Wild Horses Couldn’t Drag Her Away

PQ News reporter Lissa Alexander wrote and wonderful article in the local paper about my trip to Sable Island and about my upcoming show at the Studio this weekend!

Thanks so much Lissa, it’s a beautiful article!

“Wild Horses Couldn’t Drag Her Away” – Parksville Qualicum Beach News – Lifestyles

 

By Lissa Alexander – Parksville Qualicum Beach News
Published: June 14, 2011 9:00 AM

Boys Will Be Boys

After a profound visit two years ago to a secluded, East Coast Island, Coombs artist Joan Larson has finished her Wild Horses of Sable Island series, enabling residents to discover this hidden Canadian gem for themselves.

Larson had known about the ethereal sand bar island since she was a child; heard the romantic stories of the wild horses, the sandy plains and beaches and spectacular sunsets, but never thought it would be possible to visit herself.

Access to the island has to be granted by Canadian Coast Guard and visitors have to make their own transportation arrangements to and from the island, as well as bring all their own supplies.

Larson was invited by a childhood horse riding acquaintance, and was thrilled by the invitation.

“It was just like, ‘Oh my God are you kidding?’ when she asked if wanted to go,” Larson said.

“To go and hang out with a bunch of wild horses?” she added.

So she headed off with two photographers and an Alberta professor and wild horse researcher. The island, located 300 kilometres southeast of mainland Nova Scotia, is the windiest place in Nova Scotia with the least sunshine and most fog. That’s why it wasn’t surprising to Larson when she and her group were grounded by offshore fog, delaying their week-long trip for five days. In the end the weather also delayed them getting back to the mainland, giving them four full days on the island.

Before the wheels even hit the landing strip (which was the beach) Larson saw wild horses coming out of the dunes. The population of horses on the island swelled to about 400 when she was visiting and she said it wasn’t hard to find them on the 42 km long island.

Only a handful of people reside on Sable Island, but the wildlife is a different story. Besides wild horses, the island is also home to the world’s largest population of grey seals, along with harbour seals and numerous birds.

One evening that remains ingrained in Larson’s memory was the first night she spent on the island, having hiked to a beach to watch an incredible sunset on a balmy summer’s day.

“I was sitting in the sand dunes and there’s horses behind me, there’s seals up and down the beach and I just had this profound sense like the universe came down and gave me great big hug,” she said.

Larson has created 20 original paintings based on her experiences on Sable Island, revealing captivating scenes of the island’s wild horses, sand dunes and sunsets, all in pastel. She said the Island was a magical place and she wanted to capture and express this in her work.

“To me this is about sharing a little slice of Canada that hardly anyone will get to go visit in person,” she said.

The Wild Horses of Sable Island will be featured in an art exhibition and sale at the Creekside Studio, located at 1471 Winchester Rd. in Coombs this Saturday and Sunday, June 18 and 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For details about the artwork and show visit  www.joanlarson.com/sableisland.html or call 250-752-0395.

A “Name That Painting” contest is happening for one of the pieces, visit https://joanlarson.wordpress.com/contest/ for more information.

 

About Joan Larson

I have spent most of my life in the arts industry in one way or another, but it is my passion for horses that has been the primary motivating factor. My first memory is of sitting on the back of a horse (at about the age of 2 according to my mother). It is a powerful, visceral memory that brings back feelings of awe and wonder. I remember feeling like I was sitting on top of the world. I can only guess that this is where my love of horses comes from, but it is this same fascination that lead me to draw them continuously as a child. And that sense of discovery has never ended. When I draw something, I know it from the inside out. At some point in my later teen years, my interest in art equaled the interest in horses. This led me to study at the Banff Centre for the Arts, the University of Victoria and finally at the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Afterwards, my work led me to the graphics industry working in print shops and advertising firms, then to owning and managing a gallery and framing business in California. I have worked as a full time professional artist for 20 years specializing in equine art. When I am asked where I get my inspiration from, my response is "every horse has a story, and it’s my mission, my challenge, to find it and tell it." I have the great honour of a family that has supported my career from the beginning. Firstly with my parents (my original fans), who encouraged me and made my educational choices possible, to my immediate family. My 3 children have grown up in a working studio environment and have helped tirelessly at numerous trade shows and still give their time in support of my endeavors. They are the joy of my life. My husband, partner and best friend, Paul S. Smith is directly responsible for the growth in my artwork. His involvement in the studio has cleared the way for me to focus my time and energy at the easel. His foresight envisioned the Musical Ride Series which, to date is the most significant body of work that I have produced. We are a team. I have had pleasure of traveling internationally to New York, England and China for shows of my work, but no trip has moved me more than my trip to the remote and restricted Sable Island off the eastern coast of Nova Scotia. To sit among the sand dunes and wild horses on that far away, mostly deserted island still takes my breath away. Sable Island has moved inside my soul and my most recent series of paintings allows me to relive my time there. I have an extensive Curriculum Vitae (if you want to see it, email me: joan[at]joanlarson.com) with numerous professional accomplishments and associations. But that is past history and today is what interests me most. As an artist, I believe that I am just now hitting my stride . . . everything so far has led me to the work that I am doing today. When I am asked which is my favourite painting, the only way I can possibly respond is to say "the one that is on the easel." Cheers, Joan Larson View all posts by Joan Larson

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