Meghan’s watercolor and oil paintings start out as any other artist’s paintings would; the tentative brush strokes across a new, clean canvas, the starting of a new journey of bringing a new scene to life. But somewhere along the journey Meghan brings in her own uniqueness into the painting, showing the true, raw personality of the horse she is painting–whether it’s a horse prancing in watercolors or the sharply defined driving horse in oils, you can catch just a glimpse of it’s soul.
When Meghan was nine, she discovered her passion: Horses. Soon afterwards, a copy of the classic Black Beauty by Anna Sewell followed, uncovering her interest in art after studying Lucy Kemp-Welch’s paintings that showed the life of Black Beauty. “The story of Black Beauty is not something that necessarily struck me – It was the illustrations and color plates found in those pages by Lucy Kemp-Welch. The paintings were so moody, so realistic, and further affixed the main characters with personalities, while the drawings tended to do more of the visual narrating.” Meghan stated.
Of course, most little girl’s dreams are of having their very own pony one day. Meghan’s first pony, Copper, was too small to ride, so she drove him with a cart. You can see her love of driving clearly through her many paintings of driving horses and mules.
I still consider driving to be my first love and why I’m naturally drawn to representing harness horses; I am immediately taken back to the many hours I spent sitting at the end of a pair of drive lines as a youngster.-Meghan Hager
Meghan says that her smaller mixed media would is like a nod to storytelling, though her large paintings are meant to “echo the size of the subject”.
Meghan says that, “I want my viewer to sense the restrained, or not so restrained, power these creatures exude, as if you could hear the rhythmic ringing of chains on their traces as they step. There’s a job to be done and they go about it with a sense of ownership of the task. What is that unit of measurement the horses’ contemporary, the motorized vehicle, is configured by? Horsepower.”
Meghan Hager was on #equinearthour this past Sunday (6/19/16). Below is her Q&A!
TFS: How long have you been around horses? Did you always want a career with them?
MH: I’ve been riding since I was seven, drawing since I could hold a pencil! Knew I wanted to do SOMETHING with horses. Didn’t know what, originally wanted to be a farrier, knew I wouldn’t be a trainer or anything, art was the obvious answer!
TFS:When did you first start creating art? Do you/your family have an artistic background?
MH: NOPE! totally the black sheep of the family.
TFS: Can you tell us more about your paintings? What sizes do you paint?
MH: Older work has been under 20×30″, watercolor and mixed media.current work is oil on canvas, & HUGE! CURRENTLY working 48×60! This is in progress:
TFS: How did you first get involved in driving? What do you like most about it?
MH: My first horse was a Shetland! Too small to ride, so I wound up learning all about driving and showed him 😀 My boy Copper. Probably the reason I’m always drawn to harness horses and driving grew from necessity from him being small, but grew into love lol.
TFS: Any future shows/exhibits?
MH: I have a full CV of past shows on my website, currently 2016 is quiet because I’m focusing on a large new body of work, much larger scale, to be able to work on approaching galleries later this year with to try to get representation. I’ve spent the last couple years hustling the juried show circuit, but its time to switch things up to go a different route that might result in more actual sales, rather than awards.
TFS: Where can people go to see your art?
MH: Art can be seen on my website, or my artist FB page. Also my Instagram. This year I will have work at “Art on the Beach” in Indian Lake Ohio. And also doing a competition in Sidney Ohio in September with the Piqua Arts Council.
Are there any artists/people that inspire you with your art, or that you admire for something?
MH: When I was 5 my grandma gave me a copy of black beauty, illustrated by Lucy Kemp Welch.didn’t realize it as a kid, but nowadays I see Kemp Welches influence coming out a little in my work.I have some really big work on the easel of some things I’ve been in wanting to do.
TFS: Any wise words for other artists?
MH: I think its important for an up and coming artist to draw the line for themselves deciding if they’re going to be a hobbyist and do it for fun, or be a full on professional. If you’re doing it for fun, remember to keep it fun and don’t worry about comparing your work, or sales, to anyone else – that’s a recipe for getting depressed. If you’re going to make the dive, its another type of commitment as well. And a tough one. I wasted too many years being wishy washy between the two, and it resulted in a lot of heartache and wasted time. I’m not anywhere near being able to rely on artwork for my primary income. But you have to be patient and work hard – difficult to do when you have a real job, other responsibilities and such.
TFS: Is there a medium that you have not worked in but would like to?
MH: I’m pretty comfortable in my medium – I touched everything through college, so it was easy to settle on my preference of oil or watercolor.
TFS: What are the ways you find most useful for promoting your paintings?
MH: Social media is great… But I’m not so sure that’s the best place to find the people who are in the market to actually buy. But I won’t assume anything yet as most of my accounts have few followers. I’ve been utilizing hashtags more which has helped bring in new followers I think. I think I will need a healthy balance of both realms; online and brick and mortar galleries. I personally think living in Nashville (been here two years) will be ideal for my work, and a strong local economy to encourage sales.
TFS: Can you tell us more about your style?
MH: My style is detailed, but impatient. Which is pretty much me in a nutshell. I’ve compromised with my brain to keep lots of visual information, but keep the style looser to be able to not take months to finish ONE painting – you can’t sell what you don’t have, I.e. product. I also don’t focus on color accuracy anymore, but the value, and warm vs. Cool is how I SUGGEST the color – again , another time saver.
TFS: Is there something that you would like to paint but haven’t yet?
MH: I’d like to focus on baroque horses soon. Have to find those types of shows to shoot references at for them .
TFS: Do you ever use your own horses as models?
MH: I do! This is my mare and this is our Clyde. Will definitely be using him in some future paintings too.
Thank you for letting me interview you, Meghan! Looking forward to seeing your new paintings come to life!