Linda Manion, Spellbinding Western Artist

By Laurie Hammer, Horseback Magazine

ALBEQUERQUE, (Horseback) – The day I walked into an art gallery and saw Linda Manion’ s painting

s for the first time, I felt as if I had found treasure.  When I watched Linda work on her newest painting of a horse, I was honored to be in the presence of great talent.  The mark of a truly gifted painter is to bring forth the uniqueness of each person and animal that is portrayed, and Linda has this gift.   

Growing up in southern California, Linda started riding horses at a very young age, and this became the biggest influence in her art.  “It’s the partnership you acquire, let alone the beauty of the animal that I still appreciate.  I began giving away drawings of the horses we rode, as well as of friends and their pets.  It got me started with a very strong and dedicated basis, because despite the time it took, I loved the outcome.”  A self-taught artist, she is known for the personal quality of her work.  Her paintings present dynamics in realism, depicting the inner spirit and presenting the true likeness of each subject. 

Besides her environment and the encouragement of friends, Linda was also influenced by her family’s passion for the arts, which included music.  Since her early work in black and white/graphite, she has now found that pastels range from softness to innate and rich brilliance.  She recognizes that diversity allows for creativity and applies to every composition.

 Linda feels that with a background as a commercial artist in marketing design, it helped train her eye for composition.  She says it brings together the appeal of the presentation, although technique in realism is equally valued.

Linda prefers to communicate on a personal basis with her clients for commissioned paintings, which includes customizing the background if desired.  “Every painting, every person or animal is important.  But in commissioned art, the opportunity to learn the story behind each subject is most rewarding.  It’s in my thoughts throughout each painting and actually influences the process.”  Since moving to the Southwest in 1990, the early influence of being around horses was reunited within the horseracing industry.  Her paintings have gained the attention of many, including trainers and jockeys, as well as in the hunter/jumper arena, and have sold here in New Mexico and across the country.

 Linda says one of her earliest and most influential encouragements came from the wonderful jockey, her brother-in-law, Bill Shoemaker.  “He was a natural, and well respected.  He told me, ‘never let anyone stop you from doing what you love to do, and don’t be afraid to work hard getting there’.”

Whether painting horses, people, or a pair of well worn cowboy boots, her attention to the smallest detail creates the beauty of her realism.  Linda’s western art of cowboys, cattle, and the life around a working ranch, is a timeless reminder of our country’s past. The lore of the American West and its rich traditions lives on in her stunning portrayals of current times.

 Many of her exclusive works are part of private collections.  Her images have been recognized by the American Academy of Equine Art, and she was also honored to receive the 2008 People’s Choice Award from the National Pastel Painting Exhibition in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  

Working from reference photographs, Linda explores the range of personality and individuality of each subject.

 In capturing the true representation of the subject, detail is very important.  She recognizes pastels as a strong medium that can present itself as a ‘painted’ process.  “I was excited to find that the application of my own technique in pastels could acquire as much detail as in other mediums I’ve worked with.”  Linda works to memorialize the subject in realism, depicting its inner beauty and creating a memory.  Each of Linda’s paintings is a treasure waiting to be discovered.

 Linda Manion Artistry

Albuquerque, NM