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Among Horses: Equine Art Exhibit


By Nancy Brannon, Ph.D.

Three artist friends were literally among horses as they painted Thoroughbreds and polo ponies at a west Tennessee farm. Jimpsie Ayres, Carol Sams, and Jeanne Seagle displayed their equine renderings in a collective art opening Friday, September 25, 2015 in the Levy Gallery at Buchman Performing Arts Center in Memphis, TN. Their collection showcases each one’s distinct talent and point of view of horses.

Carol Sams has “always been painting,” she said. She was a gallery artist, painted with water colors, but her horse paintings are done in oil. Carol’s college background is in Art History, studio, and graphic design.

 “By invitation from Jimpsie,” Sams explained, “We went out to visit a horse farm where there were the highest quality Thoroughbreds, polo ponies. Jimpsie arranged our visit and it turned out to be such a comfortable place. I’ve been an outdoors person, growing up in a rural area south of Knoxville, Tennessee, but we had cows, and the horses in the area were Tennessee Walking Horses. This was a new experience, and it was an opportunity that just fell right into place!

“Our first visit, I got to see a couple of foals who were less than 24 hours old, and I fell in love with one of them. I went back a year later to see the foal, now a yearling. She was so beautiful that one of my paintings in the show is of her and her dam; “Tennessee Chrome” she’s called.

Jimpsie Ayres studied Fine Arts at the University of Tennessee and the University of Florida. “I’ve been a painter all my life,” she said. In Florida, she learned stained glass making from a fellow artist and did a stint as a stained glass artist. But she has returned to her true forté – painting. “I don’t have horses now, but I got my first horse at age 9. My sister and I raised tomatoes to pay for her. She was a five-gaited mare. Later I got a 5-year-old off the track Thoroughbred, a hunter. That was my ‘dear heart’ horse that I rode until age 15. Then I discovered boys…

“I’ve always loved horses and for most of my life, if it didn’t involve horses, I wasn’t interested in it. Lately, it has been so much fun reconnecting with horses.

“We three artists live in mid-town. We traveled to the horse farm to see and paint the horses. We also travel to the Delta and paint landscapes, barns, swamps, all kinds of Delta subjects.”

You may have Jeanne Seagle’s work on the 2015 River Arts Festival poster; that’s her “Portrait of a Bog” oil on canvas. She’s an illustrator, public artist, and has designed statues for St. Jude and LeBonheur. She’s famous for “I Can Fly,” the centerpiece mosaic sculpture at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital, and “Genome Kids,” a sculpture commemorating St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Pediatric Cancer Genome Project. Seagle is a graduate of the Memphis College of Art.

Her husband is sculptor Fletcher Golden, who likes to make horse sculptures out of driftwood. He rode his horse across the country, from Berkeley, California to Memphis, TN (see Mid-South Horse Review, June 2015). So Jeanne decided she’d start painting horse, too. “I love horses; they are the sweetest animals and very friendly. I paint from watching real horses, not photos,” she explained, calling it plein air painting, a French expression used to describe the act of painting outdoors. “I had been painting Delta landscapes with my two friends, and Jimpsie has a friend with a horse farm near Rossville, Tennessee. We’ve been going out there in good weather almost every week for two years or more. We go sit in the pasture and paint the horses. We go in the morning when there’s good light, then we all go to lunch. It’s been wonderful! It’s so relaxing and fun, and we want to continue doing it.

Among Horses will be on exhibit in the Levy Gallery, 60 Perkins Ext., until November 2, 2015. The showing was arranged and promoted by Mary Kenner, Kenner Communications.

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