There will be no shortage of great shopping at the FEI World Cup™ in Omaha where, in addition to many international brands, there will be a number of local companies and talent on hand. Janna Harsch, a Nebraska native and prolific equine artist, is one of those talents. She’ll be displaying her latest art at the Equine Fine Arts booth (#49) and will be on hand to answer questions and discuss her work.

A 13×16 oil & acrylic piece by Janna Harsch.

What initially drew you to art?
I can’t remember not drawing. Some of my preschool masterpieces were in a set of animal encyclopedias my folks had. I drew saddles & bridles on everything with four legs: hippos to elk and beyond.

I was also fortunate enough to have a good art education to foster the early interest and have a BFA from Concordia University in Seward NE.

How would you describe your artwork?
I call my self a figurative painter – horses happen to be the figure of choice! I do paint/draw people, other animals, trees & flowers and my compositions are usually focused on the subject(s) as figures rather than say a landscape or crowd scene. I am mostly known for my horse related work though.

The line is an important element in most of my paintings and – like most painters – I adore color! I often use complementary color schemes like blue and orange or purple and yellow.

“Preparing to Leap Clouds” – alkyd on aluminum.

What types of mediums do you typically use?
I work in a couple of painting media. I returned to painting years after my college art degree and used acrylic/mixed media. I love the way acrylic paint can be integrated with other mediums: colored pencil, ink, collage – the list is endless!

Working in mixed media for me is more of a problem solving/play as I go process. I often will have start a project using a new technique then try to figure out how to finish it. Of course for me this means how do I put a horse in it!

The other media I work in is much more of a planned traditional painting process. I plan composition, do sketches of the figures, prepare the surface and build up layers of thin paint to model the figure. This is a very traditional oil painting process, though I use brushed metal – usually copper, aluminum, or stainless steel – as my canvas. An important component of planning the composition includes deciding how to use the reflective patterns I grind into the metal. I really love the way these paintings change with different lighting and angles of view. They almost seem to move – which is pretty appropriate considering that is what horses are all about!

“Classic Equus” – alkyd on copper.

Are you a rider or horse owner yourself?

I do ride and used to show some low level dressage & jumping. I now depend upon the good graces of my horse owning friends to mooch rides. I often joke that since I have to work to support my bad habits, I can only afford one expensive bad habit – art! Though it’s more than the dollars really it’s also time. Keeping horses requires a BIG time commitment. I have chosen to put my time into seeing how far I can take my artwork. I continue taking workshops to learn and grow as an artist. And of course, I love showing the results to horse people!

Where can people view or purchase your work?

I show with Noyes Gallery in Lincoln, NE. Some of my work is on their website and I always encourage people to stop into the gallery! I also belong to a juried group of NE artists called Impact Nebraska Artists. We do themed shows and work with galleries and museums statewide and regionally to show them. I have work on that website as well.