Tia Harper: Brightly Whimsical Equestrian Oil Paintings

Published on Jul. 3rd 2013

EmptyEasel’s latest featured artist doesn’t horse around when it comes to oil painting—or using her creativity to advance her career!

Tia Harper grew up drawing throughout her travels around the world as a child, and from hobby to profession, she was soon creating advertisements, billboards, and websites for (among others) MGM Grand, Popeye’s Chicken, Kid Rock and even the president!

In 2008, she began pursuing a career in painting, combining ideologies of the past and present with stylistically lowbrow satire that is both thought provoking and humorous. Her paintings express the power and captivating splendor of horses juxtaposed with whimsical allegory.

Inspired by a Looney Tunes episode featuring Bugs Bunny riding a giant white horse, Fatties on Parade portrays a heard of plump horses prancing (well, as much as they can in their state!) across a luxurious meadow.

And, with that delicious spread of greenery at their hooves, what other weight would we expect them to be?

fatties on parade

Fantastic usage of vibrant flowers, mounting clouds and an otherworldly atmosphere add a touch of eccentricity to the painting. A bit cartoony, a bit illustrative—it’s a nice escape from the sometimes polluted, fast-paced actualities of real life!

Dainty and elegant is The Gift Horse, seen below, with its velvety bow and neatly trimmed mane. This horse’s perfect stance reminds me a little those horses you’d see on a carousel—beautiful and pristine, yet somehow unnaturally stiff, plastic and rendered (ironically) immobile.

the gift horse

Of course, the play on words here is that this particular horse is wrapped up as a present, which, I dare say means we shouldn’t be complaining about it (or looking in its mouth). Luckily, the painting’s composition and clearly excellent technique makes it difficult to do either, and instead we can choose to be entirely grateful for it in all its glossy beribboned glory.

Last but not least, legend beats out truth in The Last UniKoi below. The vibrant orange of a Japanese koi meshes surprisingly well with the mythical beauty of a snow white unicorn, combining to form a quite superior animal!

the last unikoi

The UniKoi’s fins are incredibly similar to that of a flowing mane, yet its fish-like characteristics are still prominently displayed through those gorgeous pearlescent scales.

As majestic a beast as it is, I managed to tear my eyes away long enough to identify skull-like shapes hidden within the murky brown background. . . no doubt engrossed in an attempt to drag this unique, doe-eyed creature back into the depths of an as-of-yet unwritten fantasy tale.

Tia’s work prominently shows off her sense of humor and zest for life, and is certainly worth a thorough viewing. Visit her website for more unique and fun-filled oil paintings that you definitely won’t find anywhere else!

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