Horses are amazing creatures of physical beauty and strength, spirit and sensitivity.
Breaking away from reality, I filter out superfluous details and portray horses in their clear essence – their spirits and souls, their energy, movement and physical presence.
Beginning with a textured surface and a simple line drawing, I pour and drip paint, spray water, and manipulate the pigments with a palette knife – move, scrape and add more paint.
The horse’s image emerges with this process of addition and subtraction, seemingly left unfinished, to allow the viewer room for personal interpretation. Through this process of simplification, I say everything I need to say about the horse – render what has truly impassioned me.
“Sometimes the ‘unfinished’ is an experiment that pushes boundaries.”
“Carol Santora is attracted to the pure spirit of animals… no other subject has ever called to her in the same way that animals do,” writes Bridget Burns of Seacoast Media Group.
Best known for her expressionistic and soulful animal paintings, Santora works in acrylic and soft pastel, and her styles are equally diverse. Her subjects range from horses, dogs and other domestics to Maine and western wildlife and the great cats. Her current work is divided between her conceptual, symbolic, drip-method paintings in acrylic and intimate pastel portraits.
Santora showed art talent as a child, and realized early on as an artist that she had a special gift for animal portraiture. She began her formal art training while working as a registered nurse in 1983. Santora (BFA, summa cum laude Framingham State University) retired from nursing in 1996 to pursue her career in art full time. With over 35 years of experience, she has taught from her studio and at museum schools, and is a requested judge/juror and demonstrator for various art groups and non-art audiences.
Her work has been shown in museums and galleries across the country and in France, and has been selected to represent animal advocacy agencies including the Texas Dispute Resolution System’s Office of Dispute Resolution, Lubbock, TX.
Santora’s work can be found in several corporate and numerous private collections around the world including recent a commission for the 12 million-dollar renovation of the historic Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, CA. She had 3 works selected for a traveling museum show “Environmental Impact” curated by David J Wagner, LLC, beginning fall 2013 through 2016, and going out again in 2020.
A Signature Member of the Pastel Society of America, and Associate Member of the Society of Animal Artists, Santora is currently represented by The Wright Gallery, Cape Porpoise, ME, The Sharpe Gallery, Kennebunkport/online, and The Grand Teton Gallery, Jackson, WY. She maintains Santora Fine Art at her Lyman, ME residence where she lives with her husband David and their two adopted canine rescues Dixie and Biscuit.
Santora is the proud owner of 3 quarter horse mares. She was given her first horse in 2013, Ruby, AQHA mare “XO Scottys Lady,” now 26 years-old. Ruby is her muse and the subject and spirit in many of her equine paintings, along with Mimi, AQHA “Miss N Hustler,” is 20, and the most recent addition to her herd, is “Trixie,” a quarter horse rescue, approximately 21 years old. Prior to owning her own horses, Santora worked with mustangs for five years and at a private boarding barn where she learned firsthand about horses.
A highly respected animal artist, Santora travels throughout New England and out West to study animals in the wild and in protected environments. She spends countless hours observing and photographing the animals that are her inspiration.
Santora says “My paintings go beyond the technical representation of horse anatomy. I portray what others may not see. My acrylic pieces are more spiritual – sharing the intimate connection I feel – sharing the animal’s feelings and emotions – a look into their heart and soul – a glimpse of their spirit.”
For more information and to see Santora’s work please visit her gallery Santora Fine Art, 1230 S Waterboro Rd, Lyman, ME, open by chance and appointment.