Day At The Track

Even the Ontario horse artist is affected

02:56 PM 27 Mar 2013 NZDT
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Michelle Hogan with Shepherd Home Under urging by Michelle Hogan Unchecked by Michelle Hogan Catch drive by Michelle Hogan
Michelle Hogan with Shepherd Home - The winner of 23 races and $36,105
Under urging by Michelle Hogan
Unchecked by Michelle Hogan
Catch drive by Michelle Hogan
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Growing up in small town in Ontario, Michelle Hogan's dreams were always filled with horses - all kinds of horses including our wonderful harness racing breed. 'From the time I could hold a pencil I would cover the refrigerator door with drawing after drawing. Almost always, those drawings were of horses,' the self confessed horse-fanatic said.

Now one of the world’s finest equine artists, Hogan believes the current confusion in racing in Ontario has also affected her income.

“My passion is harness racing art, so if less people are buying art of that type I will have to redirect to other types of equine art. Things have slowed down a bit, but not drastically.

“It certainly will have a trickle down effect on people like me as well if things don't change,” Hogan told Harnesslink.

As a result the 32-year-old Burlington (On) native said she was forced to diversify because of the indecision in Ontario.

“I have already begun to branch out a bit more. The majority of my commissions are of general equine portraits of all breeds now,” she said.

When Hogan was 12 she was accepted into an adult art class where she learned to paint with watercolours, and was encouraged to draw anything BUT horses!

“Every Thursday night in class I worked at developing my drawing skills and learned so much more than I ever could have otherwise. Horses or not, the class, the teacher and the other students helped me to become the artist I am today,” Lynden (On)-raised Hogan said.

When Hogan turned 15 she got her first job working as a groom at Flamboro Downs, and from that point she never looked back.

“For the next 10 years I was a groom, a trainer, a farm manager and more. I lived and breathed harness racing. During this time my art took a back seat, but wasn't forgotten. “From time to time I would still pick up that pencil and sketch out one of my equine friends on paper. It wasn't until I decided to take a break from the track that my art really took off,” the self-taught artist said.

Now my art is a big part of my life again.

“I work almost entirely in pen and ink using a technique called 'stipple' (sometimes called pointillism), where the drawing is made up of small dots.

“In 2005, on my first attempt, I was accepted into the Harness Tracks of America Art Auction with my piece "First Up". Like many of my drawings, "First Up" was drawn from a photo taken that summer at Flamboro Downs,” Hogan said.

Since that time, much of Hogan’s original work depicts the racing game she loves so much.

“I may not be a part of the industry any longer, but I still live it through my art.

“Pieces such as "Unchecked", "Under Urging", and "Catch Drive" are true reflections of my love for harness racing. They are my favourites (see photos). I also really enjoy painting my paint horse, ‘Junior’,” Hogan said.

North Bruce Peninsula-based Hogan said also she took pride in supporting organizations and events such as the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society and the Standardrama horse show.

“It is a great feeling to give back to the horses that made me who I am today,” she said.

Hogan’s work can be seen at www.michellehogan.ca , and also on Facebook at Michelle Hogan Equine and Fine Art.

By Duane RANGER (editor)

There are two horses Michelle Hogan would love to draw. They are Moni Maker and Somebeachsomewhere.

Moni Maker winning the 2000 Nat Ray Trot:

Somebeachsomewhere setting a world record 1:46.4 in the Bluegrass Pace:

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