Horse Artist Interview – Emily of Texas

Red DonkeyName

Follow Emily on twitter @emilyoftexas

Where I am
I live in Alpine, Texas

Tell us a little about you, what is your background & where do you come from?
I was born in Fort Worth, Texas, raised there and in Europe and Asia. Educated at University of Arizona and Texas Wesleyan University.

When did you first start drawing horses?
Since I was a little bitty kid I was obsessed with horses, leased my first one when I was about 12. Mucked stalls and rode in exchange for lessons.

I drew really awful pictures of horses & wrote bad poetry about donkeys since I can remember.

What is your favorite breed?
I’m not much into horses now. I greatly prefer Mammoth Jackstock for riding. I’m much more interested in the personality of a horse rather than the breed.

Pretty White Ass

Do you (or did you) have an animal that is the muse behind your work?
I have a little string of Mammoths- A huge gelding “Chewbacca”, an American Spotted Ass (I love sayin that) “Patty Cake” and a big white jenny, “Ivory” or “Ivy Jean”, depending on how I’m feeling.

They all inspire me- Patty is my age, 39 and wise as wise. She’s a smart ass, sassy and hard-headed and as gentle as they come.

Chewy is kind of a goofball, scared of his own shadow but curious about it at the same time. It took about 6 months before I could touch him with out him shaking all over. I still can’t ride him, but that’s ok. He likes playing ground work games and earning his trust is an on going challenging project.

Ivy Jean is the best damn donkey there is. I bought her only because she was knee deep in her own manure and covered with flies. I figured I’d clean her up and re-sell her. After about three weeks I realized what a jewel she is. I broke her to ride and she does everything I ask willingly and to the best of her ability. She’s a pacer, which makes her awkward sometimes and can make a rider a little sea-sick at the walk. I can put anyone on her now and she does just fine.

Unknown on Paint Horse

Do you have any secret rituals you do to help you get in the zone for your art?
Absolutely not. If I did, they would be secret and I wouldn’t tell you.

Is there a particular place that brings you inspiration?
Far West Texas is the only place I’ve truly felt at home. The landscape here looks like fiction sometimes. I look at something and say if I painted it just like that, no one would believe me.

This is the kind of place that will stop you in your tracks. Just to look at the sky or a rock


Yesterday I saw three little clouds shaped just like 1950’s Hollywood flying saucers. I’m not making this up. My daughter and I pulled up and watched them for a long time. This is the kind of place where I’ve never been in a hurry – I can just stop what I’m doing and look at something for as long as it takes.

Every morning at sun up I’m feeding the animals, thanking God that I get to live here. Aren’t we lucky? I say to my daughter and she says yes, Mama we are and we’ll just look at the mountains and the sky.

Sun goes down and we’re feeding the animals again and the stars start to shine and we can see almost every one almost every night and we look up at the sky and say aren’t we lucky we get to live here. Yes, daughter, we are.

I can start crying a little thinkin about it. How can you not be inspired here?

Every morning feels like falling in love, every night feels like coming home.

Year of the Horse

What effect do you think the Internet will have on art in general?
After that last question this one is a reality slap. I honestly don’t know the answer. I do know that it is a strange feeling to look at images on line in my own little house.

When I was a child I actually had to show up at the Rijksmuseum to see the old masters, and that is a beautiful feeling to have a destination and achieve it. In college I had to actually show up in California to see Cristo’s umbrellas.

I hope that the mission of seeking out art in a physical way is not lost


Devil's Garden Ain't No Place

Has it had an effect on yours?
It’s a lovely thing that so many people can see my work so fast. I post a piece on line and 20 people see it in the next hour. In my little town, it’s rare that that many people would show up at the gallery. Especially not that fast.

I love that someone from Japan or Ireland or Houston can just have a peek without coming all the way out here.

I don’t think the internet has changed my work, but it sure has changed how I think about my audience. Because the communication is direct and timely it somehow feels more intimate. Before the internet chances were I’d never meet the people that bought my work. I might hear about it later- but the internet, especially Twitter, I feel like I can get to know my audience a little bit better.

Which one is your personal favorite piece?
I don’t play favorites. I have had some pieces that I’m more proud of than others, but the ones I like best are the ones that speak to someone else.

Would you ever sell it?
Of course. That’s the whole idea. Paintings are a little like a message in a bottle – I damn sure want someone to find it, read it and gather some meaning for themselves from it.

2009 Year of the Bull

What else are you passionate about?
Right now I’m raising a girl-child and that colors everything I do. I’ve got about 8 years left with her and I plan to spend every minute of it being her mama.

I’m passionate. Period

Working on anything new?
Always – I just started doing these little ten-minute drawings on postcards. They’re funny and entirely unpredictable. I set the timer and draw what I see in front of me. They keep me honest about my rendering skills.

More to Come

Thanks to Emily for answering the interview and sharing her art. Be sure to subscribe to her art blog and follow Emily on twitter to keep up with her latest pieces.

Also stay tuned for more horse artist interviews & horse photographer interviews to come.

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 – Emily of Texas

  1. Mary Ellen

    I am Emily’s aunt and I so very proud of her. She is a wonderful person. I only wish her much success.

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