photo by Jazhart Studios
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 yet, gentle steeds. A seasoned rider, Williams understands the depth of the relationship between the horse and rider, and in her work, she invites the viewer to experience that relationship at an intimate level.
“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.
“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 has since studied with Karen Rohlf (Dressage Naturally) and is currently learning from the classical dressage school of Dominique Barbier. Her style is infused with a Spanish flair, an extension of her flamenco dancing. “I take flamenco into my riding. I put on Spanish music and I play with my horses through dance.”
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 at the International Calgary Stampede and Spruce Meadows-Masters trade show.
- First 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, where Robinson Lusitanos arranged to fly the artist and four large paintings to the show for their booth.
- Williams work was also featured at the National Lusitano Andalusian show in Austin, Texas and her paintings were chosen for the cover of their prestigious show program along with the cover of The Canadian Andalusian Festival in BC.
- She has been 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.