary style has found an appreciative audience and her circle of friends has grown exponentially, many of whom attended the gallery on Vanessa’s opening day, Saturday Dec. 8th (below).20181208_15345720181208_145619 20181208_145604Her bold colorful BRIO series conveys movement and a lot of positive energy that attracts attention, even from the littlest art fans….20181208_152742Joining Vanessa at the opening were her husband, Mario (below R) and brother JP (below (L)20181208_132939And gallery curator, Allen Shugar (below L) and gallery director Calvin Hambrook (below R) joined Vanessa to celebrate her opening.20181208_135152If you love horses, you will LOVE this exhibition….20181208_132332 20181208_132959 20181208_141302_001…and within the first half-hour of her opening reception, Vanessa had already sold one piece, titled “The Journey”(below)20181208_142046

20181208_132149 20181208_132114 20181208_135547 20181208_135803If you missed the opening reception, you can come meet the artist Saturday Dec.15th (2pm to 4pm) and you can also visit the gallery weekdays and Saturdays throughout the month of December. Log on to www.UrbanGallery.ca for hours and directions – located at 400 Queen St East, Toronto.IMG_3165


Bruce Lawes- On a Cloud


Congratulations to Bruce K. Lawes who has just launched a gorgeous new website via the US-based Fine Art Studio Online (FASO), artists’ web template company.  http://bklawesart.com/

I’ve worked with Bruce over the past 2 years and have witnessed his portfolio expand with commissioned portraits of beloved horses, commemorative Civil War scenes and historic re-imagining, canvases capturing African endangered species, stunning fall and winter landscapes….but this little cowgirl is always pulled towards his horses – the shaggy mustangs, the fancy dressage steeds, and the craggy rugged western range themes. the-power-of-one close-encounters

marmot-basin-on-high master-of-his-domain a-pryor-engagement paint-over-timeI asked Bruce to share his experience using FASO to launch his new website with my readers as I know there are a lot of painters and sculptors out there whose own sites need a serious upgrade in order to compete in the highly volatile art markets around the world, and here is what he said…..

Your new site looks absolutely stunning, Bruce – can you tell me about FASO and how easy it was to use/upload (as a non-tech person)?  I’m very pleased with the new website as I feel it’s easy to navigate and shows the art in my portfolio very well, and it offers e-commerce for my prints. FASO is dedicated to artists’ websites and truly assists the artist to showcase an exceptional representation of their work with ease and at a very reasonable price. The initial setup is a long process of uploading image after image, however, the individual process is made so easy to upload and place in each collection. If you have any problems FASO’s superb customer service techs are not only prompt, knowledgeable and courteous, they are available almost 24/7!shades-of-blues-and-graysHow important is it for artists to have a site that looks current and “responsive” (readable on smartphones & tablets as well as computers) and offers interactive elements like sales and newsletters?  For any artist, their website is paramount to their success. The ability to carry around your portfolio on your cell phone is invaluable. I’ve had many situations in casual settings where an opportunity to show potential collectors/buyers your work presents itself and out comes the cell phone. You never know who may be interested at any time. For those who know my work, the ability the website has to send out my monthly newsletter allows me to share my journey with my collectors on a more personal level. In fact, if you sign up to receive my e-newsletter “Bruce’s Monthly Palette”, you could be eligible to win a Limited Edition print of your choice valued at US$195.00. Each month, I will randomly pick a name from the list of subscribers and that lucky person will receive a print as a special thank you for joining my online gallery. Below are just a few of the Limited Edition prints from which you may choose.12113537_10156151524280154_2167750672140814310_oSince uploading all the pictures and text content, how much more can you do with your new site than before?  The new site not only allows me to do all that I’ve already mentioned but also the ability to merge with my Facebook and other social media networks plus enter monthly FASO art contests where winners are introduced to FASO’s email list of over 50,000 art enthusiasts! Overall I could not be happier.custer-before-the-storm

As Bruce says, FASO is a great website creation & promotional service for artists of any level and having worked with Bruce on his new website, I, too, can recommend their ease of use and their patient, caring customer service (great for non-techies like myself). So if you’re an artist looking to create a more competitive sexy site, you MUST visit http://faso.com/

And don’t forget to visit Bruce’s website and sign up for his monthly e-newsletter…you could be the next WINNER of a Limited Edition print. FYI: Bruce does not share your contact info with 3rd parties.


Bruce Lawes- Lincoln sculpture in progress (smaller file) (1)


I’ve had the honour of working closely with award-winning artist BRUCE K. LAWES for the past couple of years, helping raise awareness of his extraordinary talents, especially in the areas of equine portraiture and large scale Civil War historical re-imaginings.  His superb equine paintings are sought after by international art collectors and he has been commissioned for portraits by horse owners, breeders, mustang rescue groups, Olympic equestrians and racehorse trainers, as well as multi-national corporate clients.

Bruce Lawes- On a Cloud Bruce Lawes- With Grace

the Cloud portrait  Into the Light with BruceSince 2013, Bruce has attended the annual Battle of Gettysburg re-enactments each 4th of July long weekend, painting from his artist’s tent overlooking the battlefield. His work has been featured in both Union and Confederate-themed news as well as local Pennsylvania media, and last year he was featured in a CNN TV report on the 150th anniversary of the famous battle. His resulting portrait of a young Geo. Armstrong Custer (below) joining in the infamous Pickett’s Charge went to auction at the Coeur d’Alene auction of fine art in Reno, Nevada last July and quickly got snapped up by a Civil War art collector. Bruce’s other battlefield paintings have also done extremely well with Gettysburg aficionados.

Lawes_-_Custer__Before_the_Stormphoto 1Next month (on July 25th) Bruce’s work once again goes under the hammer at the Coeur d’Alene where his latest Civil War painting, A New Birth of Freedom (pictured below) a 50” x 40” oil on linen portrait of Abraham Lincoln pondering a brief speech he had just written to be delivered the next day at Gettysburg (now known as The Gettysburg Address), is anticipated to create quite the buzz in the American historical and museum communities.

A New Birth of Freedom - B.K.LawesI recently spoke with Bruce who told me about his creative process, the genesis of his Lincoln portrait and the prestigious endorsement he just received from leading Lincoln expert and award-winning author, Gabor Boritt*

What was you experience like last year at the Coeur d’Alene and what/who introduced your work to the prestigious auction?
BKL: As 2014 was my first time in this internationally renowned auction and, with a relatively untested subject matter for me (George Armstrong Custer) which I felt was done well, the unknown of whether anyone else felt the same was very nerve racking. When I first arrived in Reno, Nevada, the day before the auction and met the gallery and auction representatives, my worry vanished very quickly; they confirmed there had been a lot of interest in my painting and that the owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team was one notable individual who was going to be bidding on my painting.

Bruce Lawes- Custer composite of painting (1)Did the positive response to your Custer portrait inspire you to explore more historical re-imagining of Civil War milestones or personalities?
BKL: The response to Custer certainly made it desirable to explore other possible historical ideas for a painting that may intrigue a collector.

What first drew you to the Lincoln/Gettysburg Address subject?
BKL: My interest in Lincoln, as with many other people, is his persona and his accomplishments as the most revered President in American history. The significance of the date 2015 is that it represents the 150th anniversary of his assassination, and the Gettysburg Address being the most significant speech in the rebirth of America during the Civil War made it an important subject to paint.

You were given a lot of assistance with the actual location for the painting – the David Wills home – can you tell me who supplied photos and narrative descriptions in order for you to place Lincoln in an authentic setting?
BKL: While consulting my friend J. David (JD) Petruzzi**, award winning Civil War author and historian, as to how to portray Lincoln in a unique authentic setting, we discussed the David Wills House (pictured below) where Lincoln stayed the night before delivering his Gettysburg Address. With the creative and historical minds working together, my decision was to paint him the day before the Address (this painting) and in a second painting showing him during the day of the Address (I’m currently working on that one). The problem that I was faced with was an authentic reference for the bedroom Lincoln stayed in at the Wills house. Fortunately, the house was designated as a museum and the whole house and surrounding buildings in the Square have been maintained as they were back in 1863. JD and his partner, Lincoln historian Cindy Mullins, being from Pennsylvania, they kindly offered to travel to Gettysburg and take reference photos of the bedroom with the guidance of my mental sketch or vision.

Wills House 3

You first sculpted a clay bust of the President in order to commence work – how did this help you? Can you explain your painting process?
BKL:  As the photography of the day was poor quality and in black and white, I decided to sculpt Lincoln’s bust in order to position him in a pose that best suited my idea and I could also cast the light source accurately to show where shadows would have fallen. I used this 3-D model just as if the President was there in front of me posing for a portrait.

photo 1 photo 2Will that bust also be for sale at a later date?
BKL: Originally I thought I may cast it in bronze but that has not been decided yet…

In your mind, who would be the ideal buyer of this Presidential portrait, and why?
BKL:  Ideally, I would like the buyer to be a public gallery in order to be seen by the masses so as to continue Lincoln’s legacy – that we may continue to learn from our past mistakes and successes.

museum 3Apart from this unique Lincoln painting, what other projects are you working on and at what upcoming shows and sales will your work be featured?
BKL:  I am presently working on my painting for the Jackson Hole, WY, auction (www.trailsidegalleries.com) that will be very different from the Lincoln project, as the subject matter this time is wildlife. Also, with the recent history being made with Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah, one of my galleries wants me to paint all three jewels in the crown, so keep watching out for my next creation.

Bruce has received prestigious endorsements for his painting from two leading Lincoln experts :

“President Abraham Lincoln placed the finishing touches on his address on November 18, 1863, the evening before the dedication, while in this second floor bedroom of the David Wills home on Gettysburg’s town square.  Lincoln is depicted here at one window overlooking the square, deep in thought as he reviews his papers of simple yet forever poignant words that will come to represent America’s painful process of rebirth during the Civil War. Bruce Lawes’ marvelous and thought-provoking painting captures the beloved 16th president in a timeless way never achieved by any artist”. J. David Petruzzi, Award-winning Civil War author and historian

“Abraham Lincoln has been studied by historians for over a century and, not surprisingly, many choose to focus on the Gettysburg Address just as I did in my book, “The Gettysburg Gospel”.  On November 19th, 1863, there were thousands of people waiting to see and hear Lincoln. Some stayed up all night raising quite the ruckus. But in the morning, when the President looked from the Wills House where he stayed, he saw the respectful crowds. And today, in 2015, we have at last found a painter whose artistic skills and talent match that moment in history. Bravo, Bruce Lawes!”  Gabor S. Boritt, Emeritus, Robert C. Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies, Director of Civil War Institute, Chairman of the Board of The Lincoln Prize

So readers, I encourage you to log on to the Coeur d’Alene website to see this year’s auction offerings (some are expected to sell for well over $1million) http://www.cdaartauction.com/ and please visit Bruce’s own site (currently being re-designed) at www.bklawesart.com   You can also follow Bruce on www.Facebook.com/BKLawesart

Bruce is represented in the U.S. by Settlers West Gallery http://www.settlerswest.com/(AZ) and Trailside Galleries http://www.trailsidegalleries.com/ (AZ & WY)

Good luck, Bruce, we can’t wait to hear how well Abraham Lincoln did in Reno!

*Gabor S. Boritt, Emeritus
Robert C. Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies, Director of Civil War Institute and Chairman of the Board of The Lincoln Prize.
His newest book for young people: “The Will of God Prevails, Meditations on God and the Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln”illustrated, $9.95 is available from Amazon.com

** J.David Petruzzi