Capturing the Essence of an Animal
by Kim Roe
Jordan Banks is a dressage and working equitation trainer in the Pacific Northwest. Respected as a thoughtful and gentle trainer, she is also a talented artist specializing in animal subjects.
How long have you been an artist? My entire life. My great uncle was a professional oil painter and my brother is also a gifted artist, so perhaps it’s genetic. I graduated from WSU with a minor in fine arts, and started selling my work and doing commissions in 2004.
What are your goals with your art? For my commission work, my goal is to capture the essence, or spirit, of the animal. This happens first through the animal’s eyes; the animal’s expression follows. Choosing the right reference photo is key. Every time I have delivered a portrait there are tears, and I consider this a positive thing. Future goals include selling prints and notecards and to illustrate a series of children’s books that I plan to write about my Lusitano mare, Xena.
What do you love most about being an artist? I love the gift that God gave me to be able to do this. I often look at finished pieces and say to myself, Wow! How did I do that? The answer is that I didn’t, God did. It’s an honor to be able to do this for people.
What is the most difficult thing? Time. My original intention was to do horses part-time and art part-time. But horses consume most of my life. Finding time to devote to my artwork is difficult. I find that the winter months are easier as my lesson schedule slows down and I’m not going to horse shows and clinics nearly every weekend. Plus, I am happy to stay indoors in the yucky weather. Most of my commission work happens in the fall and winter months.
Describe your equestrian journey. My parents put me on a pony at the fair when I was one. That set the stage for my life. I was in 4-H, rode stock seat, saddle seat, and trained my pony and two horses to drive. As an adult, I moved to Germany and was introduced to dressage. I took a trip to Portugal while living in Germany and fell in love with Lusitano horses. At that point, I pursued dressage as a working student. Now I have my own training business in Gig Harbor, Washington and own two Lusitanos who I compete in dressage and working equitation.
Details on how to commission a portrait can be found on Jordan’s website: www.GoldenHorseStudio.com