Sunday, October 5, 2014

Shannon McClane, Artist

LORD OF THE RINGS oil on linen 40"x30"
A Marwari horse

© Shannon McClane, Artist

World Artist, Shannon McClane creates stunning equine art, capturing the essence and soul of her subjects. Shannon’s creations are sought after by art collectors around the world. Her reputation for charismatic paintings is well-known throughout the art community.
Residing in Indiana, USA, Shannon has traveled the world to connect with diverse horse breeds as well as different cultures. Her talent shines through in each of her magnificent paintings.
Shannon, it’s a great pleasure to have you as a guest. Thank you for sharing your passions, life, and beautiful works of art…
When was your first encounter with a horse?
I was too young to remember my first encounter with horses because I can't remember a time I wasn't surrounded by them in some form or other. I collected Breyer statues, wrote to every breed association for info and posters. My green Schwinn bicycle had a stall in the garage and her name was Shambala. The picnic table and benches were perpetually on their sides as my friend Michelle and I set them out as our jump course. We cantered around from the waist up rider and waist down horse.

My first physical encounter with a horse was pony rides at the fair. From there it went to trail riding and rentals at the local stable. Then one day my father said he had a surprise for me. The family got in the car to go retrieve my present. My parents handed me a wrapped package that was to go with my surprise. As we approached our destination I got to unwrap it revealing a bag of carrots. We pulled into a farm and there was the most beautiful golden pony with a flaxen mane and tail. His name was Lightning and he promptly kicked me when I first walked up to him. He was a ten month old stud colt. My parents had no idea what they were getting into. We got him gelded and he turned out to be a wonderful pony. 
What is your riding discipline?
My riding discipline is dressage. I also do trick training and liberty work. I am currently training my horse in all of these areas. 
Where do you like to ride?
I like to ride anywhere really. I think it's good to break things up and keep it interesting. I might work in the arena one day and go out in the field or to the round pen the next. Same with the routine I'll ride one day and do liberty training the next. I think the more you do with the horse the more it builds his confidence and trust in you. 
Do you have a favorite horse breed?
I love all the baroque breeds the Friesian, Lipizzaner, Andalusian, Lusitano, and Knapstrupper. That said I have a black Arabian who is amazing. He's very baroque in appearance himself with a big thick upright neck. I call him my little Friesian. He's amazing very smart ~when I teach him a trick he'll come up with one of his own. 

How do horses influence your artwork?
Horses influence my artwork in many ways. I paint what I know and what I love. I have such empathy and I am connected to them. Everything they represent - beauty, power, grace, strength - all are qualities that make a great painting; when I paint one, the fact that I spent the earlier part of the day with one influences me as I remember the flow of the muscles under my grooming brush. That act translates itself into the shapes I create in paint. I use the same motions with both paint brush and grooming brush following the lines on the body of the horse. 

I am enchanted by equestrian theater. Partnerships between human and horse celebrating the relationship with music, beautiful lighting, drama, gorgeous costumes, and breathtaking acts ~ this is a dream of mine and so it takes form on my canvas. The equestrian theater arts greatly influence me as well. The lighting the drama, the horses, the music, everything I love all in one place! It’s phenomenal. My new series portrays the stars of present day equestrian shows and their acts. The portraits will document for history the acts and who was performing them for future generations to see. 

LATCHO DRAM oil on linen 30"x40"
Latcho Dram translates to safe journey

© Shannon McClane, Artist

Describe your studio…
I live in my studio. It's like a big L shaped room. My bedroom is off on one side and my living room is on the other. The studio is in the middle. It's small but cozy. I like living with my work. I see it all the time and so might see things that need to happen while involved in some other activity. I can either attend to it right away or make a note for future reference. My dream studio is to renovate an old barn or build a new one with a living space and art studio upstairs and keep my horses downstairs. I have a special little notebook that I keep drawings of it in as I design it so someday I can present them all to the builder .......I get brochures from all the barn builders and take all the features I like from each to create the fantasy barn! I see it with a very Rhohanish vibe. 

LIBERTAD oil on linen. 40"x 30"
Shannon's horse Hadji
© Shannon McClane, Artist
Do you have an artistic muse?
My biggest artistic muse is my horse. If there was a way to get him into my studio I would! There are however many (maybe too many) paintings of him in the studio. I have lots of objects like carved wooden horses and bulletin boards full of costume ideas, act ideas, photos of things that I am attracted to on them. 

What artistic mediums do you use?
I work mostly in oils, although I do have a few mixed media pieces with photo collages mixed in and painted on. I also like to draw in charcoal or lead pencils. 

How does your Hungarian Gypsy roots entwine with your artwork?
Gypsy influence in my work is seen in the bright bold colors I use. That is why I love to work in oils for they allow you to create rich jewel tones and warm rich colors, also the patterns in the backgrounds. I want my paintings to be rich and dramatic with a lot to take in. I want them to tell a story whether it's a portrait or a theatrical piece. This also is part of gypsy culture. 

 oil on canvas 40"x30"
What are you currently painting?
I currently have a lot of fun stuff going on in my studio. I like to keep lots of pieces going at the same time. For me this keeps things fresh and also if you get stuck on one you can walk away and work on something different. In order to get things finished sometimes though I may have to single out two or three and not allow myself to work on anything else until they are done. Otherwise I'd be drowning in millions of unfinished paintings. It's always so exciting to follow new ideas you have to balance that with discipline to finish them. 

Where are you currently exhibiting?
I am hanging a show at a doctor’s office next week. I've gone a non-traditional route in starting out. Seems like so many of the arts are working in new ways these days. I do lots of shows in restaurants and shops. It's a great way to get your stuff out there and noticed. I've made lots of sales that way. I do believe in galleries as well and there are some things currently in motion there also. 

You are working on a new theatrical act. How exciting! What can we expect?
I hope to do some guest performing starting next spring. I am working on a couple of acts right now with my black Arabian Hadji. Let's just say there could be a little belly dance involved! I'm also considering the idea of a traveling show of the Equestrian Theater painting series........

Connect with Shannon…

 GYPSY oil on linen 30"x40"
© Shannon McClane, Artist

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