When it comes to painting horses, many fine artists strive to depict the magnificence of the equine spirit in realistic renderings regardless of medium. But there is one artist, Marcia Baldwin, who for the last 37 years, has unabashedly used the aura emanating from her imagination and the horses themselves to direct her work through the use of bold colors and energetic brushstrokes.
Wild Horse Journal asked Marcia a few questions about what inspires her unique style- a style which collectors from all over the world have sought through commissioned pieces they hope will capture the essence of their own horse or the wild ones whom they’d always dreamed about.
WHJ: Clearly you have a spiritual inclination. I don’t think you could do what you do and how you do it without one. It’s as if your work comes from a higher place. Would you agree with that?
MB: Each painting is a work of love. I know from within my heart that I could not paint without His guidance. I do ask for this guidance before I begin each painting and sign each painting with a Christian symbol to acknowledge that the finished painting came not only from my hand, but my heart with a blessing from God, that the new painting will reveal a beautiful and touching memory or a new awareness in the viewer and collector.
WHJ: Is most of your work commissioned and is it of the client’s own horses? Do they give you ideas on what they (the client) are looking for or do they say ” I want a painting of a horse in these particular colors….” ?
MB: In the last five years, most of my paintings are commissioned paintings. Most are based on my past works that were sold quickly and the customer loved it, missed out buying it, and wants something similar. I do have requests for commissions based on certain breeds and a few based on photos from customers of their own horses. But my work is not “portrait” centered. It is a capture on canvas of the “essence”.. the feeling that this beautiful creature brings to our lives.
WHJ: What countries are your clients from and who would you say is your typical client? Are they private individual collectors or are they businesses, etc?
MB: Most of my customers are individual collectors who have expressed their love of horses or they were drawn to the bold and unique colors used in my expressive brush work. Although, most of my customers are in the United States, I do have collectors in Australia, Canada, Germany, England and Ireland.
WHJ: It’s interesting to me that the horses you paint are not wearing any bits and only in a few paintings have I seen them wearing a rope halter. Is that a conscious decision or are you wanting to show them unfettered as is their natural state?
MB: It is a conscious thought, so I portray the equine with little or no constraints. It is the freedom and the essence of this beautiful animal, I want to convey. The horse is easily trained and domesticated, it is his very nature to please. Many horses are abused when in the hands of the wrong people, and they only want to please. It is my devotion in showing the horse spirit and pride, that I try to capture that freedom and great love.
WHJ: Do you own any horses yourself?
MB: I have owned horses all my life and started riding at the age of 3. I have always had a fascination with the very nature of the horse and studied intensely about anything I could find related to horses of any breed. As I grew into my profession of artist, oil painter, I was naturally drawn to expressing my love of them through art.
WHJ: What does a typical day look like for Marcia Baldwin?
MB: My typical day starts with a cup of coffee and a check on any correspondence about my paintings. I strive to be always quick to reply and available to answer any questions and inquiries. I then take my little dog, Opie, for a walk and watch for the many birds along the lakes edge. Frequently enjoying great Blue Herons flying and recently saw a Bald Eagle pair soaring the skies above. The natural beauty in our area, wildlife, flora, trees, lakes and more, always puts me in the right frame of mind to “count my blessings” and begin the day.
On my farm, I would enjoy the early morning smells of the horse barn, the hay, the feed, the very sweet smell against the soft coat of each horse. The days start off right. I then settle in and begin working an idea for a new painting, or I set up to continue working on a painting in progress. It is important that I paint every day, seven days a week. It is a discipline necessary for full time fine artists. And it is always a wonderful journey to finish a painting, explore new mediums, expand a small idea in my head, and more. Even varnishing a finished painting that is fully dry is an exciting moment and a true pleasure, because I want the best product for my customer. I hope they can feel the love that I pour into each painting.
I usually end my day late in the night, getting brushes clean and palette fresh for the start of the next morning.
WHJ: What is your favorite painting of your horses and why?
MB: I have several series of paintings that have evoked emotions and awareness in my viewers and collectors. It is this response to my paintings that validate my work and acknowledge to me that the care, the love, the message was received and enjoyed. To me, the paintings that reveal a new awareness and feeling are my favorites. The series I most loved are of equine paintings depicting the Indian War Horse, the Southwest Spirit Series and my series of equine paintings titled Bold, Beautiful, and Brave.
WHJ: Is painting your sole way of making a living these days? What is that like and what helped you make the leap?
MB: Yes, for the past 11 years, my only income is from my art and I am blessed with each person who is collecting my work. I am quick to let each collector know how important they are to me and I appreciate each contact from them, for their time they spend to share their thoughts on the new painting they just received from me or from an admirer and someone who takes a moment to comment about the emotion or memory a painting has brought to them.
The leap? At the age of 48, it was time to put all my university studies, life experiences, and love of art and passion for horses to the test. I stopped working for others outside the area of art, just to cover living expenses, and opened my studio gallery as a full time professional artist. All my life’s experiences, all the other jobs I had held since getting my degrees in fine art, paid off and I have been amazed at the necessary skills acquired that came in very handy in running a full time art business. I am thankful for each step over the past 42 years since graduating college.
WHJ: Is any of your work donated or connected to any philanthropic causes involving horses, animals, Native Americans, etc?
MB: Yes, many of my works have been used to promote and support rescue organizations, breed awareness, or other goals from all over our world. My horse paintings have been bought for simple logo creations, to posters designs, to book covers, magazine covers and music album cover art. I am always honored to be contacted in these ventures and strive to help with simple discounts for the usage fees associated with my copyrighted works of art. Many requests are for custom commissioned works of art for their special needs to reach their intended audience.
WHJ: Would you be interested in painting Australian Brumbies?
MB: I would love to capture the Australian Brumby on canvas. Their very essence of freedom and strong spirit would be a delightful painting experience.
The images above are only a small sample of the spectacular and colorful equine images created by Marcia. For more information and to see her entire body of work or to contact Marcia Baldwin go to http://www.mbaldwinfineart.com