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Musings on Evolution as an Artist

equine art, Jennifer Pratt, contemporary art,

Mayday Emerge Series, 24×36, oil on gallery depth canvas, work in progress, or maybe done???

Many years ago, I think around 2003?? I had an experience I have not forgotten while I was exhibiting as an art vendor at a local horse show back in Ontario.  An older man came to my booth, he perused my artwork then stated quite bluntly ‘Where is the YOU in this work?’  He muttered a few more words then left, obviously not impressed. Back then, I remember being quite offended, I just wanted him to leave my booth, my feathers were quite ruffled over the nerve to offer his unsolicited criticism that my artwork lacked my personal authenticity. (If you are unfamiliar with the artwork I produced back then, HERE is a link.)

Perhaps it is time that passes, experience and maturity that the day finally comes along where you can actually start to ‘get’ what someone was trying to say to you. I certainly don’t regret the days where my ultimate goal was photo realism of my equine subjects nor do I criticize other artists for choosing to stick with any one style. This is my personal evolution as an artist and the foundation I have myself alone. However now, I am just beginning to look for more within. Skills that I have been taught along the way, life experiences both good and bad, combined with the many, (many!!) hours experimenting in the studio with new ideas, that I can begin to understand, ‘what is me?’


Drafting Mayday, Emerge series. 11×14 oil on panel.

I think perhaps finding oneself through artwork is a moving target. Or if I want to think even more complex, perhaps the moving target is Me? (whoa, deep I know!) I know this, I am quick to bore. I jump around between many different projects the studio. And a newish habit, I like putting a random colour somewhere on my canvas, just to see how it changes the entire picture. As I watch Lesley Humphrey’s online tutorials, she often states, “Same is BOR-ING”. I giggle to myself, because I completely understand this. The same IS boring!  But no matter what project I’m working on, I am also starting to recognize some correlation in my artistic approach to line and composition and embracing that as my own process.

Drafting Mayday, again. This time wiping her form away from canvas

Then, there is that moving target again, one day I am sure to look back, read this and see I have evolved beyond what I thought was my own, onto something else yet again. However, I know this, regardless of what lies ahead, I will still be an artist.

equine art, ©jenniferpratt, horse painting

KyKy, 11×14, oil on panel, commissioned artwork

Final notes and goals for 2019;  I’m taking a break from commission work to explore ideas. Work solely for me and anyone whoever decides they love it enough to buy it. I’m taking a few workshops in different mediums, Oil & Cold Wax is next week! I hope to find a mentor, or have them find me? I envision someone like a good personal trainer who intuitively knows when they can push and when offer words of encouragement when I’m burning out or feeling low about art. Someone without their own ego to manage. I’m still struggling/searching/looking to find my art tribe here in Portland, so maybe I will make some new artist friends this year. I plan to work larger, I’m ready for canvases bigger than 8×10, and I’m not as scared to (sometimes) waste the paint trying. Lastly, finally have enough inventory to ship some paintings out. Equis Art gallery has a few good ones so check them out. Happy New Year friends 🙂


  1. Karen Thumm
    January 10, 2019

    Great post, Jenn! I’m saving it as a reminder for myself.

    You are an inspiration to me, both with your “old” work which I greatly admired for its high degree of realism and in your new, more expressive work. I look forward to following your adventures in discovering Me as you evolve.

    Unlike your booth visitor, I believe YOU were in your older works; the YOU of then. As artists we continually evolve, just as you have, to find different parts of our Being, and that’s what keeps us Creating in the true sense of the word.

    • Jennifer Pratt
      January 10, 2019

      Thank you Karen, It is indeed something of a paradox, because without that period of laboring over a drafting table for endless hours, I would not have what I have today or where I will be tomorrow. JP

  2. Cheryl Fayle
    January 11, 2019

    Good Morning Jennifer,

    Thank you for your post. I love your new work. Your sketches in particular are exciting. Thanks for your comments. I am finishing a horse commission and reached the boring stage. Now I have moved ahead to add more light, colour highlights and energy. Your comments helped push me forward.

    You mentioned looking for a mentor. In the meantime you may want to check out Jessica Masters website. She does wonderful things with broken colour that might interest you.

    Enjoy the art journey and thanks so much for posting your journey.

    All the best.


    • Jennifer Pratt
      January 11, 2019

      thank you Cheryl – I am excited about discovering and embracing some of the ‘Me’ consistencies over the years. Funny they were there all along, but perspective is everything 😉 Best wishes with your commission. Love to see it, if you want to share when it’s done.


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