Who are you and what do you do?
Donna Bernstein: I am a contemporary equestrian styled artist, creating both abstract and modern horse paintings. I use mixed mediums, acrylics, inks and archival sprays. I paint on linen, canvas, wood. Whether a textured, complicated painting or a minimalist graphite, pastel or charcoal sketch, my vision is always centered upon the beauty, balance, sensuality and wisdom of the essential, classic equine.
How did you get your start?
I started doing artwork as a child. Always in awe of the horse, this passion for them seemed to be born with me – I was not brought up around them, and no one in my family was connected to them. We could not afford one, so my only way to connect with or obtain a horse – was to draw it myself.
I spent all my youth studying everything about them – their anatomy, their breeds, their illnesses and cures. When the time came that a neighbor got a horse I taught myself to ride. Through reading books, and watching others do it.
I would also watch the horse incessantly – what a pest! But I never drew while I was watching – I was afraid I would miss something… and I think I was right. By drawing and painting afterwards, out of my memory and imagination, my horses have come to be defined by a signature style all my own.
My art was born of a boundless love for this animal. As I have come to understand, because of this, I was painting the horses I never had. I was painting the horses of my imagination and my dreams.
What inspires you?
What inspires me is the nature of horses. They express the ideals I most value – an honesty, a purity of emotion, courage, beauty, balance, sensuality, a willingness to serve, companionship, and compassion. The most fiery, brilliant, and powerful stallion, will do as you ask when he trusts you.
They are herd animals… family animals, and exhibit tenderness and loyalty, with a sensitivity that has been honored through the ages. From the first cave wall renditions of the magnificent horse, he has been both companion and teacher to man, in every endeavor.
Everything about the horse inspires me. His great vulnerability; his great contradiction. He is such a symbol of freedom; an icon in this regard. Yet his entire history is wrapped in ours, as he has not been at liberty, but has done our bidding, whether in war or at play.
Truly a debt of gratitude is owed.
What do you like about AZ?
Arizona has a wonderful energy, weather that evokes a positive point of view, and a truly growing and expanding business and culture base that is energizing to be around. I started doing art shows in the area a few years back, and my husband and I bought a home not long after, we loved it so much.
Where can we see you(r) work?
In Arizona my work is currently shown and represented at a beautiful gallery, Desert Mountain Fine Art, located in the elegant Keirland Commons in North Scottsdale. The business of an amazing young couple, it is just completing its first year in Scottsdale, and I am honored to be included in its roster of artists.
What would like to accomplish before you die?
That is a difficult question! I think living a life I am proud of, and allowing my art and brand to be a demonstrative and, if possible, collaborative expression of that vision. I’m developing my artistic energies into an equestrian lifestyle brand, with products that include jewelry, scarves, handbags, etc., and fashion accessories for the modern equestrian. I see my art as expansive into these areas in a way that allows others, who have dreams of horses, to experience the equine’s wonderful and playful energy through Donna B.
What is your mantra?
My mantra – Actually, I have two… one that defines my personal commitment to my work, which I learned about myself through the process of making art:
“It is not horse that I paint; I paint the way they make me feel.”
The other – as it defines the Donna B Brand:
“Love Your Horse – Live Your Horse Style.”