Website & Places you can find me online
Tell us a little about you, what is your background and where did you come from?
I grew up in rural Illinois and I loved it! I was raised with horses and ponies – all kinds and personalities. Us kids would take off in the country and ride & explore all day long. We always had at least 2 or more horses at a time. I had my favorites thru the years, a Welsh mare – Babe, and a Quarter Horse mare – Miss Loxahatchee.
I rode western for years, and showed western until I moved to Florida. I loved the country and hope some day to move back there.
Did your love of horses or art come first?
I’ll have to say my love of horses came first. I started drawing horses when I was young because of my horses and reading books like “The Black Stallion” and others.
Much of your work is vibrant and colorful, what is your favorite medium?
Oils on panel or canvas.
I love the texture and the look of oils over time.
Is there one breed you enjoy painting most?
That is a hard question to answer. I don’t have a one only favorite. Each breed offers so much in their quality and personality. Arabians spirited and gorgeous; Friesians with their incredible manes, arched necks and shiny black coats; draft breeds are strong and gentle – I love painting them all – each have so much offer in their own way.
Who are your main artistic influences?
I like Munnings, Rosa Bonheur and I met Elizabeth Bell in Florida years ago. She was a inspiration to me.
Do you (or did you) have an animal that is the muse behind your work?
My muse is not one particular animal, but all. Especially rescue animals. I have volunteered for many, many years in rescue and that is my driving force. In some way help them thru donating work to charities and connecting with them.
Do you have any secret rituals you do to help you get in the zone for your art?
No rituals for me. I just sit down and paint. My painting time is very limited because of my full time job, many dogs & cats, home, etc. that I paint automatically every night for an hour or two. Sometimes I’m tired, but once I start I get into what I need to do on that painting. Years ago I had to get into the mood, but not any more. Plus I have a lot of ideas I want to paint, so I just have to sit down and paint, no matter what.
In fact painting keeps me focused and sane in this crazy, busy world! It’s the reverse.
What effect do you think the Internet will have on art in general?
I think the Internet helps artists a lot – you can’t beat the exposure.
Has it had an effect on yours?
Yes, I’ve sold work to people I would have never been able to find or have any way of showing them a painting.
Which one is your personal favorite piece?
Alert Arabians is a favorite right now. We’ll see what comes up in future paintings.
Would you ever sell it?
What else are you passionate about?
Volunteering for Rescue Groups and helping them with art and fundraising. It is so important for us to help in any way we can. They (animals) need us.
Working on anything new?
Yes, I have two new paintings I’m working on and drawings started for two more. I’m branching out to landscapes and figures. Lots of ideas, wish I had more time to paint – maybe some day
More to Come
Thanks to Karla for answering the interview and sharing her work. Be sure to check out her horse art site 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.
Hey, those paintings are really good! I love art, and wish I could do as good as that. I love horses too, and I love sketching them and giving them colors and patterns rarely seen in horses.
My life is greatly improved for having Karla in it. She is a Fabulous Artist and her paintings are always Beautiful and Colorful…she sculpted my German Shepherd for me and it is marvelous. I am happy to see her work and her thoughts showcased!
I have known Karla for 10 years and she is the most amazing person I have met. I am so fortunate to have met her. Her paintings just amaze me! You can see her love and passion reflected in her art.
I love Karla Smith’s art work. She has inspired me to draw, sketch, and paint horses. I work for days, sometimes in the middle of my school classes, on my art work. Each time I learn something new about a horse I go online to see examples of Karla’s artwork to see what she would do. I would love to be like her when I grow up. There is a big world a head of me and many paths to take but i will always follow Karla Smith’s path. Thank you for your inspiration!
I love these your a awesome artist! 😀 wish I could do some of those.
Hey these are awesome and great use of colour! LOVE THEM 😀