Website & places you can find my work online
Studio blog: lindashantz.blogspot.com
Etsy: Linda Shantz
Equine Art Guild: Linda Shantz
Facebook: Linda Shantz
Follow Linda on twitter: @LindaShantzArt
Where I am
Southern Ontario, Canada, near Toronto.
Tell us a little about you, what is your background & where do you come from?
I was born near Montreal, Quebec, and moved a couple of times growing up, but have lived in the same place for the last twenty years or so – in the middle of prime horse country!
Artistically, I’m self-taught – my education is actually in science (BScin Food Science).
I was the typical horseless, horse-crazy kid
Since high school I’ve never been far from the Thoroughbred racing industry, and now operate a small layup farm with a variety of TBs at different life stages.
When did you first start painting horses?
I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember – I have drawings I did when I was four. I first started painting in oils at 16.
Your subjects are often racehorses, are Thoroughbreds your favorite of the breeds?
I would have to say I have a particular passion for the Thoroughbred – blame or credit for that should probably go to reading Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion at a very young age!
I just love their honesty and athleticism. They provide me with never-ending inspiration.
Who are your main influences?
This may be taking the question in a different direction, but my main influences are the horses I’m around on a daily basis.
There are a number of artists that I admire, but it’s so hard for an artist to set themselves apart with an style that is uniquely their own.
So I try to paint the way, and what I want to paint, without letting others unduly influence me. If I end up doing something like someone else, it’s coincidence!
Do you (or did you) have an animal that is the muse behind your work?
My muse is most definitely my own homebred Thoroughbred mare, affectionately known as “Monster!”
Looking at her in the paddock she might seem an unlikely model (especially in her current, very muddy, somewhat hairy state), but she sure can turn it on for the camera and I have numerous great reference photos of her.
I’ve done (and sold) a number of paintings of her.
Do you have any secret rituals you do to help you get in the zone for your art?
I guess I’m pretty boring in that area. I’ve had to learn how to paint any time, anywhere, so it’s probably as simple as making sure I have clean brushes and setting out my palette.
I do like to have good music on, but exactly what music will depend on my particular mood for the day! I’ve got pretty diverse taste!
Is there a particular place that brings you inspiration?
I’m fortunate in that every day at the barn or looking out the window I’m inspired by the horses under my care. But when it comes to other locations that I’ve actually been able to visit, then Saratoga in August; Lexington, Kentucky; and the Curragh in Ireland have been very inspirational for me as a horse artist, particularly one who likes to paint Thoroughbreds.
What effect do you think the Internet will have on art in general?
I think a lot of artists, myself included, have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the internet. On the one hand, we’re able to reach people who would never otherwise see our work.
The drawback is that displaying our work online makes us vulnerable to theft. Copyright infringement is a huge problem, and most artists I know are very proactive about protecting their work, and very adamant about educating the public – and other artists – about what constitutes infringement.
Has it had an effect on yours?
Absolutely. I’m a member of the Equine Art Guild, an online-based group that has really had a very significant effect on my career as an artist.
It was because I was a member of this group that I was invited to takepart in the Dubai World Cup Art Exhibition in 2007 – as one of only eleven artists worldwide.
I would have to say the biggest effect though, is the way the internet brings artists together.
Like many artists my life is often somewhat reclusive, so having contact with others that deal with the same trials helps me feel less isolated.
Which one is your personal favorite piece? Would you ever sell it?
I don’t know that I have a favourite piece – favourites usually get replaced by something new fairly quickly.
As a professional one can’t really afford to become attached to paintings. That said, I do have one painting I’ve told myself I won’t sell, of Monster and her mother, Sass, which I painted not long after I had to have Sass put down.
What else are you passionate about?
I trained and competed professionally with dogs for a number of years, so even though I’m not involved on that level right now, dogs are still very close to my heart, and you will see the occasional dog painting from me!
I also love to write fiction, though I’ve mostly kept that in the closet so far. And there’s a rumour I’m passionate about chocolate! Or at the very least obsessed and addicted!
Working on anything new?
I usually have 6-12 paintings on the go at a time, so I’m always working on something new! For the month of April I am doing a daily painting project I’m calling “Thirty Horses, Thirty Days.”
I did it for the first time in November, and my plan this year is to do it in each month that has thirty days. It’s a lot of fun, and a valuable exercise for anyone that wants to grow as an artist.
Thanks for the interview!
More to Come
Thanks to Linda for answering the interview and sharing her art. Be sure to subscribe to her studio blog for updates about her latest works.
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.