“Riders Of The Storm” Watercolor by Deborah Flood
The form of the Horse is my vessel to communicate.- Deborah Flood
Location: Maine, USA
When Deborah Flood was a child, she would draw horses relentlessly, day, night, everyday. Some of her fondest memories are drawing horses and ponies. “I drew the horse every day. Constantly, endless days and nights of drawing the horse.”
Flood says that she was inspired by the training that N.C. Wyeth gave his son about drawing. “He set down a human skull onto the table and told him to draw it over and over again. Andrew reached a point where he could draw that skull with his eyes closed.This is the training I gave myself, of drawing the horses that we owned. That study set me up for a life time of drawing and painting skills.”
Now, Flood has been working in the human form as well. Sometimes using both horse and human to communicate to the viewer through the painting that she has created. She says that her work are “messages of empowerment” to the viewer. She works from her own photos and the experiences she has had through her life with horses.
So, yes, I draw and paint horses, but to the end of getting my message out there. My vision, my journey through this life, as seen through the form of the horse, is the vessel that I use. – Deborah Flood
Below you can read more about Deborah Flood and her thought-provoking equine paintings in the exclusive interview with TFS!
TFS: How long have you been around horses? Did you always want a career with them?
DF: I grew up on an Appaloosa Horse Farm, and my Grandparents raised Morgan Horses, and my Mother’s Aunt raised Arabian Horses. I was around those horses on a daily basis, for the first 20 years of my life.
My Grandmother (who raised the Morgan Horses) was a professional artist, which was also an influence in my creativity. I had always created the horse in drawings and paintings when I was a child, and from early on, I knew I was an Artist, and that, that is what I would always be. I also knew that I wanted to create the horse in art, to express the connections and emotions that I felt for them. I didn’t really think about having a career ‘with’ horses, it was more about putting the horses into my art career.
“Bogged down In Horse Play” Watercolor by Deborah Flood
TFS: Any upcoming art shows/exhibits?
DF: I have two watercolors juried into the Red River Valley Museum Western Art Exhibit and Sale at the Red River Valley Museum, Vernon, Texas. June 3- July 29, 2016
“Clearing Skies” Watercolor by Deborah Flood
TFS: Where can people go to see your art?
DF: My work is available online at www.debfloodart.com, my Facebook page: Deborah Flood Illustrative paintings, and Instagram , as well as Twitter. Links to those pages are on my website.
People can also visit my studio by appointment. Or watch for exhibit announcements and dates on my website.
At the moment, I am in the construction process of building a new studio and gallery space for me to work in, and also for clients and customers to browse and shop. It should be completed enough for patrons within a year.
“Constant Infinity” 13 x 15 Watercolor Deborah Flood
TFS: Can you tell us more about your style?
DF: My work is detailed representational.
I use the medium of Watercolor on paper, in the traditional manner of layering transparent color over transparent color, which allows the color below to glow through. Not very much water is used in my watercolors, as I implement dry brush techniques quite often.
I also enjoy working with the buttery consistency of Oils on canvas and panels. I apply the same skills and knowledge to the Oils as I do my Watercolors. I have been exploring different techniques with oils as of late, and working with thin glazes.
Many have stated that my style can be recognized whether it is oil on canvas, or watercolor on paper.
“Escape Artists” 20 x 16 Watercolor Gouache by Deborah Flood
TFS: Do your ever paint live? Or do you stick to using reference photos?
DF: I have gone to horse shows and drawn from life there, at times. I also enjoy photographing, and love to use my own photos for my reference in creating studio pieces. I find that in taking my own photos to work from, that the photo I take, is the first step in the creation process of a studio painting. I often have certain thoughts or feelings that go on when I take the photos, and I seem to remember that feeling when I go to the studio and check the images for use in a work of art.
I don’t use the photo’s colors, backgrounds, and such in a painting. I usually create my own composition, time of day, and geographical area. Many times, I create a story within the art, which the photograph doesn’t show. Pretty much all of my pieces; convey a message about my own experiences, having grown up with horses.
“Moon Shine Run” Watercolor by Deborah Flood
TFS: Are there any artists/people that inspire you with your art, or that you admire for something?
DF: There are many professional western artists that inspire me, too numerous to list here. They always tell a wonderful story, and handle the paint so well.
TFS: Any wise words for other artists?
DF: If you feel driven to create, do it. Learn as much as you can, about your subject and your materials. Keep learning and pushing yourself. Find the subject matter that you enjoy the most, and could spend the rest of your life exploring and creating and just do it. Rejections will come, but stay true to your course. And never believe that you have learned it all. Most of all, create every day, for there is true learning in doing.
“Platadero” Watercolor by Deborah Flood
TFS: What are the ways you find most useful for promoting your art?
DF: Social media is a huge part of my promotions right now. I also have an email newsletter, where people can sign up for free, on my website.
I belong to several professional Art Organizations, that host exhibits in Galleries and Museums, where I can enter my work. Being accepted into those exhibits are huge promotions, where the work is often noticed and contacts are made.
Also, when I was attending booth shows with my art booth, I met so many people. I did those shows for about 20-30 years and became sought after each year.
I also attend horse shows and get to know the people who frequently visit them.
“A Path Traveled by Many” 8″ x 10″ watercolor by Deborah Flood
TFS: Is there a medium that you have not worked in but would like to?
DF: Sculpture/Clay. I’ve dabbled in it, but would like to try some more serious stuff. I’ve recently acquired a Kiln and potters wheel, and I’m looking forward to playing in the mud.
TFS: Is there something that you would like to paint but haven’t?
DF: I would like to paint Mexican and Spanish Women and men in Period clothing with their Spanish Horses. I love painting cloth and all those gorgeous colors in the women’s dresses inspire me! I’ve done a couple paintings on this subject matter, but I would love to experiment in this subject more.
“Safe In The Sage Watercolor” by Deborah Flood
TFS: Do you give workshops/classes?
DF: I used to teach children, 8 yrs and up, How To Draw The Horse. I was also an Artist in residence at a horse riding instruction farm, where I taught Horse Art to the summer campers who were learning to ride and take care of horses. It was a wonderful collaboration of horse camp and art! The students created large portraits of their assigned lesson horse, on sheets of wood panels and they were attached to the horse’s stall door! Their art was always on exhibit in the barn!
“Scratchin'” 6 x 6 Oil on Panel by Deborah Flood
TFS: Do you ever use your own horses as models?
DF: I do not own horses now, but I have put my horses from the past into my art. They were the ones who influenced my love of painting horses!
TFS: Do you have any works in progress?
DF: I have works in progress, ongoing, all the time. I paint and work every day in the studio.
“Spirit Horse Pass” Watercolor by Deborah Flood
Since you are the founder of the Institute Of Equine Artists, can you tell us a bit about it? How does it benefit artists?
DF: Mission Statement:
The IEA is a place of Camaraderie, Networking, and sharing in the everyday life of being an Artist. It is a place to come to, where more seasoned artists can help the new comers and amateurs who would like to further their Equine Art Career.
It is simply an online Membership platform, for artists to network with likeminded artists. Aside from being listed in the Artist Directory on the IEA Website with a link, and having the opportunity to purchase a personal web-page on the IEA website, Members may promote themselves through provided online platforms, such as the IEA Blog, which streams through the IEA Twitter Account, and the IEA Facebook Page.
Members do have the opportunity to exhibit in online IEA member exhibits.
Through sharing our work with one another, we get inspired; learn about different mediums, and techniques. Through Networking, we learn about exhibits and what shows to enter. We also learn about the everyday business of running an Art Business and tips of the trade.
All Associate Members are eligible to apply for Signature Status. Signature Status in the IEA holds Members to a higher standard than the Associate Member. The Signature Membership Artists are the ones who professionally represent the IEA.
TFS: How did you get the idea to start Institute of Equine Artists?
DF: The group started out as a handful of Equine Artist friends from America, Canada and Australia, who knew each other through other online groups and memberships. We wanted a place to network, share, and have an online community and professional presence for Equine Art. The fact that we are all artists, and we are running our own studio businesses, made it hard to find someone who could find the time, or the passion, to get such an endeavor off the ground. So, I jumped in and created a website, set up the database and platform, and there we were. As the Membership became more popular, more artists joined the organization. The membership has blossomed into a wonderfully diverse group of Equine Artists.
TFS: Do you do everything on your own, or do you have staff as well?
DF: The membership is a volunteer membership. When members can help, they do. Many help with the social media posts and things like that.
The Signature Members and The Master Signature Members are called upon when voting is needed, exhibit venues scoped out, or advertising /marketing help is needed.
I run the membership as an extension of my own studio business, so I take care of the website, membership database, dues, and internal running and Administration of the organization.
The IEA held a Signature Member Exhibit in the International Museum of Art of El Paso, Texas in August 2014. There was a huge turnout for the opening reception, which a handful of exhibiting members were able to attend. It was a wonderful group exhibit of diverse Equine Art.
Signature Members of the IEA, with friends and family, at the International Museum of Art of El Paso, Texas August 2014.
“Tell Me It’s OK” Watercolor by Deborah Flood
“The Scent of Another” 12 x 12 Oil on Panel by Deborah Flood
Paint Brush 10 x 8 oil by Deborah Flood
Thank you, Deborah, for letting me share your art with my readers!