The creative use of bold, bright color opposites is an
eye-catching individual style of painting from artist Cynthia
Sampson that catches one’s attention. Her use of vibrant
colors has caught the eye of many as they found themselves
attracted to the bright red horse on a “14 Hands” wine bottle
label. Her pastel painting “Wild Horses” is the featured
artwork of this wine.
Even as a child, Sampson was drawn to use the
brightest crayon in the box. She drew tigers in yellow and
purple, while zebras transitioned from black and white
images to multicolored works of childhood art.
It was Sampson’s intense color contrasts that
landed her horse art on Ste. Michelle Wine Estates’
“14 Hands” label.
An animal artist who works in pastels as well
as acrylic and oil stick paintings on gallery canvas,
she has a special fondness for horses. In order to
photograph horses for her artwork, Sampson often
travels to horse shows, ranches, rodeos and also
visits wild horse herds. One place she loves to go
to is Disappointment Valley in southwest Coloradojust
south of where she lives. Here in the Valley, she
studies, watches and photographs the Spring Creek
wild horse herd.
Several of her horse paintings feature individual horses from
this herd. “Mrs. America” is a pastel portrait of a wild mare and
her colt done in the patriotic colors of red, white and blue on a
black background for contrast. “Topaz” is a portrait of another wild
mare painted in yellows and purples on canvas with acrylics and
oil paint stick. “Freedom Fighter” is one of Sampson’s newest pastel
paintings that captures the wild spirit of the Spring Creek herd.
“I love being out in Disappointment Valley with the Spring
Creek wild horses. Sometimes I only get glimpses of the horses as they thunder away in the distance. Sometimes I get lucky and get
to see and study some up close. Horses are naturally curious. I
have used that curiosity to get great photos of them. I walk by
myself with my camera pretending to just be going for a walk and
not interested in them, but something on the ground. When I think
that I have their attention, I may even sit down on the ground.
“I have had some horses get fairly close to me wondering
what I am doing. I have gotten some great close- up photos with
my telephoto lens of the horses in action with the wind blowing
through their tangled wild manes.”
This winter in her studio, she revisited her wild horse
memories and photos that she took during a trip to Kelly Creek,
Nevada and the wild horse herd there. It was from that trip that
her pastel painting “Wild Horses” originated from.
Sampson has created a new series of pastels of running
horses based on her three horses in “Wild Horses.” There are four
paintings: “Wild Red,” “Wild Purple,” and two versions of the third
orange, mystery horse entitled “Wild Paint,” and “Wild Tangerine.”
Getting encouragement from her parents from early in her
childhood, she remembers, “Growing up I was always allowed to
make creative messes and they never let me run out of art supplies.
The best advice I ever received about my artwork was from my
dad. He told me, ‘Always listen to every opinion or criticism about
your artwork. Sort out what you want and can use to improve
your work and throw the rest away. Find your vision. In art, there
is no right or wrong way.’”
Cynthia Sampson attended Utah State
University where she focused on silk screen and
fabric design which has greatly influenced her
artistic methods. “I layer pure color and use color
combinations next to each other to get the effects
that I want. I seldom blend or mix the colors I choose.
I loved those fabric design classes. The instructorwanted the students to find theirindividual artistic
voices increativity,design and color.We would
often stay late intothe night creating and printing
our fabric designs.” Sampson has always found a way
to use her artistic talents to earn a living. During
high school, college and afterwards, she found jobs
with newspapers, screen printing shops and sign
companies in their art departments. Since 1990, she
has been self-employed fulltime with her artwork,
ZebraJazzStudio, and her sign business. Sampson
participates yearly in several art shows in Colorado.
She has artwork at The Great Frame Up in Grand
Junction, CO and in her gallery, ZebraJazzStudio. A
member of the International Equine Artists, andThe
Pastel Society of Colorado, her artwork continues
to win awards. She hasalso been published in
Wildlife Art magazine, The Pastel Journal, Spirit of
the Road RV Journal, and Telluride Style, in addition
to numerous newspaper articles. Sampson has had
several solo shows and has her artwork in private
and corporate collections in the United States
and Europe. She can be reached at her website
www.zebrajazzstudio.com or email csampson@
zebrajassstudio.com, or phone (970) 865-2383.