Artist Feature: Sharon Lynn Campbell
You probably know what I mean when I refer to ‘horse girls’. You might recognize their dedicated work ethics and grounded, down-to-earth sensibilities. As young women, they spent morning, noon and night at the stables brushing, cleaning, exercising, and caring for their closest companions. Horse girls are unique, but they all seem to share a deeper sense of compassion and understanding that comes from many long days with animals that don’t speak unless you’re listening very, very closely.
Horses are extraordinary animals. Historically, horses signified power and speed; they were such a source of fascination to early civilizations that they were the dominant animal found in the earliest known cave paintings at Lascaux. Many artists since have had their imaginations captured by the commanding forms of horses, and often spend years studying and perfecting their craft before they can best convey the essence of their subjects.
Sharon Lynn Campbell is a horse girl turned equestrian artist. Prior to the birth of her third child, she spent all her time riding, training, and showing horses. She had a deep connection with them, and not only understood what it felt like to ride and care for them, but how to portray their images. She began painting in 1999 without as much as an instruction class. Campbell was commissioned to create her first major oil painting of a fox hunting scene – she photographed horses and hounds at hunts and selected a large canvas. Having no previous training in art, she was quite overwhelmed. However, she trusted her natural artistic disposition and understanding of the equine form. Her talent is undeniable. In years since she has generated a following amongst the horse riding circuit and at large.
According to her website, Campbell’s work has graced the covers of the country’s most renowned hunter/jumper show prize lists, programs, and appeared on the covers of many top equine publications. Recently at a recent fundraiser for the United States Equestrian Team Foundation of Gladstone, NJ, two of Campbell’s portraits raised $44,000 for the 2012 Olympic Team.
Campbell’s love of horses is apparent in her work. She writes, “Horses were my way of life. I’m so blessed that they are still in my life and that I am able to paint portraits of them full-time in my Virginia studio”. Her style is very lifelike, and she captures the strong personalities that often radiate from her subjects. While she may not be mucking the stalls and riding the circuit any longer, she devotes long hours and a great deal of energy to her craft. As the saying goes, ‘once a horse girl, always a horse girl’.