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written by Erica Lindsay Walker, vice president, education chair

The horse has been a hugely popular subject among artists for a very long time. It’s easy to see why. Many people consider horses to be the most beautiful of all animals – and who could appreciate this better than an artist?



So why has Sheona Hamilton-Grant cropped most of her horse out? “Intensity” shows us almost nothing of what we expect. We only see the side, the mouth and part of one raised leg – plus a bit of fluttering mane. The answer is that by sacrificing the beauty of the horse’s form, she creates an extremely compelling image of its power.

Because of the abstracted treatment, this work has a very modern feel. Basically, it consists of a roughly rectangular shape, broken up by some strong lines into several smaller shapes, with a circular one in the middle. Together, it all makes me think of a locomotive, full speed ahead. Both the mouth and the leg contribute significantly to this effect. The mouth suggests panting breath (the “steam”), and the raised leg, speed. The ends of the mane ripple with wind. We can’t see a lot of movement, but we certainly feel it.

The more I studied this work, the more I appreciated the strength and energy created by the powerful interlocking shapes. Diagonals shoot out like rays from the metal loop. This little circular shape is actually one of the most important elements in the entire design. As the centre of so much movement, it suggests the idea of a wheel, something constantly turning – and once again, we see our locomotive! Everything flows along, with the more vertical diagonals adding strength and stability. The long horizontal sweep of the reins adds a wonderful sense of flight. So exhilarating!

So far I’ve mentioned only the design elements, but Hamilton-Grant has a beautiful technique, and this also plays a huge part in the overall effect of her work. We can feel the reins, their tautness. We can feel the horse’s gleaming coat and its powerful muscles. No more is needed. We may not see much more of what the horse looks like, but this drawing gives us a marvellous idea of what it is like.


  • This post does justice to all that makes this work of art so extraordinary. I am honored to not only represent the work of Sheona Hamilton-Grant in the Equis Art Gallery, but also to represent “Intensity” itself. And it is even more powerful in person. – Juliet Harrison, Equis Art Gallery


      Thank you so much. It’s very exciting for us to be able to showcase our members’ work this way. It was a great pleasure to review this work – I only wish I had been able to see it in person as well!

  • Always love to read your insights on drawings Erica…makes me see the piece in a hole new light!!


      Thank you, Kathryn! 🙂 I am always amazed at how many things reveal themselves as I look at the work!

  • Erica, I agree with Kathryn… We each see works of art with our own eyes, and it’s wonderful to have your words to help see in a new and different light. Thank you for your insightful writing to accompany your exquisite selections for PAS-sing Glance.


      What a beautiful comment, Wendy – thank you! I really hope that when people read these “Glances” they will be inspired to start looking more closely at art and make their own discoveries too 🙂

  • Manon Menard-Adams

    What a treat this is… Erica you always take us on such a ride when you describe the work of the artist. You see so much detail and make us look at every inch finding surprises everywhere. The work is amazing, you can see the strength of the horse and feel the speed. Love it.


      Thank you so much, Manon … you’ve hit on one of the reasons why I love writing about these works – because there are so many surprises. So many treasures to be found once we really start looking for them. This piece was so unexpected and so full of vitality!