CARA VL EQUINE ART: A STORY

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Cara Van Leuven's lifelong obsession with horses is probably like yours — 

it's in the blood;

it's an impossible attraction and addiction.

At the age of nine, Cara began taking riding lessons and knew, due to the likes of Touch of Class, Big Ben and Abdullah, she wanted to jump. Throughout middle school and high school Cara showed in hunters, eventually finding true love in the jumper ring.

Life with horses seemingly ended when Cara left her hometown of Ft. Wayne IN to study photojournalism at Western Kentucky University. Although she did remarkably well with a camera and earned internships every summer working as a photographer at newspapers throughout the country, the loss of horses was marked.

 

Solace needed to be found so Cara turned to hip hop. Yes, you read that right. When she wasn't break-dancing, she wrote graffiti in her black book and occasionally on dumpsters and walls. Her love of art wasn't found so much in art museums, but rather on the side of trains. 

After graduating, she spent time in Duluth MN and London before settling in Albuquerque NM. She worked quite a bit in design but could not find comfort in the corporate environment. Eventually a transfer to St. Louis MO reshaped her lifestyle thanks to the 2008 recession.

One of the last unrehabbed lofts in downtown STL became her home. It was full of artists who encouraged her to paint. In 2011 Cara created her first painting, a 6'x6' of two horses embracing. The only work she could find was as a carriage driver which reunited her with horses and reignited the passion that had been dormant for far too long.

The horses in Cara's oil paintings have exceptionally long legs, reflecting their fragility and the fragility of life. Her work is highly textured and layered, done almost entirely with a pallet knife. 

Today Cara and her husband, Tom York, share summer days on a small farm in Highland IL in their 1861 farmhouse. During the chilly months, they head south to a ranch they are restoring in Williston FL, 20 minutes outside Ocala. 

Cara works on large scale works in her recently renovated historic building in downtown Vandalia IL. 

Her life is rich with two warmblood mares, a miniature horse, two border collies, cats, ducks and geese and chores that simply don't end. 

IN PERSON AT...

SOLO EXHIBITION AT FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
facebook.com/FirstPresLexington

OCTOBER 2022 – NOVEMBER 2022
Lexington, KY

MARYLAND 5STAR
Main Street Row

maryland5star.us

OCTOBER 13 — 16 2022
Fair Hill, MD

FINE ARTS FOR OCALA
fafo.org

OCTOBER 22 — 23 2022
Ocala, FL
 
SOLO EXHIBITION AT OCALA CITY HALL
ocalafl.org
JANUARY — MARCH 2023
Ocala, FL


 
REPRESENTED BY...
HORSE POLO ART GALLERY - KATERINA MORGAN
katerinamorgan.art
* GLOBAL *

GOOD APPLE EQUINE
goodappleequine.com
Ocala, FL
ROGER'S FRAME AND GALLERY - CARTIGLIANO ARTS
cartiglianoarts.com
Ocala, FL

MARION CULTURAL ALLIANCE  Ocala FL 
mcaocala.org
Ocala, FL

 
AWARDS + NOTABLE ...
2022 HAMPTON CLASSIC POSTER ART

ARTIST IN RESIDENCE - EL SUR
MEXICO CITY 2022

FEATURED ARTWORK IN CHRONICLE OF THE HORSE'S ART GALLERY
2022, 2020

COVER ART FOR THE MIDWEST EQUESTRIAN
2021

FEATURE ARTICLE IN UNTACKED MAGAZINE
2021

BEST OF CATEGORY (PAINTING) MIDWEST SALUTE TO THE ARTS 
FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, IL  2019
1st PLACE 2D EDWARDS PLACE FINE ART FAIR 
SPRINGFIELD, IL  2018
PAST PERFORMANCES...
SOLO SHOWS:
MARION CULTURAL ALLIANCE  Ocala FL 

REPRESENTED BY:
ARTEMISIA  Geneva, IL 2021-2022
GRAND OAKS RESORT Weirsdale FL 2021-2022
TRADE-ARAMA ART CENTER  Brevard, NC 2017-2018
 
HORSE SHOWS:
THE HAMPTON CLASSIC   Bridgehampton, NY 2022, 2021
UPPERVILLE COLT & HORSE SHOW  Upperville, VA 2022
LAND ROVER 3 DAY EVENT  Lexington, KY 2022
LIVE OAK INTERNATIONAL  Ocala, FL 2022, 2020

ART SHOWS:
HISTORIC SHAW ART FAIR   St Louis, MO 2021
DES MOINES ART FESTIVAL  Des Moines, IA 2021
GENEVA ARTS FAIR  Geneva, IL  2021, 2019
MT. DORA ARTS FESTIVAL  Mt. Dora FL 2022, 2021, 2020

ST JAMES COURT ART FAIR  Louisville, KY 2019
CHEROKEE TRIANGLE ART FAIR  Louisville, KY 2019

We cherish this painting and will send you a pic once we find a good home. It made it to CA in fine stead!

Robert S

Breathtaking images. So unique. Perfectly capture the essence and character of horses.

Catherine M

Absolutely love your perspective and artistic take on all things equestrian Cara.

Lynn

Cara takes great pride in her work. She explained what the subject matter was for her art. Enjoyed speaking with her.

Linda S