Debi Fitzgerald: Realistic Horse Portraiture

By Cassie Rief in Featured Artists > Oil Paintings

Debi Fitzgerald has a passion for horses. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Florida State University in 1980 and is nearing 30 years within her field of horse portraiture.

She also worked on thoroughbred racehorse farms for three years, was art director for Florida Horse Magazine for two years, and has done horse photography, too! Take a look at some of her amazingly realistic paintings (including one human portrait) below:

Do you ever wish you had a front row ticket to the horse races? American Royale makes it happen, showing the majestic horse mid-stride as it thunders past, milliseconds before stirring up a cloud of dirt with its fiercely pummeling hooves


This oil painting is so realistic, I’m sure if we sit patiently for a second or two, we’ll feel the breeze created by horse and rider as they fly by!

Muscles taut and rippling, with the front half of its body midair, I can’t help but feel the horse’s movement exhibited in this painting. The jockey’s concentration is especially apparent in his clenched fists as he hovers above American Royale, urging more speed to close the race with a win.

Next, what more in life could a boy ask for than to climb a tree on a beautiful day? Harry, shown here in this painting, smiles blissfully with feet dangling from both sides of the tree limb as he leans into it, relaxed and carefree.


Sunlight glinting off his brown hair—combined with the lifelike shadows Debi painted along his arms—show just how bright the day is. The rough texture of tree bark contrasts beautifully with softly-floating foliage in the background, adding depth and a sense of place to this stunning portrait.

And finally, a rich chestnut-hued horse and its rider are center stage in Francis and Geofrey Mon, showcasing any horse-lover’s ultimate riding spot—miles of trees and pasture lined within a pristine white picket fence.


With grass as soft as carpet and trees bathed in a cool light, the scene invites you into adventure and excitement. I know I wish I was there riding, too!

And while each of the paintings above were created using oils, you must (I repeat, MUST) go to Debi’s website to see some of her work in pastels as well. You won’t be disappointed!


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