Art in City Spaces | 2021 Student and Emerging Artist Exhibition | A27

Artist Name: Cara Van Leuven

Division: 6 to 10 Years of Active Experience

Title: "Day to Day, Gray to Gray"

Medium: Oil on board

Price: $2,250.00

For Sales Info Contact: artinfo@ocalafl.org


Artist Statement:

When I rest my hand on my horse’s neck and I close my eyes I see movement and color in the darkness. There is something healing about a horse’s quiet and understated power; it is that energy that brought me back from the brink of ruin. It is why my art has become a shrine dedicating my gratitude and respect for these animals.


I spent the vast majority of my youth inside the warm glow of stables. I walked pastures looking for lost steel shoes and I napped on my tack trunk in between classes at horse shows. It was undoubtedly a magical part of my childhood. My fondest memories’ have horses in the backdrop. Sadly, my life with horses came to an abrupt end when I was forced to sell my horse the summer before my senior year in high school in order to save for college.


Despite doing well at Western Kentucky where I studied photojournalism, (I earned internships and scholarships as well as dozens of awards) the void of horses was deafening. I began my career in newspapers, moving into design and marketing, but I couldn’t stay settled and joy seemed like a foreign concept. I was miserable with myself and my career. It was hard to stay sober, let alone alive.


It was the 2008 recession when life shifted. I lost my corporate job. I lost my house. An unrehabed loft in the heart of downtown St. Louis with black walls and nails holding up sheets became my new home. The building was full of artists and art collectors and I spruced that place up to make it magical. Work was scarce, but I landed a job as a carriage driver giving tours of the city and was ultimately reunited with horses.

During the three years I lived in that building, it was there I began painting. I had the best mentors one could wish for and a drive to only paint one subject — horses. The heavy horses were my inspiration because of the love they showed one another.


Today horses remain my primary focus because they led me back to peace and serenity. My days are divided between the studio and hours observing and being with horses. I note their ability to speak loudly in subtleties and the sweetness shared in a herd. Their social life mirrors humans with humor, frights, friendships and love.


My paintings are heavily textured and gritty. Base coats are vibrant with colors, while the overlaying coats are more muted. The final coat of the background, a concoction of mineral spirits and paint, add grit and industrialism. All this tells the story of my life starting, leaving and coming back to horses. The horses themselves have exceptionally long legs; yes, horses are strong, but they are exceptionally fragile too.


My home and studio are now on a small farm outside St. Louis I share with my husband, our two mares, two border collies, cats, ducks and geese. I actively compete in the jumper ring and at horse trials. My young mare was the first horse I ever backed, and did so without a buck. I continue to paint what I know and love and understand.

Nombre del Artista: Cara Van Leuven

Division: 6 a 10 años de experiencia activa

"Day to Day, Gray to Gray"

Medio: Aceite en Tablas

Precio: $2,250.00

Para información de ventas: artinfo@ocalafl.org


Declaración del Artista:

Cuando apoyo la mano en el cuello de mi caballo y cierro los ojos, veo movimiento y color en la oscuridad. Hay algo curativo en el poder silencioso y discreto de un caballo; es esa energía la que me sacó del borde de la ruina. Es por eso que mi arte se ha convertido en un santuario al que dedico mi gratitud y respeto por estos animales.


Pasé la mayor parte de mi juventud dentro del cálido resplandor de los establos. Caminé por los pastos en busca de zapatos de acero perdidos y me eché una siesta en mi baúl de tachuela entre clases en espectáculos ecuestres. Sin duda fue una parte mágica de mi infancia. Mis mejores recuerdos tienen caballos de fondo. Lamentablemente, mi vida con los caballos llegó a un final abrupto cuando me vi obligado a vender mi caballo el verano antes de mi último año en la escuela secundaria para ahorrar para la universidad.


A pesar de que me fue bien en el oeste de Kentucky, donde estudié fotoperiodismo (obtuve pasantías y becas, así como docenas de premios), el vacío de los caballos era ensordecedor. Comencé mi carrera en periódicos, moviéndome hacia el diseño y el marketing, pero no podía quedarme estable y la alegría parecía un concepto extraño. Me sentía miserable conmigo mismo y con mi carrera. Era difícil mantenerse sobrio, y mucho menos con vida.


Fue la recesión de 2008 cuando la vida cambió. Perdí mi trabajo corporativo. Perdí mi casa. Un loft sin remodelar en el corazón del centro de St. Louis con paredes negras y clavos sosteniendo sábanas se convirtió en mi nuevo hogar. El edificio estaba lleno de artistas y coleccionistas de arte y arreglé ese lugar para hacerlo mágico. El trabajo era escaso, pero conseguí un trabajo como conductor de carruaje dando recorridos