Horse Artist Interview – Sheona Hamilton-Grant

Above The BitName
Sheona Hamilton-Grant

Website & places you can find my work online
Studio Blog:
Etsy: Sheona Hamilton-Grant
Starving Artists: Sheona Hamilton-Grant
World Artist Directory: Sheona Hamilton-Grant
Window on Web: Sheona Hamilton-Grant
Follow Sheona on twitter: @SheonaHG

Where I am?
Temporarily in Belgium

Tell us a little about you, what is your background & where do you come from?
I’m a Scot born in 1969. Married to a brilliant husband with two beautiful scallywags children.

Grew up in Europe (Holland, France & Belgium). Studied business in Brussels, Madrid and London. Lived in Belgium, Germany, France, Holland, Sweden and the USA (New Mexico) and as a result fluent in three languages.

I have had experience working as a marketing assistant, in real estate, as a home groom and a professional rider.

Rive Gauche

When did you first start drawing horses?
Back in 1995. I was 25 and living every little girls dream: making a living grooming and riding top sports horses.

This dream had to be set in stone: the pencil coaxed me; we connected and have never looked back.

Your drawings almost look like black and white photographs, do you draw from photos?
I love detail, realism.

Because of this requirement I do use reference photographs. The detail, the amount of detail is the key. This achieved both thorough subject knowledge and reference photographs. Photos tend to lie and flatten their subjects this is why I use them as maps and never take them literally.

My knowledge of what I’m drawing (i.e.: gut feeling) always gets the last word.

I love photography and enjoy the groundwork of creating a drawing starting with my lens.

Elbow Room

Do you have a favourite breed?
No, but I have a fondness for striking fit sports horses. The muscle structure and mental fitness they achieve is just stunning.

What are your main influences?
The most important influence has to be the words of wisdom given to me by my brother (a very talented graphic artist) “never forget the beauty of each stroke”. He has always been my most honest and constructive authority in a way only brothers can be.

Head To Toe

I have also found inspiration in the work of the many masters.

Magritte for his skill for painting the obvious, his no-fuss technique and use of “less is more” to create confusion, shock and a lasting impression.

Degas, Rubens & Rembrandt for their terrific pencil and brush strokes.

Da Vinci the wisest most accomplished artist ever to have lived. His art & equine art is inspirational. Hopper for his use of light & compositional strength.

Growing up I was surrounded by images of illustrator Rien Poortvliet and photographers Helmut Newton, Robert Doisneau, Henri Cartier-Bresson & Bruce Davidson. They showed me an honest and sincere way of representing the world.

Together Alone

Do you (or did you) have an animal that is the muse behind your work?
Rembrandt Borbet and I became friends back in 1993 when I went to work for top German dressage rider Nicole Uphoff.

He was the muse for my first commission as well as the start of my career. I have drawn no other horse as often and with as much feeling as I have drawn Remmi.

During the time I worked there, I came to love this horse so much I still miss him to this day. During the four years we spent together it was clear to me that the versatility of this professional dressage horse should be somehow illustrated for all to see.

I have drawn his movements: his extended trot, his extend canter and his piaff that made him part of what he was. I have also illustrated the gateway to his soul (his eye) and now with “Together Alone” I feel I have finally captured his “off-duty” side, his bond with the equine world, his arrogance.

He’s dead now…This last piece of him is my “thank-you” for what he gave me, my tribute to his memory and a facet of my love for him.

He was a star, my star and nothing can replace the moments when we were together alone…

What's On The Table

Do you have any secret rituals you do to help you get in the zone for your art?
Music: always gets me revved-up and ready to draw.

A good strong coffee!

My steely determination and the belief that there is no moment like the present.

Is there a particular place that brings you inspiration?
Scotland. The memories of my country have a very special place in my mind.

What effect do you think the Internet will have on art in general?
A massive one.


The Internet is connecting all the players in the art world in a totally new way. Artists, curators, art dealers, collectors; all able to connect regardless of the physical miles between them.

It has broken down physical barriers and time zones. There are simple opening hours: 24/7. Connections that were virtually impossible are being made daily.

This is in turn is revolutionising the way one can discover, study, understand, sell, access and appreciate art.


Has it had an effect on yours?
A big one. For all the reasons mentioned above. I have connected with a fantastic group of artists, reached new collectors and patrons on the other side of the globe and learned many more “tricks of the trade’.

The Internet is an absolute must for an artist. It is a powerful tool. Like anything powerful it does have to be handled with care and skill…but that’s a whole new topic.

What else are you passionate about?

Working on anything new?
Private commissions (both equine and canine).

Tall Grace

More to Come

Thanks to Sheona for answering the interview and sharing her art. Be sure to subscribe to her studio 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.

7 Comments on “Horse Artist Interview – Sheona Hamilton-Grant

  1. Juliet

    Sheona, You know how I feel about your work…Now a new crop of viewers will have the experience of discovering it too. Sheona’s use of the limited palette is pure magic.

  2. Kimberly Santini

    Sheona, I never knew you worked as a groom! always something new to learn….. and I never tire of marvelling at your love for detail. Wonderful article. One day I will have a piece of yours for myself!! :)

  3. Kristin Robinson

    Sheona,Your work is phenomenal. Your technic is so beautifully defined. Your choice of realism and detail are perfectly done. I just get inspiration just looking at your work. It influences me as an artist to keep working on my developing drawing techinics. Thank you for shareing your work.

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