With a wisp of abstract, a stoke of the paint brush between the worlds of realism and photo-realism, Morgan Cameron’s horses seem as if they will dance right off the canvas. With the blotches and drips of color forming a simple yet mind blowing back round, you just can’t help running your eyes over every inch of the painting, yearning to discover each and every brush stoke. Whether it is a portrait of a soft eyed shire or a Andalusian dancing in dressage, or even a theater horse preforming, you can tell that these are painted from the heart.
Location: New Jersey, USA
“My subject matter focuses mainly on animals and capturing a sense of movement and narrative. Living creatures are constantly moving, especially animals, be it even a twitch of the ear or a slight adjustment of a leg. Whether I leave out information such as a background setting for my subjects or not, my ultimate goal refrains from forcing the viewer into a narrative of my creation or constraining them to understand how these subjects resonate with me but rather encourages the viewer to create their own story for my painting’s subject(s). This may be why I am drawn to looser forms and brushwork in paintings, it is less precise and leaves room for improvisation during the creation process. Life isn’t planned and structured but moves and thrives, often in unpredictable ways. To me there would be no point in painting a fox as still as a photograph as the painting itself would loose the sense of life that I strive for. Rather by engaging in a looser painterly technique I find that my fox feels much more life-like, as if it could have just hopped up on that stump it stands on a moment ago. Though my subjects aren’t photorealistic the sense that they are real and they could jump out of the canvas resonates because there is movement in the way they are painted by using a combination of realism and abstract forms. I use several different tools to achieve this and I’m constantly trying to develop all their uses and possibilities, many of which are discovered during creation of a painting itself.”-Morgan Cameron
Surrounded by horses and other animals all her life, Morgan was born and raised in Dover-Foxcroft Maine. With a pencil or paint brush in her hand from an early age, her love for horses was cemented early on during the days of riding and sketching these majestic animals. She spent all of her childhood working on different farms near her home, from an Equestrian Theater where she met and learned about dressage horses, to a local produce farm and her grandfather’s 100 acre farm. After spending years studying and watching animals as well as living in a vast and artistic landscapes, she took her knowledge and sculpted it into her splendid paintings depicting horses, along with her other two favorite animals, ravens and foxes as well as many other creatures.
For two years she studied as a painting major at the University of Maine and transferred for her final year to Lyme Academy College of Fine Art. Once Morgan finished school, she went on to spend time in the New Orleans Arts Market. After she married her husband, starting a new adventure in Louisiana before moving back to the east coast to New Jersey where she lives now as an artist and a certified Dog Trainer/Walker. Her art was featured in edition of Inside Northside Magazine and she participates in various local Art Shows as well as being a member of the Studio Montclair Professional and Visual Arts Organization.
TFS: What inspires you?
MC: My whole life I’ve been surrounded by horses. I had several Western Trail Horses growing up and from age eleven on I also attended a local Dressage/Jumping riding school. At this school there were many like-minded, artistic people and we combined the arts with horses and performed an Equestrian Theater each year which would incorporate dressage and intricate routines with one or many horses at a time to theatrical music and costumes in a series of mini plays on foot and horseback. It was one of the greatest loves of my adolescence. These two worlds of magical, theatrical Dressage and down to earth, Western trail riding really shaped who I am now and inspires much of what I paint today, though I’m still exploring immensely with subjects and textures.
I’m also very driven by the natural world and the creatures in it, particularly to foxes and ravens though I enjoy painting a variety of animals and other subjects such as landscapes and figurative art. I literally just paint what I love and I haven’t even come close to painting all the different ideas in my head. I have a little bit of a darker side and I’m obsessed with Halloween so that certainly inspires some of my more darker subjects, though they usually carry either a distinct theatrical flare or a very honest, natural depiction. I’m a certified Dog Trainer and Professional Dog Walker so Pet Portraits are also a frequent, loved subject for me.
As far as style/technique, other artist’s work inspire me heavily: Lindsey Kustusch, Jeremy Mann, Tibor Nagy, Jeremy Lipking, Mark Boedges, Jill Soukup, Elise Genest, Douglas Fryer and Bill Anton just to name a few. I would one day like to find my voice and settle into work of consistent quality so I could someday feel worthy of adding my name to my own list of favorite Artists. I don’t need the recognition, though working full time as a painter would be amazing, I just want to enjoy my own work someday as much as I enjoy theirs. But at the end of it all my husband inspires me to no end. He and I are in very similar places with out art. He is a pianist and is dedicated just as strongly, if not more so to his art than myself. Having that understanding between us and being able to relate and help each other through the discouraging times in our art is incredible and he always inspires me to work harder and appreciate where I am and where I’m going rather than get discouraged about not being where I want to be with my art yet. I have a very supportive family overall and that sometimes is inspiration enough.
TFS: Do have a favorite equine breed or discipline?
MC: I am definitely drawn to Iberian breeds, particularly the Andalusian. Where I used to ride there were a lot of Andalusian and Lipizzan cross breeds and my main and favorite horse was an Andalusian cross named Barra. I find them particularly beautiful, graceful, intelligent and sensitive and they carry a natural bit of sass which I love! They remind me of the Border Collie of horse breeds, which happens to be my favorite canine breed as well! I would very much like to own an Andalusian or cross breed one day myself. However, growing up my grandfather had a lot of draft breeds, the Shire my favorite of that grouping and a breed I love to paint. I also really like mustangs.
Dressage is definitely my favorite discipline. It’s such a beautiful and unique discipline, to dance with your horse. It is so challenging to master but so rewarding in the end. I’ve seen Dressage used in many different and stunning ways and it will probably always captivate me the most.
TFS: Are there any artistic mediums that you have not worked in and would like to try?
MC: None in particular that I haven’t used before but there are definitely some I’ve barely dabbled in and would like to improve upon such as watercolors, pastel and sculpting. Digital painting I have used the least and I would love to be able to master it one day!
TFS: Any advice for other artists?
MC: For advice I have two main points I always tell people:
1. Anyone can be a great artist! It doesn’t take talent, all it takes is passion and a desire to work long and hard at it to achieve your own personal goals. If someone thinks that a child has talent because they’re good at drawing for their age, it just means that child has taken a focused interest in it more than other children their age. Another kid could start drawing later in life and work harder and become just as good as the kid whose been drawing their whole life, it just might take longer to get there. I was one of those kids who were “talented from the start” but I truly believe it’s just because I loved it more than others my age. I hate when people tell me “you’re so talented,” or “I wish I could do that, I can’t draw a stick figure!” It’s not talent, I loved and worked at it my whole life to get to this point. And never think as an adult you can’t draw or you have no talent. You just have to want it badly enough to work on it for as long as it takes and never give up!
2. There will be many low points in your artistic career, probably many where you wonder if you should even bother anymore but just remember, every low is followed by a high no matter how long it takes. You just need to work through it and keep going! Whenever I’m “stuck” and either don’t know what to paint or feel that everything I paint is coming out awful, I put it aside and go back to doing what I know and love. For me that’s always a basic horse portrait. Some of my best paintings have come when I just let go and had NO expectations for the piece I was working on. I did it for myself and to have fun. Just let go and simplify!!!!
TFS: Did you go to art school or study under any other artists?
MC: I’ve had two years of college as a Painting Major. I first attended the University of Maine, Orono, partly because it was close to home. My second year I transferred to Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in CT. I took as many classes pertaining to my personal goals that I could knowing I would not return as I married and knew I was moving. Since then I’ve just been working on my own looking to other artist’s work for inspiration and technique.
Thank you so much for answering my questions and letting me share your art with my followers, Morgan! Best of luck to your future adventures.