Sunday, August 6, 2017

Horses in Art: An Interview with Artist Paulina Stasikowska by Gina McKnight

(c) Paulina Stasikowska, Artist

Horses in Art: An Interview with Artist Paulina Stasikowska
Archived Article from the May 2017 Issue of Arabian Finish Line

“Art and horses are a very important part of my life.
I can't imagine my life without them.”

From Poland, Paulina Stasikowska has been painting portraits of animals for many years. She has captured the charm, excitement, and passion of animals for people from around the world. A horse enthusiast, Paulina’s portraits of horses are well-known for their subtle detail, exquisite lines, and soothing aesthetics. Interested in art as a young child, Paulina began drawing in early childhood, when she was around four-years-old.

Welcome Paulina!

GM: Specializing in equine art, you must love horses. What is your horse history? 
PS:   I have always liked animals because I grew up around them. I first went to the stables when I was 10 years old because at the time it was my greatest dream to ride horses.

I probably inherited this passion from my great-grandfather, who was a polish uhlan [cavalryman]. He had many horses and loved them very much. After my first visit to the stable nearby, I felt something wonderful. I fell in love with the horses. It seemed to be in my blood.

Paulina and Bonita
Thereafter I only tried to draw horses. They were the main inspiration for my drawings. I made countless number of sketches, trying to capture their beauty.
In the year 2000, I bought my first set of soft pastels. At the beginning when I used them, my drawings looked rough as I pressed down the pastels too heavily on the paper. I haven't had a teacher or any classes so I had to learn by myself how to draw, using them by trial and error. The learning process took a long time, but I had exceptional perseverance.

In the meantime, I finally managed to become a horse owner. This was one of the most memorable moments of my life. My first horse is a mare and I’ve named her Bonita. She is now 13 years old. We spend as much time together as possible. She inspires me every day. I think that I owe many things to her being by my side. She gives me the energy to get through the difficulties of life.

GM: Bonita sounds wonderful! Horses do have the power to help us deal with life’s challenges. Your passion and appreciation for horses is exhibited in your divine art. Describe your studio where you create...
PS:   Nowadays I draw in a small room in my flat, where I have good natural light and all the necessary things; a comfortable chair, a big desk, copious amounts of soft pastels and of course a nice cup of coffee.

GM: Do you have a muse that inspires and drives your creativity?
PS:   As I said before, my muse is my horse Bonita, but I now also own two cats that also appear in my drawings from time to time. I enjoy drawing different types of animals, but horses are still my favourite motif. I am also sometimes inspired by music.

GM:  Some artists paint every day, while others paint when they feel in the mood. What enhances your motivation and do you paint every day or when the mood strikes you?
PS:   When I was younger and had less experience, I had to be in the right mood and have strong inspiration to start drawing something interesting.  Now I only need a comfortable place, a piece of paper and some pastels to get me started as drawing has become a part of my weekly routine.

GM: You use a wide variety of colour and hues. What medium is your favourite to work with?
PS:   I like to experiment with paintings using various materials and techniques. I have used other types of pastels, charcoal, watercolours and more, but by far the soft pastels are still my favourite tool. Many years later since I started using soft pastels, I still discover new ways to draw and express myself with them.

GM: The world is full of equine artists, but you have a special way of bringing the essence of the horse into a room. What techniques do you use to capture the beauty and fluidity of horses?
PS:   What is my special way of bringing the essence of the horse into a room? I think I try to capture a horses’ soul. It's very difficult. They say that the eyes are the mirror of the soul and when you draw the horse’s eyes you have to remember that.

I endeavour for perfection in drawing but I still want to keep improving my skills. Art and horses are a very important part of my life. I can't imagine my life without them. It gives me power and a good attitude in life and helps me perceive the world in many different ways.

GM: Do you have a favourite painting of your own collection?
PS:   I’ve created a special series of horse drawings which I’ve called the “Magic Horses” because I can use much more of my imagination compared with more detailed realistic portraits. The Magic Horses series allows me to show the volatility, lightness, and huge scale of colours, although the drawings appear unfinished. There was also a time when I experimented with fabric paint and painted horses on clothes, it was great fun!

GM: What are you currently painting?
PS:   I'm currently working on my own collection of horse portraits. The first one will be my mare Bonita; she has priority over others :)

Connect with Paulina…

Gina McKnight is an author and freelance writer from Ohio, USA.

(c) Paulina Stasikowska, Artist

(c) Paulina Stasikowska, Artist

(c) Paulina Stasikowska, Artist

(c) Paulina Stasikowska, Artist

(c) Paulina Stasikowska, Artist

(c) Paulina Stasikowska, Artist

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