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April 2011

Skyuka Fine Art in Tryon, NC, Offers First Equestrain Art Show

In honor of Tryon, NC’s own 65th Blockhouse Steeplechase race, Skyuka Fine Art is proud to present its first annual Equestrian Show. The show will open Apr. 16 and continue through May 31, 2011, and will feature equine art by eight regional artists including: Joan MacIntryre, Jill Silver, Charles Harpt, Rick Conn, Sarah Holmberg and Richard Christian Nelson, of the Tryon area; Jan Lukens and Tucker Bailey (our only sculptor) from Greensboro, NC, and Valerie Hinz from Canada. A reception will be held on Apr. 16, from 5-8pm to coincide with three other galleries in downtown Tryon, prompting its first ‘Gallery Crawl’ in years, also including, Upstairs Artspace, Kathleen’s, and Richard Baker Studio.

Joan MacIntyre, an award-winning artist in open juried shows as well as equine art shows, is a signature member of The Society of Western Artists and just recently an associate member of The Horse Artists Association. She’s painted for jockeys, celebrity owners as well as people who just adore their animals. Bud Johnson, owner of The Old English Rancho and Director and President of The California Breeders Association quotes in an edition of Equine Images, “She seems to have captured the personality and conformation of our horses. She has, in our opinion, the best eye for information ever encountered in an artist.”

Jill Silver says, “There have been two things that are consistent in my life; my love of animals and my love to draw them. As a child I felt as though I had a special bond with all animals, that we shared a special unspoken understanding. As an adult I feel this understanding is revealed in my work.” Silver attended The Ringling School of Art and Design where she studied graphics and illustration. Her sense of design, is only second to her ability to convey the loving relationship she feels for the animals she depicts. Silver has been accepted into countless juried exhibitions and has received numerous awards.

Charles Harpt was the featured artist on the cover of the Okatie Rotary Polo Club invitation and poster for 2003. He studied art at The Academy of Fine Art in Philadelphia on the G.I. Bill and The William Emlen Scholarship. His awards and acceptance into juried shows include Cartwright’s Equestrian Gallery, American Academy of Equine Art and the Sporting Art Exhibit in honor of the 50th running of The Block House Steeplechase.

Rick Conn is one of those ridiculously multi-talented artists; sculptor, painter, furniture maker and architect. However, unlike some who branch out into multi-media, he does them all extraordinarily well. Hailing from Spartanburg, SC, Conn owned and operated his own gallery in Landrum for years before deciding to focus on furthering his education and get away from the business end of it all earning his MFA from Western Carolina University. Conn’s sense of design is perpetually present in all facets of his art whether it is the composition in a painting, or the sheer fluidity of his sculptural pieces and assemblages. Branching into equestrian painting is just another exploration for Conn, and luckily for us, the viewers, it’s just something new we get to enjoy from this dexterous artist. Conn’s list of studies, internships, solo shows, invitational and juried exhibitions is seemingly endless. The artists award’s and institutional commissions are just as impressive.

Richard Christian Nelson, primarily a portrait artist, will have equestrian themed landscapes to add to the show. Nelson states that he is “endlessly fascinated by people, places, and things and considers it a privilege and a challenge to capture some aspect of their essence on canvas. I work toward ‘painterly realism’; good drawing and composition, rendered with strong natural color, in such a way that you can still ‘sense’ or ‘feel’ the paint. The effect of this process is that the subject begins to artfully reveal itself to me and hopefully, the viewer”. All of this work (except some portraiture) is done exclusively from life. This award-winning artist hails from Detroit where he earned his BFA from The Center for Creative Studies, and took post graduate fine art courses at Wayne State University. He has been working as an artist ever since, initially as an illustrator, then as a portrait artist, gallery artist, and instructor. Nelson also teaches workshops focusing on landscape, still life and portraiture.

Sarah Holmburg is a sculptor living in Tryon, NC. Her pieces exhibit a whimsical feeling and movement, some even evoking a hint of humor. She entitles one piece The Bitch Can Ride, where a hound is riding the horse! Holmburg’s colors are bold and vibrant and she works in paper mache. She studied under renowned local equestrian sculptor Phyllis Eifert.

In 1991, Jan Lukens was awarded a painting exhibition at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, for winning top honors in a national portrait competition. This fueled his decision to leave an illustrious advertising career behind for a life in the fine arts. In July of 1992, he started Jan Lukens Portraits, specializing in equestrian portraiture. His work has been featured on the covers of The Chronicle of the Horse, and in the pages of The Artists’ magazine, The Equine Image, The Canine Image, Ink, and Show Circuit. Articles about Lukens and his art have appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Greenwich (CT) Post, and the Greensboro (NC) News and Record. Lukens has exhibited his paintings several times with the American Academy of Equine Art, and is a member of the American Society of Portrait Artists. This award-winning artist has been featured in documentaries, painted celebrities and their horses, completed numerous portraits for silver and gold medalist US Olympic show jumping teams and their horses, and has clients in 37 states and 7 different countries.

Tucker Bailey states, “From the first time I saw bronze sculpture as a young girl at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, I’ve been totally captivated by the reality of three dimensional sculpture. Sculpture is a medium that changes with a changing point of view. The surface of bronze has a reflective quality and the angle of light dramatically changes perception. In my work, I try to bring more to my sculptures than just surface anatomy. I think of the work I do as a portrait of each animal. I try to bring out its personality, making the space at once internal and external.” Bailey has devoted her life to the study of animals and art, and has studied with sculptor John Paul Harris and painters Sally Strand, Heiner Hertling, Valerie Hinz, and Guan Weixing, who is China’s premiere watercolorist. Bailey’s work is found in private and corporate collections across North America and abroad, including many bronzes at the North Carolina Zoological Park. She was featured in the segment on NPR radio called Voices and Viewpoints in 2006, and had an article in the Winston-Salem Monthly magazine (Tucker’s Bailiwick) in 2007. Her work has been featured in Polo Player’s Edition magazine’s Annual Sporting Art issue multiple times. Her accolades include American Artists Professional League, Allied Artists of America, The Pen and Brush, Inc., The Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, the Award of Excellence Medal from the Society of Animal Artists at the Annual in 2007 and the Award of Recognition from the American Women Artists in 2010. We are very excited to have Bailey be our first featured sculptor.

Growing up a Canadian farm girl, Valerie Hinz has been drawing horses “ever since I could hold a pencil.” Her father had horses on the farm, and the first stories she was told were always about horses. Hinz attended the University of Saskatchewan studying art, but had a sporadic beginning; finally being urged to paint friends horses, her career took off. Her first large exhibit came in 1983 at the Arabian National Show. Then, in 1986, another important event took place, which she says improved her art. Out shoveling grain one day, Hinz twisted her back and was suddenly “in the worst pain of my life.” She had major back surgery and for the next five weeks she couldn’t work, ride, or even paint. So she decided to read - mostly books on composition and color. Shortly after she started to paint again, she completed her first major work, titled Romancing the Stones. This is the painting that brought Hinz attention in the world of equine art. Some of Hinz’s accolades include: being commissioned to paint the winning “Queens Cup Woodbine” Toronto/Canada, Best in 2D Award, Horses in Motion Exhibition/Kentucky Derby Museum/Louisville, KY, First Place-Oils/Acrylics, 10th Annual Draft Horse Classic Western and Equine Art Show, First Place-Oils/Acrylics, 9th Annual Draft Horse Classic Western and Equine Art Show, and juried into full membership of AAEA -1994 Featured Artist, Vancouver Wildlife Art Show, just to name a few. Skyuka Fine Art is honored to have Valerie be its first featured artist from outside the US.

For further information check our NC Commercial Gallery listings, call the gallery at 828/817-3783 or visit (


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