Horse and wildlife art by Mona Majorowicz.

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Draft Horse Art


A Rough Draft

Clydesdale Mare

I found this diminutive Clydesdale mare spending her retirement years at a petting zoo where she enjoyed the treats and attention the children gave her. I have mixed emotions about this. In a perfect world she would be in a sunny pasture, belly deep in grass. However it is hard to say what her fate would have been had the zoo not taken her in.

Despite her age, she had a beautiful face with kind eyes and a soft expression. I see beauty in all horses and I am just as compelled to paint a back yard pony as I am a show champion.

The original painting was done using watercolor pencil and gouche on Arches Watercolor paper.

Please Note: The watermark that appears on this image is for online viewing onluy and does NOT appear on the actual artwork.

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Courage And Valor

Clydesdale Team

This is an excerpt from my Artist Journal entries regarding the creation of the Courage and Valor painting.

I was once asked by a friend what exactly is it that I like so much about horses. I am not one to spend a whole lot of time analyzing myself, so I had to give it a bit of thought. The truth is I like everything about horses. The way they look and sound and smell. The gentle manner of my horse and his sweet disposition.

I love to spend warm summer evenings sitting on his hay bunk in the barn just listening to the soft whisp and grind as he eats hay. Occasionally he runs his nose over my leg or foot just to let me know he is enjoying my company.

I think I was just born with the love of horses embedded in my genetic code. I don't remember when it all started, I have just always been "horse crazy". I don't know why I get so much enjoyment from just being with my horse. I don't know why I create horse paintings one after the other. Perhaps I should spend just a little time analyzing myself....Nah.

PLEASE NOTE: The watermark is for online viewing only and does NOT appear on the artwork.

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Days End

Belgian Draft Horses

This is an excerpt from my Apples 'N Oats magazine article regarding the creation of the Days End painting.

We recently have had many storms pass through, which has left our farm soggy and battered. After the latest, I was out walking the pasture, looking for downed branches and shingles. While doing this, my horse followed me about, taking nibbles of grass every few feet. I was rushing around trying to get done as quickly as possible. There were more chores to be done, than hours left in the day.

Chicory patiently followed me, as always the courteous gentleman. Whenever I would stop for even just a moment, he would softly nuzzle my back or arm. After a few of these gentle persuasions I finally got the hint and took a break. I just stood there in the misting rain, leaning against his warm body and watching the flood waters flow through the low spot of the pasture. I let myself get absorbed in the pleasantness of it all. It is a wonderful feeling to let the quiet and stillness get inside.

It was with this feeling of peace that I worked on "Days End". I wanted the horses to convey their harmony and contentment with each other and their surroundings. When working on my art I draw upon my relationships with my animals. It is often said that you should paint what you know. Which I do. But more so than that, I paint what I feel.

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Earth Movers

Percheron Team 4 across

This is an excerpt from my artist blog regarding the creation of the Earth Movers painting.

I think there may be a colorist deep inside me trying to get out. Many of my paintings start out with all sorts of color and then I start toning them down until I finish with something that looks quite realistic with just hints of brightness.

Mike rolls his eyes every time, when I look at a near completed painting and declare, “It looks too purple.” Apparently there is something going on unconsciously and then I have to pull it back into reality.

Anywho, this painting started out as being quite realistic in coloring and then I was getting bored. (Yawn) So I thought what the heck, I doubt I will be happy with it as is, lets bump up the color. And here is the result. The sad thing is you can’t actually see the color that I am talking about in this scan of it. But trust me, it is just crammed with purples, periwinkles and gingers. (I just love that color combination.)

PLEASE NOTE: The watermark is for online viewing only and does NOT appear on the artwork.

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Percheron Horse in Snow

"One joy scatters a hundred griefs."
-Chinese Proverb

As you may have noticed I have an affinity for painting draft horses. For many years I was lucky enough to be neighbors to a Percheron breeder who provided me with endless opportunity to photograph his two dozen brood mares and foals.

For this painting my model mare was showing off her stuff when we my husband was delivering some hay. Needless to say, having a new ton or so of hay plucked in their paddock tended to get the girls rather excited and provided me with a bounty of beautiful horses to photograph.

The original horse painting was done in oil pastel on museum board and was out Christmas card the year I created the painting.

PLEASE NOTE: The watermark is for online viewing only and does NOT appear on the artwork.

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Power And Passion

Belgian Team

This team was a working pair at a draft horse pull in South Dakota. I was particularly attracted to the broadness of their faces and the expressiveness of their eyes.

They were such massive powerhouses. When the time came to pull, they threw themselves into it with gusto. I don't remember how they placed in the competition, but I do remember their willingness, and of course their power and passion.

PLEASE NOTE: The watermark is for online viewing only and does NOT appear on the artwork.

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Quiet Strength

Dapple Gray Percheron Team

A tender moment is shared between these two gorgeous gray Percheron draft horses. The original watercolor pencil painting was created from reference photos I took during the 2010 World Percheron Congress. These two were waiting their turn to compete in a plowing class. The lighting was extraordinary and I took rolls of film of them (yes I am a dinosaur and held out as long as possible with film, though now do the digital thing.)

This painting was the end result. It is available in a variety of sizes.

PLEASE NOTE: The watermark is for online viewing only and does NOT appear on the artwork.

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Show Girls


This painting is a scene from the Britt Draft Horse Show in Britt, Iowa. It is the largest draft show in the area and most of the large breeds are represented. This image is pretty much the "behind the scenes" view. The actual motivation for the painting, aside from the fact that it amuses me, is the repeating pattern of the soft curves of the horses set against the strong vertical and horizontal lines of the stalls.

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Strength And Glory

Percheron Team

This is an excerpt from my artist journal entries for the creation of the Strength and Glory painting.

It is a constant challenge to really “see” what I am trying to portray. In this case my reference material for this painting is several photos of a couple of different horse teams, taken at different locations, times and lighting situations. My mind struggles with what I actually “see” before me in the photo, and with what I “think” the color should be. Then I need to decide what color to actually put down to make it an interesting painting.

I like to deviate a little from what reality is. After all, if my goal was to produce hyper-realistic artwork, I would most likely become a photographer.

I very much enjoy collecting the reference photos that I use. But for me it is the use of my senses to filter an image into a painting, that makes it enjoyable.

Please Note: The watermark that appears on this image is for online viewing onluy and does NOT appear on the actual artwork.

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The Big Blacks

Three Percheron Mares

This painting is of my neighbor Percheron mares. I was lucky enough that he kept around 20 brood mares next door so I had infinite chance to photograph and paint them. Below is an excerpt from my Apples 'N Oats magazine column about this painting. This happens to be one of my favorite stories of these horses.

Those Clever Girls One of my favorite memories of these horses was several years ago when I awoke in the morning to the tell tale signs (manure piles and dinner plate sized hoof prints) of horses having run amok in the yard. After checking to make sure my horse was safely grazing in the pasture, I immediately called my neighbors to tell them the girls were out.

We received a call back a few minute later to say that all their horses were in the yard paddock. “Huh” was all I could say to that.

The following evening in the wee hours, I was awakened by strange noises. As I looked out my living room window, I saw giant black shapes moving about in the darkness. The noises were the horses stepping on the cellar door and it groaning under the weight. They seemed to be intrigued by it as a few moments after stepping back off it, they would step back on. Frankly it a miracle it held them.

So with the dawn came a repeat of the previous morning, where I call and again the horses are all peaceably waiting by the barn.

After the second call my neighbors did a more thorough search. As it turns out after a closer inspection, the fence was found to be weak in one area. The mares apparently pushed on it and just stepped over. How the whole herd managed this is unclear. Whether one held it down for all to leave and all to return or whether each horse did the same maneuver to attain freedom is still known only to them.

Whatever the case, the end result was they frolicked and cavorted in our yard all night long (probably taunting my horse and sheep with their freedom.) Then just before dawn they’d return, sneaking back in the same way they got out. Only to be found standing around waiting for their breakfast grain ration looking bored and hungry. And if it weren’t for my ratting them out, they’d probably have continued doing it for quite some time.

This Percheron Draft Horse Painting was done in watercolor pencil and water soluble ink on suede board.

PLEASE NOTE: The watermark is for online viewing only and does NOT appear on the artwork.

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The Greys

Percheron Team

Horses have always been a great love of mine. I don't actually remember, but I think a horse was quite probably the subject of that first drawing I did as a child. I read stories about them, drew them, dreamt of them, saved up my money to buy picture books and plastic figures of them.

The heavy breeds of horses have become my favorite and I am fortunate enough to have a neighbor who raises Percheron draft horses. They are living works of art with their ebony coats, thick necks and robust form. I often walk along their pasture watching them graze and delighting in the antics of each years new foals. I guess it was inevitable that at least one painting should come of that.

PLEASE NOTE: if you want some sort of holiday greeting printed on the inside of the card, we can do that. You just need to specify on your order in the special instructions area.

Please Note: The Wild Faces Gallery watermark is for online viewing only and does NOT appear on this artwork.

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The Solace of Open Spaces

Horses in Snow

This oil pastel horse painting features three gray horses grazing in a wide open wintry pasture. The sparseness of the landscape and the warm golds set opposite of the cool whites and blues make this painting's winter feeling almost tangible. It is loosely based off from my neighbors herd of Percheron draft horses who have become much loved models and muses for me and my equine art.

The original draft horse painting was done in oil pastel on museum board and is being held by the artist as part of the Zen Horse collection and exhibition.

"Everything that lives,
lives not alone, nor for itself."
-William Blake

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Working Girls

Draft Mule Team

This watercolor pencil painting features a pair of lovely Percheron draft mules which I was able to photograph while they were taking a break from giving buggy rides at the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa.

I shot over two rolls of film on them but because they were feeling quite nappy I was hard pressed to find a couple of photos without one of them yawning or with its tongue stuck out. I imagine a hard working mule just needs to take a nap when she can get it.

This is one of my favorite paintings and one of the few originals that I am keeping for myself. The original painting was done using watercolor pencils on arches watercolor paper.

Please Note: The watermark that appears on this image is for online viewing onluy and does NOT appear on the actual artwork.

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Text and original graphics copyright © Mona Majorowicz, 2000-2018.
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