Website & Places you can find my work online
Facebook: Dana Lysons
Deviant Art: Dana Lysons
Brookfield, IL Gallery Walk – August 29th through September 12th.
Where I am
Tell us a little about you, what is your background & where do you come from?
My love of horses started as a two year old when my parents first put me on a horse. I sure would love to remember that day! My mom says I screamed bloody murder when it was time to take me off. Needless to say, I’ve been hooked ever since, begged my parents for a pony several times a day, and have gone out of my way to find places where I could be around them wherever we moved to.
My passion for animals and nature comes from my parents. They were always wisking us away on great outdoor adventures, and I loved every minute of it. I sure do miss those days. I consider myself a native westerner, as I’ve lived in both Colorado and Arizona. I spent my primary years and half of my junior high year in Colorado and the other half of my Junior year and High School years in Arizona.
I finally moved back to Colorado in 2004, but then met my wonderful boyfriend and moved to the midwest to see what opportunities lie in wait for me there. So far it’s been great!
The art community here is fantastic and gives me lots of opportunities to showcase my work. The trick for me is making the effort to get out there and do it!
I even spent a couple of semesters at Columbia College, a great art school in downtown Chicago. It’s my plan to eventually obtain a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Fine Art. Chicago is a remarkable city, but I miss Colorado, and we have a plan in place to move back there soon!
When did you first start drawing?
I can’t really remember specifically. I remember asking my mom about a drawing I did probably when I was 5 so I imagine I’ve been drawing as soon as I was able to pick up a pencil. My subject, of course, was horses. I remember getting attention for my drawings in the second grade.
You draw more than just horses, what is your favorite subject?
Well besides horses of course, I suppose my next favorite subject to draw is cats, but I also draw other pets and wildlife. I love the animal world, so I try to capture the essence of their souls in my drawings. You can certainly tell the difference between what I draw from my head versus what I draw from a photograph.
Who are your main influences?
Leonardo Da Vinci, Rosa Bonheur, Robert Vavra, George Stubbs, Robert Bateman, Maxfield Parrish, Georgia O’Keefe.
Do you (or did you) have an animal that is the muse behind your work?
Surprisingly no! I suppose most of my inspiration came from photographs, and from those horses owned by the kind people throughout the years who afforded me the priviledge of riding and being around their horses.
Do you have any secret rituals you do to help you get in the zone for your art?
Looking at other artists’ works really gets me inspired, and also looking back on my previous artworks helps too.
Sometimes if I can’t get in the groove, I will draw my hand. I know that sounds odd, but it really is a good exercise to shut off the left hemisphere of the brain!
I draw it without looking at the paper and it really engages the right side of the brain. That’s what I love about drawing; it’s a great way to meditate and it takes you away, far away, from the harsh responsibilities of the real world, namely having to work full time to enable me to do the things I love 2 days out of the week. Doesn’t that just sound so wrong?
Is there a particular place that brings you inspiration?
Being around horses, and being out in nature, wherever that may be, however, Colorado holds a very special place in my heart and thus is the stronghold that inspires the artist within me.
What effect do you think the Internet will have on art in general?
MASSIVE!! It’s already making a huge impact. I remember thinking not too long ago about all the artists out there, that had the internet never come to light, I would have never had the priviledge of viewing their artwork. The internet has broadened the scope of how artists can display their work and gain exposure. There are so many networking sites out there, it’s hard not to get noticed if effort is put into sharing the artwork.
Has it had an effect on yours?
Absolutely! Having my own website has been a great asset and it allows me a place where I can archive my work. I haven’t set it up to take commissions just yet, but there is a plan in place to get the ball rolling on that. I was introduced to a great site called deviantart.com. It’s a place where artists, any artists, can network with other artists and display their own work. The potential to sell artwork on Ebay is also a very real opportunity that I hope to tap into more as I grow my artwork inventory.
Which one is your personal favorite piece?
The one that sticks out in my mind more than any other is a drawing I did of a mustang stallion. It’s one of my older drawings, and it was drawn from a book I checked out at the library so many years back. The author followed a band of mustangs and documented their travels through photographs.
His story of this particular mustang hit a chord deep in my being at the time, and I was instantly inspired to draw him.
I don’t remember all of the details, but the author was intrigued that this particular young stallion strayed so far from the herd. He found it remarkable that he could get so close and photograph him. He began to think there might be something wrong with him and indeed through a series of visual and noise tests, he realized the horse was deaf. It was sad, made me cry, so I had to draw him.
Would you ever sell it?
Most likely not. I have many drawings like that actually.
What else are you passionate about?
This year my best friend and I started the beginnings of a horse rescue; Amanda’s Foundered Friends: Horse and Equine Rescue. Our mission is to seek out horses that are considered chronically or acutely lame and rehabilitate them through natural hoof care and a natural horse friendly lifestyle. Our inspiration for this came from reading Jaime Jackson’s research on wild horses. I am also passionate about mountain biking. I get out on the trail whenever I can.
Working on anything new?
I just finished a drawing last night actually. I will be displaying it in the Brookfield Art Gallery Walk. I hope to start something new soon! I found some great reference material that has certainly sparked the artist flares inside.
More to Come
Thanks to Dana for answering the interview and sharing her work. Be sure to check out her art website periodically for updates about her latest works.
Also stay tuned for more interviews with horse artists and photographers.
Are you a horse artist or do you know an equine artist you’d like to see featured? Add your name and website in the comments below or drop me a note to get involved.