Where I am
Tell us a little about you, what is your background & where do you come from?
I grew up in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio on a small farm. We owned several horses over the years along with a few cats, dogs, and a big white rabbit named Shmoo. Avid in 4-H, I spent most of my time with my horse. Grooming, feeding, and practicing for upcoming shows. I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors, especially the warmer months of summer when I could spend most of my time in the barn with the animals or on my horse.
My other love, drawing and painting, developed largely through my high school and college years. I graduated from The University of Findlay with a Bachelor of Science in Equestrian Studies. I also had a dual major in Art/Advertising and Design. I am now married to a wonderfully supportive husband and we have two boys ages 5 and 9.
When did you first start drawing and painting?
I can’t pinpoint an exact time when I began to draw and paint. It’s something that has always come very naturally to me.
You paint more than just horses, what is your favorite subject?
Beyond painting the equine variety, I really enjoy painting flowers and old barns. My favorite subject? That’s a tough one.
I have an emotional connection when I paint horses as it takes me back to my childhood experiences. However, I get great pleasure painting flowers as well. There is so much color and beauty to capture.
You also paint lovely flowers, do you have a favorite bloom?
My all time favorite flower is the daffodil, but I’ve yet to master painting one.
Is there a muse behind your work?
I have no muse, but I have been inspired to paint all the horses from my childhood. I may make that my painting challenge next winter.
Do you have any secret rituals you do to help you get in the zone for your art?
No secret rituals for me, but I definitely have to be “in the zone” to create. It helps to have some music playing too!
Is there a particular place that brings you inspiration?
Nature and the world around me brings constant inspiration. I carry my camera almost everywhere in case I want to document something for use in a future painting. I’ve had my eye on this pasture of horses I pass on my commute to pick up my son from preschool.
What effect do you think the Internet will have on art in the future?
I think the Internet has opened a whole new world for artists, allowing them to interact with fellow artists and a larger audience of art collectors as well.
Has it had an effect on yours?
The Internet has been vital in allowing me to showcase my work. I’m a mom first and I don’t have a lot of extra time to myself. I have the opportunity to reach so many more people from the comforts of my home. Creating my blog, Gretchen Bjornson ART, has connected me with other artists from around the world and locally.
It motivates me to continue to create, learn, and try new techniques.
Which one is your personal favorite piece?
My watercolor portrait of a paint horse titled “Paint I” is probably my favorite right now.
Would you ever sell it?
Yes, the original is available for purchase. It’s also available for order on notecards and as prints at my shop on Fine Art America.
What else are you passionate about?
Besides being the best mom I can be, I also enjoy going for walks with my boys along with our shetland sheepdog.
In addition, some women love shopping for clothes and shoes…that’s not me. But put me in a garden center/nursery and I go bananas over flowers.
Working on anything new?
I have a piece in mind which involves horses in watercolor. You’ll just have to follow me on Facebook to see what I come up with next
More to Come
Thanks to Gretchen for answering the interview and sharing more about her writing. Be sure to check out her art blog periodically for updates about her latest works.
Also stay tuned for more interviews with horse artists, photographers & authors. 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.