Two months ago I blogged about equestrian artist, Liz Wiley, and showcased a variety of her work. I recently had a chance to catch up with her about her art, style, and inspirations. Check out our Q&A below!!
Maryland Equestrian: Hi Liz! Thanks for agreeing to this interview! Let’s start with the basics – can you tell us a little about your background? Did you always want to be an artist?
Liz Wiley: Thank you for interviewing me. I love all your posts, so this is very exciting to me.
I was born in Abilene, TX. Yes, I always wanted to be an artist. My mom is artistic and creative, so I grew up helping her with her projects. She got me involved in art at a very early age and always encouraged me to take pottery, painting, and craft classes. There were never any limits. If we wanted to try something new, we just did it. I studied Fine Art at The University of Texas at Arlington. That’s where I met my husband. We moved to Dallas and are raising two kids. I now work full-time as an equestrian artist.
ME: What inspires to you paint horses? Do you have an equestrian background?
LW: I have always loved horses. They are so graceful and elegant. I learned to ride dressage growing up in Abilene, TX where there was a barn called Pegasus Stables; (I think the name has now changed). I even got the school bus to drop me off there after school. My mom was always so encouraging of me to ride, and now she is encouraging my kids to learn. She even has miniature horses for them.
ME: Your paintings are created with the oil and acrylic mediums. Are those your favorite, or do you find that they just work best when painting horses?
LW: Yes, I’ve used oil and acrylic, but I mainly use acrylic now. It compliments my impatience as I tend to work on 4-5 paintings at the same time. My paintings have many layers, so I’ll work on one painting for a little while, then set it aside to dry as I work on the next. I keep rotating them until they are finished.
I’m always interested in learning to use a new material and technique. Sometimes I discover a better way to achieve the end results, but sometimes I’m reminded of why it’s better to keep to the old ways.
ME: Do you have an all-time favorite painting? If so, which one and why?
LW: I do have a favorite painting. It’s a large 60×60 inch painting of two polo ponies. I feel it captures the energy and emotion of riding horses. It’s also my daughter’s favorite. She tells me on a regular basis that she doesn’t want me to sell it because she wants it someday. She is 9.
ME: Have you ever gotten attached to one particular piece of work and had a difficult time selling it? (This would definitely be me)!
LW: There is a painting that I painted before I was married and signed with my maiden name, Zuspann. It’s a very simple painting with squares (no horses). I almost sold it once. A lady took it on loan to see if it would work in her space. As soon as it was gone, I had a terrible feeling. I missed the painting. Fortunately, she returned the painting because it wasn’t right for the space. From that moment on I’ve never listed it for sale. It lived in my closet for a few years after that and then moved into my master bathroom for a few years; now it’s hanging in my living room. I have no idea why it’s one of my favorites – I simply like it more than others.
For the most part, I want to keep painting the next thing that’s rolling around in my head. As I paint, I’m always thinking about how I could have made it different or better. So my work is always slowly evolving. I don’t ever want to get to a point where I don’t have any more ideas.
If there is a painting that I love, then I take really high quality photos of it so I can offer prints. I really should do this with all my paintings. It would be good to archive them this way.
ME: Where do you see yourself as an artist in 5 years? 10 years?
LW: I hope I’m still painting. I recently renewed my studio lease for three years, so I know I’ll be there and painting for at least that long. Maybe I’ll open a little gallery. I dream about a vacation home/studio/gallery in Connecticut that’s only open during the summer. Texas is wonderful, but our summers can be brutal.
And two fun questions!
ME: If you could be something other than an artist, what would you be and why?
LW: I would like to work in a gallery. That always sounded interesting to me – finding and promoting new and upcoming artists. But I don’t have any experience in that field, so it would probably be really hard for me to get that job.
ME: What do you like to do for fun?
LW: I love being at the beach. Hearing and watching the waves is so peaceful. It sets my brain back to a calm state.
Liz’s equestrian work is on display at her studio (hours by appointment only), which is located at: 9995 Monroe Drive, Suite 121, Dallas, TX 75220. You can also contact Liz through her website, Etsy, and Facebook. Find her on Instagram @lizwiley – you’ll be glad you did!