The human figure became prominent in my oil paintings and charcoal drawings in the mid 1990’s. I was living in Connecticut, “a stone’s throw from NYC”, engrossed in a decade of independent study and mentoring with internationally renowned painters Hugh O’Donnell and Robert Sherer, along with the American philosopher, acclaimed author, and multi-talented Jean Houston, and also with Robert Moss, historian, best-selling novelist, & founder of Active Dreaming. This intensive melding of creativity and spirituality gave energy and form to my work as I explored the conscious and unconscious nature of humanity.
Although my work became firmly grounded in the genre of figurative realism, it shifted dramatically after 2003, when family illness motivated me to return to my birthplace of Knoxville, Tennessee. It was there, urged by a collector’s commission request to paint a great white horse that had appeared to her in a dream, that I began to work on a subject that I had loved since childhood. I was a very active, athletic child that thought she was a horse. I was not “playing horse”, I was BEING horse, and I knew how to speak “horse” before I knew what it meant to be human. As a child, I only wanted to draw horses. But parents and teachers alike were not supportive of my horsey passion. Once I began research for the white horse commission, I hung out on a friend’s farm just soaking up “horse”… sometimes sketching, photographing, riding and playing with this herd of “plantation walkers” (Tennessee Walkers)…but mostly, just feeling a child-like happiness to be one of the herd. I had come full circle. When, as a 19 year old, I left home for the big city of Washington DC, I buried an essential part of myself. As fate and heart had its way, the essential thing came back around to me as a 50 year old, while contentedly drawing and walking with horses through that rich Tennessee Valley river land.
Over the last five years, my charcoal paintings have evolved into a labor intensive, highly crafted, photo-realistic style. A friend coined my style as “Presence Realism”. Though I strive for a detailed, life-like portrait, it is not the image that drives me. The image is simply the vessel in which I am able to submerge into a meditative experience of my subject’s interior world. I don’t feel complete with the work until I feel the horse’s presence in the room, right next to me. I want the viewer to hear the silent language of the horse, to connect with their soulful sensibility, to receive their wisdom. The look of the eye, twitch of an ear, tightening or relaxing of the jaw, the arching neck, flaring nostrils, or a velvet soft muzzle...all communicate. In this way, the ancient myths of the horse as a heavenly messenger come to our contemporary lives in a new way, reminding us to allow our lives to unfold in natural, authentic ways. Over time, I have discovered that my ongoing relationship with horses has proven to be a coming home to something essential, precious, and enlivening within myself...and the journey continues!
Lynda Evans was born in Knoxville, Tennessee and received an undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee with a triple major in fine art, art education, and human services, also earning a Master of Theology from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts. Evans is currently residing in the beautiful horse country of Tryon, North Carolina. She is exhibited and collected regionally and nationally for her chiaroscuro-like charcoal paintings and drawings of soulful horses.