Joanne Kitson, an equestrian artist based in Birdwell will be taking part in an exhibition The Horse, at Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery next month. The event will coincide with the famous St. Leger Festival; the world’s oldest horse racing show; established in 1776.
Joanne explains that the subject of horses is one that harks back to her childhood, where she often spent time at her local stables, riding and tending to ponies. This mixed with her other childhood passion of art lead to her first commission at just fifteen years old. “I’ve been into art & crafty things as long as I can remember, as a child I was always drawing and making things. My dad was good at drawing, so I would sit and draw with him a lot. I was horse mad like a lot of little girls, but never really lost interest as I got older. I started riding when I was nine, and used to help out at the stables at weekends so was always drawing the ponies. I would sit and draw horses all the time, especially in the back of my school books and they were all I wanted to paint at school. I started taking it a bit more seriously when I was fifteen and got my first commission to paint a horse portrait when I was doing work experience in a saddlery shop off one of the staff. It was well received and after then word just spread really and I started doing pet portrait commissions.”
Joanne studied art at during her GCSE’s, A-Levels and at Foundation level. She also often painted commissions to get her through university. She now works at Yorkshire Sculpture Park where she has been for the last seven years and although she is surrounded by art, she has taken a step taking on commissions and has allowed herself more time to develop her own practice. That decision seems to have paid off, as in the last couple of years Joanne has exhibited at Holmfirth Artweek, The Great Sheffield Art Show and other regional open art shows. This summer she has had work selected to show at ‘The Horse In Art’ at Obsidian Art in Buckinghamshire and is also recently a member of the Society of Equestrian Artists.
Asked about her future plans, she says “although they [Society of Equestrian Artists] have an annual exhibition at Mall Galleries in London, I haven’t entered that yet. I’m plucking up the courage for next year as its very difficult to get into. My future plans are basically to keep painting, to exhibit more and to sell work further afield. I’d love to have a large solo exhibition one day so am gradually working towards that.”
The Horse opens at Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery on 2nd September and runs until 28th September.