Kenna Al-Sayed is an award winning equine artist who captures the reality of horses in both her detailed paintings and her spirited sketches.
“Capturing not only the anatomical correctness of a horse, Kenna strives to catch the personality and emotion from each horse she draws. If a horse is happy, tired, frustrated, annoyed; she wants the viewer to feel that along with visual beauty that every horse emits. Riding horses for over sixteen years has also given her an intimate understanding of not only the personalities of horses, but also riding disciplines and the types of training styles associated with different breeds of horses.” she says on her about page on her website.
Kenna mainly takes her own reference photos for her drawings. Because of that, she is usually travelling around the country taking photographs of horses and horse events, to bring back to her home in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA to create her paintings from.
TFS: Do you own any horses yourself?
KAS: Yes, I have been riding and showing horses for over 20 years and at the moment I have a 23 year-old paint horse named Jambalaya who is enjoying retirement and being spoiled with treats. He has a bright sorrel coat which was the inspiration for calling my studio ‘Sorrel Studios’.
TFS: Can you tell us more about your style? Of all of the drawing styles you do, which is your favorite?
KAS: I have always worked in a realistic style, I love capturing as much detail as I can and am constantly striving to further my skills for portraying accurate and realistic equine artwork; be it in graphite, colored pencils, or watercolor. But thanks to injuring my drawing shoulder, I was unable to use my arm as I normally did for my highly detailed and time consuming works. I found myself developing and experimenting with more expressive ink sketches that capture the energy and movement of a horse. These ink sketches have become quite popular with my collectors.
I still though primarily market myself as a realistic artist because I really love bringing horses to life in my works.
TFS: Did you go to art school, or are you self-taught?
KAS: The only art classes I really had were when I was in high school, granted the high school had an absolutely stunning art department with a full facility. The rest of my education was self taught and just reading up how others worked and practicing nonstop.
TFS: Any works in progress?
KAS: Right now I’m in the midst of preparing artwork for multiple events: I’m working on entries for the American Saddlebred Museum’s Annual Art Auction, a few carriage based drawings for a show at Nickel Plate Arts in Indiana, I will be vending at the Hoosier Horse Fair, and I am working on Arabian horse artwork for the NAWASI exhibition I will be attending in Qatar. So lots of excitement going on at the moment!
TFS: Are there any artists/people that you are inspired by?
KSA: I love most of the old masters of equine art (Stubbs, Munnings, etc), but also am enamored with Surrealists (Salvador Dali is a favorite of mine). As far as contemporary artists, I have a great appreciation for the artists reviving classical realism, and of course my fellow equine artist colleagues; it’s always inspiring to see what other artists that cover the same subject as you are creating.
TFS: Any wise words for other artists?
KAS: There will be days where you don’t feel like working, but you have to get up and go paint. Being an artist is a job, and it’s one that will require quite a bit of self discipline and a mountain of commitment. Also, always keep learning; find new mediums to explore and techniques to try out. Some of my favorite works resulted in happy accidents.
TFS: What platform do you find best for promoting your art?
KAS: Promoting artwork I think will always evolve and include a learning curve, right now the most effective seems to be using social networking sites (such as Facebook or Instagram) and taking my artwork directly to people to via vending at events.
Water Color Sketches
Thanks for letting me share your artwork with my readers, Kenna! I wish the all the best at your shows/exhibits this year!
Huh? What? Well, I will believe that when I see flying Shetlands !