Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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To Evoke an Emotion

Anita_Baarns_2010I was born in France, raised in Holland, and came to the United States in 1988. While visiting friends over Christmas, I met my future husband and decided to study Fine Arts. I graduated summa cum laude from Northern Virginia Community College, and summa cum laude from the University Of Maryland in Studio Fine Arts. In 1993 I moved from Washington, DC to our farm in Loudoun County, Virginia, and established my studio.

I had been painting large abstract paintings in art school, so I began painting impressionistic landscapes. One day a neighbor asked if I could copy a George Stubbs painting of Mares and Foals from a table coaster. Since horses are my second love, I gladly accepted my first commission. A second Stubbs commission followed, and I started to develop an interest in sporting art.

Sporting Art with Punch

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Coming In for a Landing, oil on canvas panel, 20 x 16

When I look at Susan Smolensky’s oil paintings I hear horses splattering brush, I feel the jocks’ precariousness as they go airborne. Grass flies and a horse grimaces momentarily as it's snagged in the mouth. There’s not a strip horse in the lot, but the artist’s exaggerations add to the dynamics of the instant.

The Art of Foxhunting

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The Art of Foxhunting, Phil & Susie Audibert, 168 pages, 11 x 11 inches, soft cover, color, $35.00, www.AudibertPhoto.com

The title of this captivating book is obviously a play on words. It showcases the photographic art of Phil and Susie Audibert and at the same time opens our eyes to the inherent artfulness of our sporting endeavor. I have used photographs by the Audiberts in Covertside, in the Millwood House foxhunting calendar, and in Foxhunting Life with great pleasure in the past, so I admit that I am not an impartial reviewer.

The photography is beautiful, not only by virtue of the artistic talent of the shooters in seeing and composing balanced and flowing images, but also because they have done the hard work in the field away from the meet—waiting in the country, sometimes in vain but occasionally rewarded by the opportunity for that single-chance shot of action and beauty. And in all kinds of weather! Some of my favorite images that resonated with old memories were dull, cold, wet hunting scenes blurred by falling snow and sleet.

I Live What I Paint

image015I live what I paint, immersing myself in my subject matter and painting the animals and subjects that I know intimately. My art training includes six years of commercial and fine art instruction. I have been a professional fine artist for thirty-two years, painting mostly horses and equine sporting scenes. Canine and wildlife subjects are also a passion.

A horse owner and rider for forty-two years, my competitive days have given way to more time in the studio, creating paintings that I hope will stir emotion in the viewer. My paintings are found in collections nationally, in Europe, and also in galleries and shows in this country.