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...
KENTUCKY ART MARKET
woodlandchristianlex.org/kentucky-art-market
AUG 21-22, 2021
Woodland Christian Church
Lexington, KY
THE HAMPTON CLASSIC
hamptonclassic.com
AUG 29 - SEPT 5, 2021
Bridgehampton, NY
PENROD
penrod.org
SEPT 11, 2021
Indianapolis, IN
ST LOUIS CHARITY HORSE SHOW - HJ WEEK
stlhorseshow.com
SEPT 15-19, 2021
National Equestrian Center
Lake St. Louis, MO
PINK PALACE ART & CRAFTS FAIR
memphismuseums.org/join/friends-of-the-pink-palace
SEP 24-26, 2021
Memphis, TN
HISTORIC SHAW ART FAIR
shawstlouis.org/attractions-amenities/historic-shaw-art-fair
OCT 2-3, 2021
St. Louis, MO
 
NATIONAL ARABIAN CHAMPIONSHIP HORSE SHOW
arabianhorses.org/competition/national-events/us-nationals
OCT 22-30, 2021
Expo Square
Tulsa, OK
 
OLDHAM ARTS FALL SHOW
aaooc.org/Oldham-Arts-Fall-Show
NOV 13-14, 2021
La Grange, KY

 
SHOWCASED AT...
I LOVE MY HORSE EQUESTRIAN BOUTIQUE
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...
DES MOINES ART FESTIVAL  Des Moines, IA 2021
GENEVA ARTS FAIR  Geneva, IL  2021, 2019
MT. DORA ARTS FESTIVAL  Mt. Dora FL 2021, 2020
LIVE OAK INTERNATIONAL  Ocala, FL 2020
PINK PALACE CRAFT FAIR  Memphis, TN 2019
ST JAMES COURT ART FAIR  Louisville, KY 2019
MIDWEST SALUTE TO THE ARTS  Fairview Heights, IL 2019, 2018, 2017
THE KENTUCKY ART MARKET AT CHRISTIAN CHURCH  Lexington, KY  2019ART 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