Horse Artist Interview – Jennifer MacNeill-Traylor

Jennifer MacNeill-Traylor

Website & Places you can find my work online
My website is a work in progress:
My blog is updated several times a week:
Ebay: Gypsy Mare Studios
Etsy: Gypsy Mare Studios
Cafepress: Gypsy Mare Studios
Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @GypsyMareArt

Where I am
East Petersburg, PA which is in the bucolic countryside of Lancaster County.

Tell us a little about you, what is your background & where do you come from?
I grew up in Cochranville, PA. My mother had a palomino mare named Gypsy when I was born and took me on trail rides with her when I was a baby! I blame that horse for my lifelong addiction to all things equine.

Growing up I spent summers at my grandparents house playing with their Appaloosa, Honey. She was one of my best friends throughout my childhood.

Devon Grey

At the age of 13 I started working at a local sporthorse barn cleaning stalls and tack in exchange for riding, some showing and a small wage. After school I worked at many different barns from hunters to Amish buggy rides for tourists.

I left my last horse job 2 years ago. My husband and I lived on a large Thoroughbred breeding farm for 8 years. I took care of the horses in exchange for rent, utilities and board for my own horse.

Currently live in a cute little house on a half acre that I am in the process of turning into my own little garden paradise. Unfortunately, I had to sell my horse to help buy our house but I am still in touch with several horse friends and attend shows as a spectator when I can.

When did you first start drawing & painting horses?
It’s hard to pinpoint an exact time. I think I have always created horse art. I remember in elementary school I would bring my drawings with me in a folder and sell them for 10 – 25 cents each at lunch!

What is your favorite breed to paint?
I love painting the Gypsy Vanner! Their long mane and feathers are so beautiful! I hope to own one someday.


Who are your main influences?
I love the equine art of George Stubbs and Sir Alfred Munnings.

I was able to see Stubb’s original painting of Whistlejacket a few years ago. It was life-size and took up the entire wall. I cried when I saw it, that’s how beautiful it was.

This year I saw a large exhibit of Munnings’ work and was completely blown away! There are many, many wonderful horse artists representing themselves on the internet. I maintain a blog for a group of Etsy equine artists and I get a lot of inspiration from those amazing people!


Do you have any secret rituals you do to help you get in the zone for your art?
If I’m having a hard time creating I’ll flip through a few old Equine Images magazines or one of the many, many horse books I have in my studio. I also have boxes of photos I’ve taken at horse shows and at various farms I’ll go through. I even like to go through my computer files looking at past work I’ve done.

Is there a particular place that brings you inspiration?
Some of my favorite places for inspiration are the Devon Horse Show and the Brandywine River Museum. Even going to a local schooling show or driving around the countryside can be places that spark a great idea.

Unicorn Believe

What effect do you think the Internet will have on art in general?
I think it has a huge effect. Artists that are not happy paying galleries or shops a high commissions (often 30-50%) have started selling on places with much lower fees like Etsy and Ebay.

Has it had an effect on yours?
I’ve always enjoyed selling online (since 1999). When I was starting out I got a booth at a large horse expo and at several shows. Not only did I have to pay a high fee for my booth, I had to spend weeks and weeks building inventory to take. Then there’s all the expenses of eating out, hotel, gas, etc. Now as soon as I paint something I can add it to Ebay. I love having a worldwide audience.

Which one is your personal favorite piece?
I have an oil painting I created this year of a chestnut Thoroughbred stallion I used to care for. He was the meanest bugger you could ever imagine, nearly took my arm off one day. I painted his portrait and it hangs next to my table in my studio. It’s called “Worry”. He always had a troubled expression and I think I’ve caught it in the painting.


Would you ever sell it?
For the right price. :)

What else are you passionate about?
I am very passionate about gardening. Every morning, after my coffee, I stroll the yard looking at my flowers and vegetables. It’s extremely relaxing and very rewarding to see what’s popping up out of the soil, what’s blooming or what’s ready to eat.

Most artists I meet are also avid gardeners. I think it has to do about creating, turning something bland into something beautiful.

Sleepy Hollow

Working on anything new?
This is the best time of year for me to get a lot accomplished. My husband is a teacher and has the summer off so he can watch our 3 year old daughter while I work. I don’t have any oil paintings started but what I have been focusing on, oddly enough, is Halloween.

I am known on Ebay for bringing horses and holidays together in whimsical paintings on signs and other functional items. The Headless Horseman is a popular Halloween theme and one of my favorites! I also enjoy painting horses in the snow for Christmas. The holiday pieces give me the chance to have fun and let my imagination run free!

Sleepy Hollow

More to Come

Thanks to Jennifer 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.

One Comment on “Horse Artist Interview – Jennifer MacNeill-Traylor

  1. WillOaks Studio

    Thanks so much for that wonderful piece about Jennifer and her amazing paintings! I follow her blog, but it was such a treat to get a broader view of her history (back story, actually!) and of where she gets ideas, how she works, etc. Love her paintings and knowing more about her is great.

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