Horse Artist Interview – Laura Barber-Riley

Dressage WIP

Laura Barber-Riley

Website & places you can find my work online

Where I am
Darlington, County Durham, UK

Tell us a little about you, what is your background & where do you come from?
I grew up moving about every few years due to my father’s career in the Armed Forces so I am not really ‘from’ anywhere! We lived in many different locations across England and even spent a few years living near Washington DC in the US. I moved up to the North East of England to attend university and have ended up remaining here ever since!

Having moved house so many times as a child I have loved settling down in one place. My husband and I live with our wonderful young son and three dogs, with another baby due in November of this year.

Chance Chestnut Horse

When did you first start drawing horses? And painting, did that come at the same time?
As a child I drew nothing but horses but stopped drawing and painting altogether when I finished school.

It was not until the summer of 2007 some 10 years later that I decided to try and draw a picture of my own horse at the time, having taken a particularly nice photograph of him. I was surprised to find I could still draw!

From there I began drawing my friends’ horses for them and eventually set up a website from which to promote my commissioned drawings.

I started painting in early 2008; my husband had bought me a set of oils and canvases for my birthday so I decided I would give them a bash! I found straightaway that they lent themselves very well to my way of working and I have not looked back since! I am of course still learning and improving; I learn more and more with each painting I produce and enjoy seeing my skills develop.

Bay Horse in Oils

What is your favorite horse breed? Favorite breed to paint?
So hard to choose! Not sure if I have an overall favourite breed but as far as my art goes I adore painting detail so muscular spirited breeds are probably my favourite choice- Thoroughbreds, Arabians, Warmbloods- the veinier, shinier, sweatier the better!

Who are your main influences?
Anyone and everyone! Honestly! I am inspired and influenced by so many different artists from the pre-raphelites to other equestrian artists just starting out. I have too many favourite equestrian artists to mention, there is so much talent out there!

Dressage WIP

Do you (or did you) have an animal that is the muse behind your work?
I have taken a break from horse ownership to concentrate on my young family for a few years so don’t have a muse of my own anymore…not that I ever did draw or paint my horse very often when I had him- he was a fidget and terribly unphotogenic!

Do you have any secret rituals you do to help you get in the zone for your art?
None at all, I have to grab time as and when opportunities present themselves, usually once my litte boy goes to bed!

Is there a particular place that brings you inspiration?
Any big equestrian event suppose…I recently returned from Badminton Horse Trials with a camera full of potential reference photos that I was buzzing to get working with.

Dressage WIPWhat effect do you think the Internet will have on art in general?
For me, the internet has been a wonderful tool to get my work out in front of people, to meet other artists, potential customers, and to learn more about techniques and materials. The wealth of information at artists fingertips is incredible!

It is a shame though that artwork (and particularly oil paintings) just don’t look the same on a screen; they lose that extra dimension they have in real life. The internet is no substitute for a real art gallery and I hope that the rise in internet sales does not result in the gradually demise of our local galleries and exhibitions.

Rocket Science

Which one is your personal favorite piece?
My favourite piece changes all the time! Currently my most recent painting ‘Rocket Science’ is my favourite, I hope that one of the paintings I am working on right now will become my new favourite though.

Would you ever sell it?
It is for sale, at least it will be once it returns from the framers.

Washing Down

What else are you passionate about?
Horses, anything to do with horses really!

Working on anything new?
I am busy working on several original paintings that I hope to exhibit, in addition to commissioned work. I use my blog to track the progress of my original work from start to finish.

Work in progress

More to Come

Thanks to Laura for answering the interview and sharing her art. Be sure to subscribe to her art blog 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.

6 Comments on “Horse Artist Interview – Laura Barber-Riley

  1. Elaine Ayres

    Hi Laura,

    A friend showed me a small painting yesterday, of three horses (heads and chest for all three), and it is signed “Barber” but with the signature it has a strange “T” coming out of the “B”, and it is not like your signature, although the painting styles are very similar. Did you ever sign your name a differnt way, or would you have any idea of who this “Barber” would be?

    Your work is very beautiful :)

    Thanks, Elaine

  2. Laura Barber-Riley

    Thank you very much Elaine! I did used to just sign with LBR but I don’t recall painting three horses in that way so the painting can not be one of mine, and I can’t think of who it might be… sorry I can’t be more help!

  3. Laura Barber-Riley

    Thank you Daniella, I am very grateful to Paige for putting the interview together so beautifully!

  4. ahmed al bayati

    ciao cari amici.sono contento quando evisto vostre quadri della cavalli areno mollto belli .spero che e la artista che mandarmi qusti quadri atreverso mio mail ,serro mollto onore ber me .rini grazia per vostre gentille. dr.ahmed albayati

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