New LMC artwork captures the spirit of the steed

Emily Brett, 17, poses with one of her pieces, “Free Spirit” at the Lacombe Memorial Centre during the hanging of her new exhibit Tuesday, which will be on display for the next month. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

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Walking past the artwork in Lacombe Memorial Centre’s hallway towards Anna Maria’s Cafe might make one feel like they’re strolling through a pasture or field surrounded by a dozen horses.

That feeling will remain for the next month, as the vivid, semi-realistic equine paintings of 17-year-old Emily Brett – and her obvious love for horses – will be on display.

A home school student, a lot of Brett’s skill with a paintbrush was developed on her own.

“I was doing pencil drawings since, I guess could draw,” she said Tuesday afternoon. “It was my love of horses that inspired me to paint.”

Painting is actually a fairly recent venture for Brett, who only began three years ago. At first, she said it was just something new to try, but she liked the effect it had, not to mention enjoyed the mixing and blending of colours a lot more.

As for her style, many of her pieces are inspired by the way acrylic “Paint by Number” paintings are done, followed by adding additional detail in afterwards to blend and mute areas that are too contrasting, resulting in pieces that almost look more like photographs.

The realism is also inspired by pictures from horse magazines and other artworks where Brett has taken bits and pieces of horses and their surroundings that she likes, and crafted them into new pieces. Others, which are on display, have also recreations of pieces by other artists who she received permission from to do so.

While her own horse, Blackjack, isn’t part of the pieces she has on display, she has plans to do portraits of him as well in the future. As for any post-secondary aspirations or desire to take her artwork to the next level, she says she’d like to continue to exhibit her work, but at this point, painting is still just a hobby.

Maureen MacKenzie, City of Lacombe community services executive assistant, said she first came across Brett’s work when she applied for the Encore Art Show’s student competition and submitting two paintings.

Impressed by those two, the arts committee asked her if she had more. Brett opened her phone, where she had pictures of many more of her pieces, so they asked her to exhibit her work, and naturally, Brett agreed.

MacKenzie says it’s nice to feature someone so young with so much quality in their work. What specifically drew her to Brett’s work, though, was her ability to capture “the heart and soul of each horse.”

“If you know horses, you can feel the emotion in them, and that’s what I feel with each one of her pieces. They’re just stunning,” she said. “You could almost think each of these are her horses, because she captures the essence of them.

“She’s really found her niche.”