For the next 12 days starting on Christmas Day and ending on January 5th (the traditional “12 Days Of Christmas”) I will be featuring 12 equine artists. Over 80 artists entered in the contest to be featured on our Facebook group Art Of The Horse (which has over 3,700 members!). I used this handy tool to randomly pick 12 of the entrants to be featured on TFS. For day six, let’s go to Scotland and visit Scottish artist, Emma Rocca!
West Lothian, Scotland
Based in West Lothian, Scotland, I have been around horses since I was a child. I would spend all of my school holidays at the local stables, riding at every opportunity I could. I studied Equestrian management at college and worked in the industry for a time. At the age of 27 I was lucky enough to be able to buy my first horse, who I bought as a foal and still own 12 years on. Since the age of 23, my life has been spent working in the corporate world, only dabbling in art until 3 years ago when I decided to go to an evening art class to learn more. I loved art as a subject at school and considered going to art college until my art teacher told me I wasn’t good enough, so I didn’t bother applying. Initially I started working pastels and after sharing my first couple of pieces on Facebook I was asked to do a portrait for a friend. Over the next three months, I received 7 other commissions, all of dogs and considered that I should maybe do a little more.
I painted my first horse in pastels (chestnut with black background, no bridle) and realised that maybe I was better than I thought I was and although I had always had a strong love of horses, I had never before considered painting them. I continued to work in pastels only for myself and it wasn’t until February of this year that I decided I wanted to broaden my knowledge and started using oils. It was at this point I found my true passion, I love working in oils and it seems to suit my style. I love the depth that I can build and the hours spent trying to capture a true likeness of each animal.
These last few months, I haven’t been able to stop painting and I feel my work has gone from strength to strength and as a result I have decided to focus on my art work and try to make a living doing what I love. I am lucky enough to be self-employed and so can devote a lot of time to painting, which I now realise is what I was meant to do. I now also teach a sketching class at my local studio, have had a few commissions in oils and am lucky enough to have sold a few of my paintings.
My focus over the next few months is to build my portfolio of work, focusing on light and movement within my paintings and trying to capture the true beauty of the horse. I consider it a true privilege when someone commissions me to paint their beloved animal as I know how I feel about my own animals and to be asked to capture that in a piece of work that is going to hang on someone’s wall for a lifetime, for me is an honour and something I take great pride in.
My artistic journey is just beginning and I am looking forward to developing my work and seeing where the journey takes me.