BY MARTA HEPLER DRAHOS firstname.lastname@example.org
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY – That elegant horse and rider depicted on Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival promotional materials all over town?
It’s the work of Tina Evans, a Kingsley-based artist who specializes in equine and canine art.
Evans, 59, began drawing and dreaming about horses as a girl growing up in Haslett and nearby East Lansing. When she finally got her own horse at 16 or 17 and began to show and compete, she honed her skills from close observation and experience of horses in motion.
But she developed her love of equine art into a business strictly by accident.
In 1996, when the Olympic Games came to Atlanta, Evans decided to attend with five old riding buddies. She painted shirts for the friends to wear while watching the dressage competition and received so many inquiries about them that she began to take orders. The proceeds paid for her trip.
“It was my big start,” said Evans, who took art classes at Lansing Community College and studied with Traverse City painter Renaldo Minervini after moving to northern Michigan in the late 1970s. “Prior to that I was doing craft shows and painting lighthouses and cherries until my eyes were buggy.”
Since then her artwork has been featured at venues across the U.S. and also has gained a following in Great Britain, Germany, Australia and Canada.
When Horse Shows by the Bay came to town, Evans introduced herself to owner and show manager Alexandra Rheinheimer and offered to donate some of her art as prizes. And when Rheinheimer needed a special logo and artwork for this year’s 10th anniversary of the equine festival, she commissioned Evans to create it.
“I was very excited to be invited to do this,” said Evans, whose watercolor logo appears on everything from the official program to sponsor wine labels. “I think it’s just an incredible thing to have a horse event of this caliber and have riders of this level in our area. Prior to that, the closest show like it was the Rolex in Kentucky.”
Over the years the artist has progressed from pencil and ink to pastels and watercolors. Her signature is an impressionistic style that focuses on the strongest line or movement of her subject to create a feeling with a limited color pallet and simplicity.
Her pastel oil painting of a gray show hunter is featured on Horse Shows By the Bay program covers and posters. Evans said the painting is based on a HSBB photo of world champion equestrian Peter Fletcher and his horse, "Volabra," who competed at the festival last year and are back again this year. But its setting shows off the scenic beauty of festival venue Flintfields Horse Park and the surrounding region.
“We wanted to incorporate some of the things that are significant to Horse Shows by the Bay, which are the gorgeous flowers they always have there and the signature jump over wine barrels,” said Evans, who schools her half-percheron, Fiona, in dressage and also has a thoroughbred rescue gelding named Winston. “I wanted to create the feeling of riding in on your horse and seeing all the beauty around you.”
Evans will offer her prints for sale along with original paintings and unusual designs on clothing and dishware during Horse Shows by the Bay's Hunter/Jumper Series II and IV. Posters also are available for purchase in the show office.
For more information, visit horseshowsbythebay.com.