Creating horse portraits using her gifted talents on wood, Katarzyna Stefanowicz’s canvas choice echos mankind’s centuries old thought of horses: Strong, durable, classical, with each horse having it’s own unique feature or character trait portrayed in time-honored oil paints. Creating only originals, Katarzyna studied workshop graphics and oil painting at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland. While showing her work at several exhibits per year, Katarzyna spends most of her painting time commemorating horses with her expert brush work for their owners.
“In painting I use a gently swirling stain, building a mold and space with lightening. I try to capture numerous details, imperceptible to the average viewer and to maintain good proportions. But still the most important is the form. She is subordinate to color. I drown my paintings in nature, often extinguished. I try to capture the unequaled and fleeting beauty of horses, shining sweat on the hair, foamed face, sharp eye …
I want to get some theatricality in my work, as if the headlights were directed at one actor playing the main role. Everything else is in the shade. I use the most noble technique of oil painting, referring to the most outstanding painters of the past epochs, striving for technological perfection. Painted “poor”, patterned Dutch, overlapping layers, emphasizing the illusion of space in the image. Instead of canvas I use my beloved wood, more smooth for better details, natural and more durable.”–Katarzyna
TFS: How long have you been an equine artist and where are you located?
KS: I’ve been painting horses ever since I can remember. They have always been the subject I am most fascinated with.
I am living in Warsaw, Poland.
TFS: What inspires and motivates you?
KS: I get a majority of my inspiration from my horse, Enduro. When I’m at the barn, my stress just seems to disappear into thin air.
TFS: What mediums do you work in?
KS: Since high school, I worked in pencil then moved on to oils at the age of 20. I am currently working with with oil and and oil pastels. I love the precision and versatility of both of those mediums.
TFS: Are there an mediums that you would like to work in, but haven’t yet?
KS: One technique I admire and aspire to master is the use of watercolors. I have tried to paint using watercolors only a handful of times and have not been able acquire the skill of watercolor artists.
TFS: Is you family involved in horses or art?
KS: For years my mother has owned an art gallery, JESt Gallery located in Toruń, where she features both local and international artists. She also provides custom artwork framing services. In regards to horses, I am the only one in my family who has the bug.
TFS: What is your favorite thing about the art you do?
KS: I am passionate about my work and my favorite part of my art is getting to relax while painting. When I paint, I find a place in life where I am at peace.
TFS: What’s a typical day in your studio like?
KS: A typical day starts at 8pm and ends around 1-2am. I spend the rest of the day with my kids or at the barn with my horse.
TFS: How do you start a painting?
KS: Finding the right inspiration for a painting is the most daunting part of my work. Before I actually pick up oils, I spend hours upon hours searching for that one picture that truly inspires me to paint. Finding this picture is not the end of this long process! The next step is getting the permission of the photographer. Most photographers do not respond to my emails and the ones that do respond either decline my request or charge for rights to use the photograph.
TFS: Any current WIPs?
KS: I am currently working on a 50x45cm oil painting of a Hanoverian gelding based on a photo by Andrea Zachrau.
TFS: How would you describe your art style?
KS: Though my artwork is hyper realistic, I feel I haven’t yet mastered the art of hyper realism. I still have a ways to go to develop my skill and technique to a level I will be truly satisfied with.
TFS: Have you ever taken lessons from another artist or gone to art school?
KS: I went to an art High School in Toruń and attended Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika Wydział Sztuk Pięknych in Toruń.
TFS: Any future shows/exhibits?
KS: My next exhibition will be at Cavaliada in Poznan, Poland at the end of this year. I will also be attending “Pride of Poland,” an Arabian Auction in Poland.
TFS: If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
KS: If I weren’t an artist, I would either be a veterinarian or own an art gallery.
TFS: Do you ride horses?
KS: I owned four horses in high school. Later, I moved to Warsaw and took a break from riding to start a family. For the past two years, I’ve been the proud owner of a gorgeous bay gelding. He is a 17hh Silesian Horse and never fails to put a smile on my face.
TFS: What have been your biggest challenge so far in your art career?
KS: My biggest challenge is yet to come, when I finally commit to painting a life-sized hyper realistic portrait.
TFS: What has been your greatest success so far in your art career?
KS: My greatest success was painting a portrait of Bask, a Polish Arabian horse. This painting was featured in the film “BASK The Revelation of America.” Seeing my artwork on the big screen is one thing I am most proud of and is a moment I will never forget.
TFS: Where can people find your art?
KS: You can find my artwork on social media: Facebook (Katarzyna Stefanowicz – Equine Art) and Instagram (@stefanowicz.katarzyna). I currently have my artwork on display at JESt Gallery located in Toruń.
Thank you for allowing me to interview you, Katarzyna!