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Introduced to polo while staying with friends in New Zealand two years ago, Annie Whitely was soon to capture the ‘amazing dance of precision’ of player and pony during a game. Indeed, one of her paintings, ‘Flying’ won the Best Polo Painting award at the 1999 SEA Exhibition. She also won two other awards at the same exhibition – Best Pastel for ‘Welsh Cobs’, and the Sally Mitchell Award for ‘the painting people would most like to take home with them.
Born in Egypt, Annie spent much of her childhood in Australia where her love of horses was nurtured. ‘The horse has been the key that opens Nature’s door from the moment of my first ride, aged ten, racing bareback across a sun-baked Aussie paddock.’ At school in England she drew horses as ‘my symbol of freedom, taking me back to the wild empty beaches and rolling hills of New South Wales.’
Annie’s love of colour grew as a student at St Martin’s School of Art, London, where she studied Fine Art in the early 1960’s. Horses remained at a distance during her years in London. Later, in the Cotswolds, her children, gardening, permaculture and homeopathy engaged her time, although painting ‘wove in and out of my life. Five years ago she moved to a small farm on the edge of the Preseli Hills in West Wales. In this romantic landscape, where the farmers have a passion for breeding Welsh ponies and cobs, Annie’s childhood dream of owning her own horse was realised. She was given two Welsh Cobs and, dealing with their strong temperaments, had to learn quickly to speak the language of horses. In this she was helped by Monty Roberts when he visited Wales.
It came as no surprise to Annie that, when she began to paint again, horses rather than gardens, were the subject. ‘Here on the Preseli Hills I am inspired by the dark skies, the rush of birds overhead, old trees bent in the wind – and I love to paint horses in the landscape. I am happy to portray horses from any sphere, be they Shetlands, Shires or showjumpers. My overwhelming wish is to bring to the viewer the truly glorious spirit of the horse.’
(Excerpt from article ‘ Dance of Precision’ by kind permission of PQ International.)
Annie is happy to undertake commissions, with no obligation to buy. Please contact her via this website for more details.