We were so pleased to interview renowned equestrian artist, Kelli Hamblet. Her pencil drawings really capture the essence of the horse - we asked Kelli a few questions about herself and her work:
What inspires you and your work?
Originally I only drew cityscapes as my background is in architecture. I think that is where my attention to detail came from. My other passion in life is my horses, and once I had started to draw them, I’ve never looked back. They started out just as head studies and portraits and now have progressed to incorporate their movement and strength. I often travel around to dressage competitions to find new subjects to draw.
Which artist inspires you?
I remember when I was young admiring the work of a local childrens’ book illustrator called Robert Ingpen. I’ve also always loved the old masters, Vermeer and Canaletto in particular and when I was at university I discovered the photorealists and have been a great admirer of many such as Richard Estes and Douglas Hofmann.
How and when did you start drawing?
I have drawn as long as I can remember. Art was always my favourite subject at school, particularly in pencil. I have done a little painting, but I always seem to come back to my pencils, they are the medium I feel most comfortable and confident with.
What have you learned about yourself & your work over the years?
I have learned to trust myself and to follow my own instinct rather than head in a direction that others have told me to follow. Over the years many have told me I needed to loosen up and be more ‘impressionistic’ in my work, but that’s just not me.
What are the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects of your work?
There are 2 favourite parts, picking them up from the framers when they are all properly ‘dressed’ and looking their best, and the other is dropping off commissions of animals to their owners and seeing the look on their faces.
Which is your favourite piece of work and why?
My favourite would have to be my most recent picture of a stunning Australian dressage horse called ET. I was at a riding competition where I was taking lots of photos and as soon as I saw him enter the warmup arena and begin to move, I knew he would draw up well.
What would be your advice for someone starting out in this area of work?
To be patient, work hard, and be true to what inspires you the most.
Do you have a studio?
I have a back room which is supposed to be the studio, but I hate being locked away and so have my drawing board set up in the corner of the living room. As I live alone, this suits me really well.
Are you a member of any societies, if so do they help with your work?
I am not a member of any art societies, but I’m involved with riding clubs, so they have a lot to do with the horses I draw.
What type of music, if any, do you listen to while working?
I actually love to have movies playing in the background while I work. I can only play ones I’ve seen though, as new ones distract me too much! As my work is quite detailed, it does help me to look up every once in a while as well.
What’s your favourite drawing accessory?
I recently bought a new pencil box which I love. It is really a large wooden tool box with lots of small drawers, but they are all felt lined and it’s the perfect size for all my pencils...well that and my Venetian Red No. 63 Derwent pencil!!!
Thanks so much to Kelli for agreeing to be interviewed. Kelli is an Australian artist whose passion for horses really shines through her work - she can be found on Facebook.