Horse Artist Interview – Deborah O'Sullivan

Dressage ConnectionName
Deborah O’Sullivan

Website & places you can find my work online
Etsy Store: Epona Studio
Follow Deborah on twitter: @eponastudio

Where I am
Pawling, NY About 60 miles north of New York City on the Connecticut border

Tell us a little about you, what is your background & where do you come from?
I come from a background of showing and training jumpers on the A circuit for many years and then made the switch to Dressage.

My specialty is utilizing equine and rider biomechanics to create thinking riders.

This background has helped me tremendously in my art endeavors. I am primarily a self taught artist. To put it simply I paint what I like. I paint what moves me. You can read a more detailed bio on my website about page.

It's Like Dancing

When did you first start painting?
I drew horses as a young girl. My school notebook margins were covered with horse sketches. I first started playing with paint about 20 years ago. I started with pastel and then moved onto acrylics for a couple of years and then stopped when my riding career took up all of my time.

I have always had a facination with watercolors and gave them a try a few years ago and fell in love with them. They are my primary medium now.

What is your favorite breed of horse? Of dog?
Horses – I have a soft spot for OTTBs (Off The Track Thoroughbreds) I have had some incredible Thoroughbreds that I rescued and found second careers for and that have been my personal horses. Overall, I go for type. I like a leggier, forward moving horse with a good mind and three good gaits.

Dogs – My favorite breed is the Border Collie. I am facinated with their minds and I love to watch them work. I really enjoy herding sheep with them. I saw my first one in Ireland 15 years ago and have since adopted a wonderful girl from Glen Highland Farm here in NY.


Who are your main influences?
My main influence is the horse itself.

I just see something in them that I feel the need to express through my paint brush. Horses can move me to tears and I guess I am trying to capture that emotion.

From an artist perspective the wonderful artist Sam Savitt was a huge influence for me when I was growing up. He captured something in his horse paintings that really spoke to me.

Do you (or did you) have an animal that is the muse behind your work?
I have 2 muses..a Thoroughbred that was my Dressage partner for 8 years and my Border Collie, Tess.

Joyous Spirit

Do you have any secret rituals you do to help you get in the zone for your art?
Ahh, if I told you that it wouldn’t be a secret anymore would it! :) I have to have music. I tend to go through periods of listening to the same music over and over while I work. Drives my husband nuts! Right now it’s Jack Johnson, Sting, Enya and Andrea Bocelli.

Is there a particular place that brings you inspiration?
I am very drawn to mountains and wild places. I always get inspiration when I get a good dose of Mother Nature.


What effect do you think the Internet will have on art in general?
I think it is totally changing how people buy art. It has helped to put an artist’s career into their own hands and enables us to sell our art without having to rely on galleries.

Has it had an effect on yours?
Absolutely! I would never have had the exposure that I have gotten if I did not have access to the internet. I have collectors from all over the globe because they saw my work online.

It really is an awesome business tool. I love being able to work with my collectors personally. I have met some wonderful people because of the internet.

Which one is your personal favorite piece?
I have 3 personal favorite pieces Joyous Spirit , Dressage Connection and A Good Scratch

A Good Scratch

Would you ever sell it?
I would not sell Joyous Spirit. It is a portrait of my dog Tess. The other two are for sale. Dressage Connection is one my best selling prints.

What else are you passionate about?
Holistic health and wellness for humans and animals and just life in general…I love to laugh and I appreciate everyday.

Working on anything new?
I am! I am very excited about an art book I am working on that will benefit Border Collie Rescue. It will be published this summer. I also have a new series of watercolor horse paintings coming out. Be sure to sign up for my Epona Studio Blog or Newsletter for updates.

A Good Scratch

More to Come

Thanks to Deborah for answering the interview and sharing her art. Be sure to subscribe to her art website 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.

2 Comments on “Horse Artist Interview – Deborah O'Sullivan

  1. bettye

    i can vouch for the horses in the margins! debbie has always been a talented and natural artist and rider! i am in awe of the work she is doing these days…

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