Mary Armstrong – Horse Artist Interview

Mary Ogden Armstrong

Website & Places you can find my work online
Blog: &
Best Emerging Artists: Mary Ogden Armstrong
Ohio Online Arts Registry: Mary Ogden Armstrong

Where I am
Kirtland, Ohio

Tell us a little about you, what is your background & where do you come from?
I grew up on a farm. We had many types and sizes of horses. I helped feed them, ride them and I drew them. I have a BFA in advertising design from the Akron Art Institute and worked many years in graphic art and illustration.

Wash Down

When did you first start drawing & painting?
As soon as I could manage to grasp a pencil and crayons I started to draw, mostly animals. By age 10 I created cardboard toys of horses, of course!

And at age 12 or 13 sold my first piece of art, an approx. 20 x 28 inch crayon painting of a running greyhound dog, which a Feed Mill company placed in their main window for over a month.

The pay—all of $3. I knew I would become an artist!

Reflection of Draft

Your art reflects more than just horses, what is your favorite subject?
Of course, horses are my favorite subject. I greatly admire many of the wild animals, too and work on those subjects. Also, I enjoy doing drawings and paintings of Tango dancers, all because my daughter is a good Tango dancer. A great inspiration! I love the challenge of a landscape and also abstracts.

Who are your main artistic influences?
I have a print by the French artist, Rosa Bonheur and love the sensitive beauty she portrays in her paintings of horses and other animals. Must include Eugene Delacroix for his flowing lines and use of color. Also, Degas, Hans Erni and Paul Klee for his fantasy, symbolism, playful and expressive abstraction.

B&W Pair

I add art teachers, Mort Epstein, LeRoy Flint, Luke Lietzke and Irving Achorn, who were inspirational in my endeavor to become an artist.

Do you (or did you) have an animal that is the muse behind your work?
No, not at the moment though when I was young my dad bought a beautiful black mare, just for me. I named her Beauty and loved her gentle behavior, yet spirited flair. She could pace and was a great horse to ride and to own.

You work with a variety of mediums, which is your favorite?
Probably watercolor as I always gravitate back to that medium.

Colorful Colt

Do you have any secret rituals you do to help you get in the zone for your art?
No! When the mood seems right, the time less cluttered and the pencils and paint ready, I’m in the zone.

Some good music does set the pace though, one being Stravinsky’s, “The Rite of Spring.”

Is there a particular place that brings you inspiration?
Most often that is my art room, where the art materials are all there waiting to be used.

A good walk at our nearby Holden Arboretum also charges up more creative energy. There, nature is at my fingertips.

So Alert

What effect do you think the Internet will have on art?
Right now it is almost mind blowing to see an artist’s creative works available to be seen by so many in the world. Has to be quite an affect on everyone who can participate. I still do not quite understand it all. The educational potential is a huge advantage. Being aware and knowledgeable about internet scams is very important.

Has it had an effect on yours?
Yes, to some extent as you see me here, I hope in a good way. I learn more each day. I am not sure of the complete potential of art available via the internet and what the final effects will be on an artist using that as a tool to sell. Perhaps that is yet to be seen.

Mare & Foal

I believe being careful to present one’s best work is very important.

Which one is your personal favorite piece?
Difficult question! I have a few. One of draft horses, hangs above our fireplace. Another, again of draft horses, hangs in my daughter’s home. And often the last piece I have done becomes a favorite.

Would you ever sell it?
Yes, if someone likes a painting or drawing that much and can buy it, it is theirs!

Two Beauties

What else are you passionate about?
Oh, my family for sure. I love my family, who they are, how they are and all the things they do in life. Next—preparing a tasty and pretty plate of tempting, delicious food.

Working on anything new?
Am planning to upgrade my oil paints and begin a large, oil painting. Subject will probably be horses!

Red Hot

More to Come

Thanks to Mary 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.

4 Comments on “Mary Armstrong – Horse Artist Interview

  1. Denise Mancour

    Mary, I love your site! It is encouraging to me as I see that you have diverse work…even though your love is horses! I am the same in that I love trees!

    My favorite is the “Getty” ladies and the kitty…”Look I Can Fly”
    Those are different than your horses which I love too.

    Thing we have in common I think is the “flow” of our work…what do you think?

    Denise Mancour

  2. Vince Calcagno

    Hi Mary…I worked with Luke Lietzke way back in the 70’s, have collected a large amount of her porcelains and am now thinking of writing a book about these inspirational people…I would love to know more about her influence on her and how you knew Luke and Rolland….I can honestly say she changed my life….

    Vince Calcagno
    Palm Springs, CA

  3. Valerie Beres

    Nice talking to John this week….did not know your love of horses( and drawing them)…my daughter Shirlee lives in AZ, and her daughter Brandee loves horses and always wants stuff re:horses…sent books, shirts with pictures of horses ..from Back in the Saddle Mag, etc…she is 12 now, and raises bunnies, to show for 4H..(has 5 of her own now), rides whenever she can at a friends farm, goes shooting with her dad (rifle and Bow/arrow)…I think I will see her in future OLYMPICS if she continues…she wants to be a vet…..Val…other 8 grandkids don’t show this much ambition..miss Kirtland and friends

  4. Liz

    I really like your site. I am creating an equine site and will have a space for equine terms that is open for people to freely explore them. I was wondering if I could use some of yours? I would credit and post a link to your site.
    Thank you

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