Rural America pulls at Stephanie Hartshorn’s heartstrings. “The rural life and the livelihood in rural America are the backbone of this country,” says Hartshorn, who lives in Denver, Colorado and frequently takes road trips through remote areas around the state.
“I feel a connection to the people who work the land and to the barns and buildings that have been in their families’ hands for generations.”
“Rural Narratives,” a new two-artist show that Hartshorn shares with painter Tamara Rymer at Sorrel Sky Gallery, features paintings by Hartshorn that have been inspired by travels throughout Colorado and a recent road trip from Denver to northern Wisconsin.
As she drives, Hartshorn enjoys keeping a camera close at hand. She gets excited when she comes across a perfect scene, which may be an old dilapidated barn proudly standing on a working farm, an old-fashioned ice cream shop in a quaint town or a vintage road sign on the side of the roadway.
“I look for a sculptural feel to whatever I’m interested in painting,” she explains. “I almost never put people or animals in my work, even though it’s implied that they are part of the scene.”
Rymer, Hartshorn’s partner in the show, is a signature member of the New Mexico Watercolor Society and a member of the Oil Painters of America. An artist with a a passion for horses, she created the commemorative art used for the First Annual Austin Pony Express Run.
Horses have been Rymer’s companions since childhood and are often the subject of her paintings. A goal of her work is to translate the fine art of horsemanship into the fine art of painting.