By Carley Gray, Intern, July 30, 2018
Sharon Lynn Campbell turned her love of horses and talent for painting into an enviable career. Her paintings are featured in private collections, magazines, top horse show program covers, schools, and businesses. In addition to WIHS, Campbell is the official Artist for The Middleburg Classic Horse Show, Capital Challenge Horse Show and Upperville Colt and Horse Show.
Sharon has been involved with horses her whole life. Growing up, she spent most of her time at her family’s horse farm in Indiana. She also has been a part of the hunter jumper community since she was nine years old, when she got her first horse. Her passion and experience with horses allows her to easily paint their conformation and expression.
Originally from Chicago, Ill., Campbell moved to Northern Virginia so she could show her horses on the East Coast. After the birth of her third child she started her painting career, and received much admiration for her work. She mainly focuses on portraits of horses, dogs, people, and other pets. Campbell now works out of Rochelle, Va., with her husband, horses, cats and dogs. She is also a proud mother and grandmother.
Most of her new clients come through recommendations from current clients and friends. Campbell explained that because of this, she already has a connection with them. Other new clients are attracted in through her website: Sharoncampbell.com where people can search through more than hundreds of Sharon's paintings. She also creates sketches.
Campbell’s art highlights the true beauty of the horse and the pure athleticism of show jumping. She has been the official artist for the Washington International Horse Show since 2015.
Q: What inspired you to begin painting horses?
A: I have been involved in the horse world since I was eight years old and got my first horse at nine years old. In 1999 I was inspired to start painting equestrian portraits and since then have been going non-stop.
Q: How do you approach you painting?
A: I first look at photos of the horse. Especially when there tends to be many similar pictures of the same horse. When I am selecting the final pose for a painting, I look at the photos more as a horseman than an artist. I use several reference photos to complete one portrait.
Q: How long does it usually take you to do a painting?
A: At all times, I have six to 10 portraits in the works, so I don't have a clear answer to the time from start to finish. Since I paint in oils, I will work on one then move to another one while the others are drying.
Q: What is the biggest challenge?
A: My only challenging factor is time. I wish there was more time in the day. I paint non-stop all year round.
Q: What are you trying to highlight or bring to the viewer’s eye?
A: Each painting is different but I typically like to highlight the bond between the horse and rider.
Q: Is there a specific painting that changed your life or launched your career?
A: Right from the start of my painting career in 1999, I was instantly busy and painted so many portraits, so there is not a specific painting that impacted my career.
Q: What is your most Famous Painting?
A: I've had the honor of painting many Olympic horses and riders such as McLain Ward on HH Carlos Z and HH Azur, Harrie Smolders on Emerald, Ramiro Quintana on Appy Cara, and Nick Skelton on Big Star, to name a few.
Q: What is your favorite part of the process?
A: It's been a pleasure getting to meet so many wonderful people and horses. People truly love their horses and I am thrilled when my clients react so amazingly to my finished portraits of their horses. Their reactions are the best! Tears are always a good sign.
Q: Is there anything different about your paintings for WIHS?
A: The backgrounds differ very much for the WIHS cover art since I want to include flags. Something else I do differently is the way I arrange the horse and rider around the background.
Sharon creates colorful and fun sketches for WIHS.
Check out more work by Sharon Lynn Campbell on her website: http://www.sharoncampbell.com/