Veronica Clark The Carolinas Equestrian 01 It took a friend’s suggestion to unleash an amazing talent.

Veronica Battersby Clark, of Chester, SC, did not always know she was an artist. While she enjoyed drawing as a child, it was never a professional goal. When her daughter, Alexandra, was in middle school, Clark’s friend, Nina, convinced her to try her hand at painting.

“She said let’s do something for ourselves and suggested an art class,” Clark said.  "I thought it sounded fun, but never imagined where it might take me!”

Veronica Clark The Carolinas Equestrian 02 Nina knew of a beginner oil painting class with Carol Mitchell at the Braitman Studio in Charlotte. They began with fruit as a subject, learning to see value and hue. Enjoying the class so much, Clark continued to the next level with a figure drawing class taught by the famous artist and teacher, Andy Braitman.  The rest is history.

“I want to credit my friend, Nina, with getting me involved,” Clark said. “Without her, I wouldn’t be doing this.”

Clark’s talent for painting beautiful animals is evident in every brush stroke.  She captures horses, hounds, dogs and other animals with softness and animation. Dogs frolic in the water chasing sticks, hounds ready for their master’s command, horses work, play, and compete, and regal cocks and steers, soft-eyed donkeys grace her work. Clark understands animals in every situation. She uses mostly oils, but also loves charcoal and pastels, each medium mastered to perfection.

Veronica Clark The Carolinas Equestrian 03 Her joy in her work is evident as she speaks. Though she says she “has to pinch herself” and feels “incredibly lucky,” her works are clearly not luck but the result of talent and study. After taking classes with Braitman, Clark went on to rent a space at the Charlotte Art League for a time. In addition, she studied at the American Academy of Equine Art in Lexington, KY, with Dawn Emerson and Lesley Humphrey and at Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia, Pa. with Stephen Early. She also worked with Scott Burdick and Roger Dale Brown during her artistic education.

Veronica Clark The Carolinas Equestrian 04 The study has paid off. Clark is now a Juried Artist Member of the American Academy of Equine Art, a designation of which she is very proud.  She was also the 2008 featured artist for the Queen’s Cup Steeplechase and is currently working on a private commission for the owners. She has won several awards and honors through the years and her works can be found throughout the United States and Europe.

Though she may have not always known she was an artist, she has always known her love for animals. Born in Sussex, England, Clark got her first pony at age six, and by age 11, had a pony at home and joined the Pony Club.  It was, Clark stated, a blissful life.

Veronica Clark The Carolinas Equestrian 07 Clark was 14 when her family moved to Monte Carlo, but sadly she could not take the pets with her.  She did continue to ride and had a French thoroughbred outside of Paris for a time. After moving to Chester, she bought a horse in Rock Hill, SC. A few days later she and a friend rode their mares, “Pepper” and “Bonnie” straight down I- 77 which was graded but unpaved at the time. The 20-mile journey to Chester took the greater part of a frigid February day and remains a fond memory.

Veronica Clark The Carolinas Equestrian 05 Currently, Clark lives with her husband, Bill, on a farm in Chester, enjoying their four-legged family of rescued animals including a horse, four dogs, two cats and a duck. She turned a small farm building into a studio where she creates with dogs at her feet while enjoying the sweeping view of a cow pasture and trees. It is an idyllic location, and one she says is “cozy and peaceful.”
While her animal commissions are always in demand, she also delights in creating pieces for sale in galleries.

“I can’t say that I prefer one over the other, I love doing both,” she said. “Personal paintings can allow freedom to explore and experiment.  Commissions, however, bring fulfillment when the clients identify and love the depiction of their pets. Positive feedback, including tears of joy, is why I do this. It is lasting compensation for the effort.”

Veronica Clark The Carolinas Equestrian 06 Most of her work comes from photographs with Clark preferring to take her own. This gives her the additional pleasure of getting to meet her subjects in person. Her works are priced depending on size and scope with sizes ranging from 8x10 to 30x40, although she would like to develop larger works. Clients generally have their own framing done, but Clark is happy to help advise them using the expertise of Campania Fine Moulding in Charlotte.

Clark’s works can be found at Rutledge Street Gallery in Camden, SC, and Shain Gallery in Charlotte. She can be contacted through her website at www.veronicabclark.com.

Photos courtesy of Veronica Clark