Author Archives: Joan Larson

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] 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

2 “Pastels” Workshops

I will be teaching 2 one-day workshops at the McMillan Arts Centre in Parksville, B.C. in conjunction with my showing of “The Wild Horses of Sable Island.”

Take one, or take them both: Tuesday, Aug. 5th and/or Thursday, Aug. 7th
$90.00/day or $170.00 for both days.
For more information, please contact me at 250-752-0395 or

I will also be giving a “Sable Island” presentation and talk on Tuesday, Aug. 5th starting at 7:00 p.m. at the McMillan Arts Centre. Seating is limited, so come early.


Opening Reception changed!

Sorry for the change of date and time, but the OPENING RECEPTION for the “Wild Horses of Sable Island” at the McMillan Arts Centre has been changed to:

Thursday, July 31st from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

The show will run from Wednesday, July 30th to Wednesday, Aug. 30th/2014

ALSO, please join me for a free presentation and talk about my experiences on Sable Island on Tuesday evening, Aug. 5th starting at 7:00 p.m.

“The Wild Horses of Sable Island” at the McMillan Arts Centre, Parksville, BC

I am pleased to announce that the McMillan Arts Centre will be host to a showing of the newest artworks from the “Wild Horses of Sable Island” series.  The Opening Reception will be on Saturday, Aug. 2 from 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. and will be followed immediately by a photo presentation of Joan’s time with the wild horses.

I will also be teaching 2 Pastel Workshops in conjunction with the show.  Take one, or take them both!  Tuesday, Aug. 5th and Thursday, Aug. 7th from 10 – 4:00 p.m. at the McMillan Arts Centre.  $90.00 for 1 workshop or $170 for both.  Email or call the studio for more information:  joan or 250-752-0395.

Central Island Artisans Studio Tour

Creekside Studio will be participating in this annual studio tour.  Please drop by the studio and see all the new work . . . and some of the old too.  With a show looming on the horizon, there is lots of new work in progress.

Award Winners with “Pastel Artists Canada”

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“Quartette” at the Coast Collective Gallery

“Quartette” will open next week at the Coast Collective Gallery in Colwood, B.C.  This group show comprises 4 very different artists and art forms, but we all strive for the same ideal and excellence in our work . . . the other artists are Sherry Mitchell (incredible watercolour realist painter and my studio partner at Signature Studio), Anne Marie Veale (potter extraordinaire) and Maia Levine (amazing art in the form of rug hooking).  The show will run from Sept. 18th – 29th.  Please join us for the opening on Saturday, Sept. 21st. from 2 – 4 p.m.

For more information and directions to the Coast Collective, please check their website at:

Sable Island – Day 6

It was a spectacular day on Sable Island!  It started off grey and overcast but it burned off by 11:30 so I hit the sand running . . . spent all day out walking and steeping myself in this magic that is Sable Island.  I want to remember it always.  The horses, as always, cooperated which means they ignored me and went on about their day as if I wasn’t there.  But what a special opportunity it is to be able to share part of their day . . . I doubt that I have touched their lives, but they have very definitely touched mine.


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Sable Island – Day 4 & 5, Aug. 2013

Day 4 & 5 on the island have seen quite a bit of difference in the weather . . . from very high winds and torrential downpours to a stunning sunrise this morning followed by overcast, fog and then back to clear skies late this evening.  The weather here is ever changing and continues to remind me just how little we actually control.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but be assured, I will enjoy myself!

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SABLE ISLAND – August, 2013

MADE IT TO SABLE ISLAND!!!  Today, Day 3, has proved to be very stormy with lots of rain and high winds however it let up just enough for us to grab our gear and head out for awhile.  The weather has not allowed for me to work on location (it also rained all day yesterday) so I have been working at the station and using the photo reference from the laptop.  Here are a few photos  . . . enjoy, I sure am!

Getting Ready for Sable Island

Getting Ready for Sable Island

Rae-Anne LaPlante (who I am traveling to Sable Island with) just made this short video clip about “getting ready for Sable Island.”  I’m actually posting this while sitting in the airport in Nanaimo waiting for my flight to Vancouver-Ottawa-Halifax.    Sable Island or Bust!