Horse in the Heart

October 2019
Whitespace Gallery, Howe Street, Edinbugh

Scottish-based artist Diana Hand has been drawing horses all her life.  She loves to draw “straight from the hip” – very fast and spontaneously, as a direct expression of the unconscious.

But she has been backing this up with some serious anatomical study as well.  “Most classes focus on the human model, but our bones and muscles are so similar in many respects”, she says.  Diana studied last summer at the Ruskin School of Drawing, Oxford, and with Alan McGowan in Edinburgh to develop a sound knowledge of human anatomy, which she then supplemented by close study of the equine form.

For this exhibition she has worked on a large scale, and some of the drawings are 1350 x 1000 mm. in size.  “I bought large sheets of strong paper from a specialist supplier in London and I found I enjoyed working on this scale.  I am used to being around horses and this was almost as good.”

One of her aims was to find an approach to drawing horses that was not directly figurative and also more than a rapid sketch. A lucky moment in the studio when gesso was accidentally spilt onto tissue paper, creating mysterious shapes and textures,  led her to discover a surreal and dream-like world of imaginary horses from the past.  This relates to the strong unconscious appeal that the horse continues to have for her, and, she believes, for many humans.