Diane Williams Equine Painter and Photographer
Diane is a successful equine painter in Alberta. She paints commissions and sells her work throughout North America and Europe. She has traveled extensively to paint unique horses. She has observed and photographed the Sable Island wild horses off the coast of Nova Scotia and more recently traveled to southern France to photograph the semi-feral white horses that live in the wetlands of the Camargue region.
Presently Diane is focusing on the beauty of the soul of Iberian horses, many who have made the journey from Brazil, Portugal, and Texas to Alberta to her camera.
Her White Spirit bears are painted in the playful energy of the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia where she spent a week immersed in their ritual of salmon fishing before hibernation.
Her local landscapes of Alberta evoke the spirit of the land and open all your senses.
As an artist Diane works hard to integrate classical techniques, with contemporary, no black, brown or gray. She captures impressions of light through layers of brilliant oil color, wet on wet until finished. Her images start as a stark light/shadow rendering of pure pigment, detail evolving on eyes, ears, nostrils; looser as they expand to surrounding areas. In her cropping of her equine subjects she pares down the image to its most powerful essence. "It is not about the horse as a whole or the background it takes space in, it is the piece that speaks to your heart".
Diane has a lifelong passionate love affair with horses. With this comes a knowing of the depth of the relationship one can have with the soul of a horse. In her work, she invites the viewer to experience this relationship at an intimate level with his or her own encounters and emotions.
All the colorful horses
The flowing, graceful lines of Alberta artist Diane Williams’ equine paintings belie an underlying power. The colors seem to dance across the canvas and her horses vibrate with a regal majesty. Williams, who has had a life-long love of horses, uses her brush to capture the essence or the inner-spirit of these powerful souls.
“I want my work to trigger strong, emotional responses,” Williams says. “For the viewer to feel as if she or he is entering the world of light the horses inhabit. I believe that these horses can help you heal or, perhaps, regain a sense of your inner exquisite self.”
Williams’ life provided her the perfect backdrop for pursuing her passions for art and horses. Growing up in British Columbia, Williams father Norman, was a professional photographer and her mother Alice, was a stained glass artist and painter. Williams’ aunt, Karin Storey, was an artist and art historian at Douglas College. This rich artistic heritage provided Williams a fertile creative childhood.
Instead of watching cartoons on Saturday mornings, Diane's mom immersed her in art classes in her local hometown, Chilliwack, British Columbia. She was encouraged to experiment with paint on large sheets of paper, the beginnings of her love of color and textured brushstrokes.
“My father gave me my first ‘brownie’ camera (yes, it was brown!) when I was six,” Williams recalls. “He introduced me to the concept of the rule of thirds, teaching me to place my subject matter into the one third, not the middle of the photo. Williams’ father made sure she received a rigorous training in classical photography, learning to focus on composition and the play of light. As she developed her interest and skill in art as a child and youth, her passion also came into focus.
The more time Williams spent with horses, the greater her passion became and very quickly the horse became her primary artistic muse. With encouragement from her family, Williams experimented with a variety of creative medium and developed her technique. Throughout her schooling she sought out art classes and was supported by her teachers. In high school, Williams was privileged to study under the tutelage of Ellie Pucher, an accomplished artist from Vienna.
She went on to earn her master’s degree in Art Education from the University of British Columbia and embarked on a teaching career of over 30 years, teaching high school art and photography classes.
While teaching, Williams continued honing her artistic skills by attending extensive workshops through the Federation of Canadian Artists in Vancouver, BC and also studying at the Vancouver Academy of Art. Perhaps most influential, Williams studied for seven years at the Sacramento School of Light and Color, where she was instructed and guided by Susan Sarback, artist and founder of the school. From Sarback, she learned how to use full spectrum colors while painting en plein aire.
“I think of riding as an art. This discipline expresses my painting,” She first studied natural horsemanship with Jonathan Field. She is currently studying with Karen Rohlf (Dressage Naturally) and is learning from the Classical French Dressage school of Dominique Barbier. Her style is infused with a Spanish flair, an extension of her previous flamenco dancing seeking a lightness and playfulness of the dance with her Andalusian mare.
Williams’ paintings have captured the imagination of viewers and collectors throughout Canada, the U. S. and Europe. Her work has been featured in solo shows throughout British Columbia, Alberta and the last three years at the International Calgary Stampede and last 5 years at Spruce Meadows-Masters trade show.
- First place in Western Photo Competition, Calgary Stampede 2018, 2019: Esprits Mystiques, Camargue and Equine Spirits II.
- She was featured at the Las Vegas FEI World Dressage Final, Robinson Lusitanos arranged to fly the artist and four large paintings to the show for their booth.
- Williams work was featured at the National Lusitano , Andalusian show in Austin, Texas and her paintings were chosen for the cover of their prestigious show program. Two times chosen for the cover of The Canadian Andalusian Show and Fiesta of the Royal Horse, PAALH.
- Featured in the magazines Horses in Art, Horses All and Ex Arte Equinus 6.
- Her paintings, “Blue Spirit” and "Ancient Mare" are on the set of the Alberta TV series, Heartland.
- Previous Galleries in the last 8 years in Alberta include:
- The Alley Cat, Bragg Creek, AB
- Art Country Canada, Bragg Creek, AB
- Blue Rock Gallery, Black Diamond, AB
- The Silver Tree Gallery, Canmore, AB
- The Rustica Gallery, Cochrane, AB
- The Tyrrell Clarke Gallery, Cochrane, AB