Whether it is art or horses, Jane Gaston loves turning the blank canvas into something extraordinary and beautiful.

Gaston, a Sanford, NC native, believes art has always been a part of her, as much as the horse is. “Horses are a passion of mine, as much as art has been a passion of mine,” she said. “I am very lucky to have to things to be passionate about, and that it’s always been a 50/50 thing.”

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Passion is the right word for the creatures Gaston captures on canvas. The horses and dogs exude personality and charm; the rich colors bringing them alive. The English Proverb “The eyes are the window to the soul” is never more true than in Gaston’s works. Each animal, whether equine, canine or exotic, has eyes that speak to the viewer. It is this detail, as well as the ears, she finds so important to portray.

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“[The eyes and the ears] are the indicators of what’s going on with each animal,” Gaston said. “You certainly get a sense of their attitude and mood.”

Gaston is well versed in animals’ moods and attitudes, due in part to her long history with horses. As a child, a friend of her father’s gave the family a pony. That pony began a lifelong love affair with horses; Gaston started showing at age seven and has never looked back. She is well known in the horse world for her showing career; her horse ‘Sign the Card’ (a National Show Horse Hall of Fame honoree and Virginia Horse Shows Association Hall of Fame honoree) won multiple AHSA Horse of the Year and AHSA Grand Champion Hunter titles due to the pair’s success in the Hunter world. Her successes don’t stop there: Gaston still competes at a high level and has been the rider (and owner) of many successful horses, including ‘Lumiere,’ Horse of the Year in the Amateur Owners in 2010 and 2011, and ‘Because,’ Horse of the Year in the Amateur Owner division in 2016.

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Her equestrian talent doesn't just stop in the ring. Gaston has and continues to have a successful career working with young horses to hone their talents. “I like the process of starting them; the bonds we make and learning how to do the courses,” she said. “I’ve had great luck with good horses and some go on to do great things.”

While her success in the horse world has grown, so has her success as an artist. She is self-taught; cultivating her talent from doodling as a child, to finding her calling as a watercolorist. Gaston decided on her medium because she liked how watercolor dried quickly on the canvas, as well as eliminating mediums that did not work for her. For example, because of her dislike of turpentine, oil was not going to become her favorite medium. Working from a picture she has taken or has been given, she sketches the subject first, then layers the watercolors until the subject has come to life.

“I like to take a picture if I can, but some people have a particular picture they want,” she said. “I will sometimes ask for multiple pictures, because I really want to get the spirit of the animal. You just know when you get the right photo to showcase the personality. I then study the picture and draw for a day before I begin.”

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Gaston has found most of her work comes from commissions and has been growing a clientele base through word of mouth. While most of her works are of cherished animals at a client’s home, she has also done work for Zoo Atlanta and the National Zoo. In addition to that, Gaston has contributed to charitable causes, such as The Duke Show, known also as the ‘Jump For The Children Horse Show,’ that was held Nov. 7-11 and Nov. 14-18 in Raleigh, NC.

Her studio is located in her home in Virginia, and she spends her afternoons painting. Mornings are spent working with her horses; and evenings are for feeding her horses and spending her last moments of the day with them. Her art and her horses are her whole day, and they work hand in hand in her life. “I work with the horses until noon, then I paint until five,” she said. “Then I feed the horses, which I love; they really love to see me then. It’s a good life.”

What is also remarkable is that despite her success with both horses and art, Gaston remains grounded and humbled. Reluctant to talk about herself, she lets her work and her horses do the speaking for her, and they speak volumes. “Horses taught me a lot; watching the details of their bodies and movement, and learning their personalities,” she said. “Horses helped me to be a better artist, and art helped me to be a better rider.”

Gaston's works range in size from 8x10 and up, depending on the commission. For more information, or to request a commission, you can contact Gaston at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..