From Endurance to Dressage
A few months ago I wrote a post about Terry Spehar-Fahey whose art graces this year's USDF Member Guide. In that post, and a few others, I hinted at another artist who was doing great things. I finally, finally get to introduce her. Everyone, please meet my friend and artist, Karen Morovich.
Like virtually all of my friends, we met because of an interest in horses. We were introduced a few years ago at a local wine tasting event, and I invited her out to the ranch for a ride. We hit it off, and have been friends ever since. One of the first things I discovered about Karen is her incredible artistic talent. Each time we meet up, I ask about her most recent work, and she is always happy to show me what she has been painting.
My art knowledge is limited to what our art specialist teaches the kids during their monthly art lessons at school. I know just enough, which isn't much, to be able to participate in a limited conversation. Even so, I always pepper Karen with all sorts of questions about art in general and her work in particular. Karen is a water colorist. Over the last few years I've learned a lot from her about paper - good paper is really expensive. I've also learned that she doesn't use the handy flip open the lid water color kits from Crayola. Real water color paints are much more complex.
A few months back, Karen asked if she could paint Speedy. First of all, she didn't need my permission, and secondly, YES! OH MY GOSH, YES! I immediately sent her a few photos from which to work. I know she is incredibly talented, I've seen what she can do, but I had no idea that she would capture his very soul. I knew the painting would look like him, but in it, I can actually SEE Speedy. I can feel him. His personality simply radiates from the paper.
When Karen emailed me the image, I almost burst into tears. She was able to capture Speedy's soul with just the hint of a portrait. Her style is to leave the image "unfinished" so that the viewer imagines what comes next. I won't have him forever physically, but Karen has made it possible for me to have Speedy's spirit with me until the day that I die. I now have a massive canvas of this image on my wall, and it is my forever lock screen on my phone.
Karen and I went to lunch a few weeks ago where she presented me with the original painting. It is magnificent. It is painted on paper that feels like cloth, and the paints that she used sparkle in the sunlight. She was happy that I loved the painting, but I am not sure she understands how MUCH I love the painting. As I asked questions about how she went about painting my beloved, I realized that I had to share her work here. Karen was gracious enough to answer all of my questions.
Can you tell me more about what inspired you to paint Speedy?
Karen Morovich: I have personally met Speedy and have ridden him. The reference photo of Speedy that was sent to me showcased his power and beauty which inspired the painting. Speedy was an easy subject for me to get excited to paint. Horses are one of my favorite animals as I have always loved horses.
What medium did you use?
KM: Watercolor. Types of paints I use: Mainly I use Daniel Smith watercolor paints. Some of the colors such as Kyanite that I used for the Speedy piece is a rich blue-gray with granulation which produces a glittery sparkle. When you see the original piece of Speedy, the sparkle of this color is visible. Some of the other watercolor paints I use have several colors mixed together in the tube and will separate into different colors when applied to paper. This is what makes watercolor fun. You can get unexpected results which takes away the control we have as an artist.
How long did it take to paint?
KM: About 3-4 hours. This includes my thought process and actual painting time. I painted Speedy in two sittings. When I am finished with a piece, I let it sit for a few days and then come back and look at it again to see if I am satisfied with it or want to add more. With most paintings, I will visualize the final piece before I start to paint. It always ends up different, but that is the unexpected part of painting that is exciting.
What is the size of the original painting?
KM: 12" x 16"
I know "Speedy" isn't for sale, but do you have other pieces for sale?
KM: Since you own the original paper version of Speedy, I still have the digital version available, so actually Speedy will be for sale on my website which is in development at the present time. I plan to place this image on products that will be sold on karenmorovich.com and other sites. I will have other images on products for sale once my website goes live such as throw pillows, throw blankets, notebooks, greeting cards, etc. Once I complete an original piece on watercolor paper, I scan it and size it to fit on products for my website. Digitizing my original artwork allows for so many options of placing the images on products. This will allow for many other people to enjoy Speedy on the product of their choice.
What is your favorite subject to paint?
KM: Animals. They have always been a part of my existence and spirit.
Do you paint other subjects?
KM: I do paint some food images. I have also done some garden tools, dragonflies, butterflies, snowmen, and pumpkins. I plan to do more seasonal images in the future to celebrate the holidays throughout the year.
Do you only paint what strikes you, or are you interested in doing commissions?
KM: I am interested in doing some commissions and have done several so far. My clients seem to be very happy with the pieces I have created for them. Some are their own pets, and one commission was an elephant that someone sponsored. There are lots of reasons and stories that come up when I have talked with a client about a commission and the reason for it.
How long have you been painting, and how did you learn? Are you self-taught, or do you have some art education?
KM: I have been painting for about 7 to 8 years. I learned through courses online and have only done a few in person workshops. I have no formal art education, but my painting comes from a natural place within me which is the intuitive part of painting that is hard to teach. The intuitive part of painting develops over time. I continue to learn and evolve as an artist.
Do you ever abandon a project and start over?
Yes, Yes, Yes! When I am not in the “flow” and the right frame of mind and I paint a subject, I can tell that it is not “right” and I will start all over. The “flow” of a painting determines the outcome and where I am in my connection with my creative self. This is the most important part of my painting process which is being connected to my creative self and allowing it the freedom to paint.
What should we know about you as an artist?
KM: I have always been drawn to color as it speaks a language to me, and I enjoy how colors relate to each other. I have always been creative but I started painting about 7 or 8 years ago. It just felt natural to paint as I moved into watercolor paints after I tried acrylic and a few other mediums. Watercolor gives me the freedom to allow the paint to do unexpected things, so it takes some of the control away from me and having to “paint in the lines.” Knowing when a piece is finished is always a balance of when enough is enough. I have learned that simplicity in painting can be the best, and the fewer paint strokes, the better. Here is a quote I found about painting which sums up why I paint and that I am honoring a part of me by doing it:
“I make art because it tells my soul that I am listening”
- Author Unknown
How would someone like me purchase one of your paintings?
KM: Karenmorovich.com is my website and should be live in the near future. I also sell my art on https://society6.com/karenmorovichcreations which is currently live and still in the development phase as well. Also, I have a “contact us” page on my karenmorovich.com website where individuals can contact me about doing a commission once my website goes live. The name of my business may change in the near future, but clients will be able to find me using my name, Karen Morovich.
Karen's work is absolutely beautiful. What I most love is the simplicity of her images, especially the animals she paints. She has a gorilla that just looks into your soul. Even though her work is "unfinished," the amount of personality and depth of feeling that she creates is stunning. Each animal that she paints is alive on paper. I can't get enough of it. I have seen Karen's unpublished website, and it too is beautiful. Once it is live, I will definitely be sharing it here on this space because of course I need "Speedy" printed on whatever she sells.
I say it over and over, but I am truly blessed to know the people that I do. Karen Morovich is just one of the many talented women that I have met because of horses. While her new website isn't quite ready, you can still see some of her work on her current site. If you'd like to reach out to her and ask more about her work, she can be reached at email@example.com.
I'll never get tired of seeing Karen's fantastic rendition of Speedy come-to-life.
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About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: