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 magical days on a small farm in Highland IL in their 1861 farmhouse. Their life is rich with two warmblood mares, two border collies, cats, ducks and geese and chores that simply don't end. 

They are currently renovating a historic building in downtown Vandalia IL that will serve as a studio. 

IN PERSON

IN PERSON AT...
 
DES MOINES ART FESTIVAL
desmoinesartsfestival.org
JUNE 25-27, 2021
Des Moines, IA
GENEVA ARTS FAIR
genevachamber.com/festivals-events/geneva-arts-fair
JULY 24-25, 2021
Geneva, IL
PINK PALACE ART & CRAFTS FAIR
memphismuseums.org/join/friends-of-the-pink-palace
SEP 24-26, 2021
Memphis, TN
SHOWCASED AT...
 
I LOVE MY HORSE
ilovemyhorse.biz
WORLD EQUESTRIAN CENTER
Ocala, FL
ROGER'S FRAME AND GALLERY - CARTIGLIANO ARTS
cartiglianoarts.com
Ocala, FL
GRAND OAKS RESORT
thegrandoaks.com
Weirsdale, FL
AWARDS...
 
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...
 
LIVE OAK INTERNATIONAL  Ocala, FL 2020
OLD ISLAND DAYS ART FESTIVAL  Key West, FL 2020
MT. DORA ARTS FESTIVAL  Mt. Dora FL 2020
PINK PALACE CRAFT FAIR  Memphis, TN 2019
ST JAMES COURT ART FAIR  Louisville, KY 2019
EDWARDSVILLE ART FAIR  Edwardsville, IL 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016
MIDWEST SALUTE TO THE ARTS  Fairview Heights, IL 2019, 2018, 2017
THE KENTUCKY ART MARKET AT CHRISTIAN CHURCH  Lexington, KY  2019
GENEVA ARTS FAIR  Geneva, IL  2019
ART IN THE PARK  Columbia, MO 2019
CHEROKEE TRIANGLE ART FAIR  Louisville, KY 2019
ART FAIR AT QUEENY PARK  St. Louis, MO 2019, 2017
ART ALIVE  Edwardsville, IL 2019
EDWARDSVILLE ART CENTER Holiday Art Show 2016
TRADE-ARAMA ART CENTER Brevard, NC 2017-2018