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Painter Donna Bernstein

Author: Nancy Erdmann
Issue: July, 2013, Page 22
Photos by Garrett Cook

Donna Bernstein believes that a horse expresses big energy, which is why many of her paintings are large in scale.



Donna Bernstein’s equestrian art takes on a fresh look in bedding and home decor

Artist Donna Bernstein has many passions, but horses top the list. For years, her large, sometimes life-size, paintings have been defined by these majestic creatures, as they are the subject of most of her work. Fascinated by their anatomical beauty as a young girl, she would later discover a talent for bringing their magnificent form to the canvas.

Although Bernstein did not own horses, she says she would draw the animals so that she could be with them. “I studied everything about horses until a neighbor bought one and I had something to watch.” And watch she did, for hours or days at a time. “I would observe every little or big move made. I would never sketch while watching, afraid I would miss something,” she recalls. “Now I realize that I was training my mind to see and remember all of it, every little detail, turn of the ankle, expression in the eye. My personal and lifelong commitment to the horse was sealed.”

The mostly self-taught artist, who grew up in New York and lived much of her life on Long Island, studied art in high school and college. Eventually, her interests shifted to careers in advertising and real estate. About 10 years ago, she and her husband, Lex, made a “life-changing decision” to move to McCall, Idaho. “In that process, I reconnected to my lifelong passion for art,” she remarks. Bernstein began to paint again. She started showing her work, and, in 2010, took part in her first Celebration of Fine Art show in Scottsdale, where she and her husband now reside part time.

A self-described “entrepreneurial personality,” Bernstein says she loves the freedom of being her own boss. “It’s demanding but ultimately fulfilling. And it requires me to change, grow, progress and take on new challenges.” The latest of these would be her foray into home furnishings—specifically soft goods. Prompted by her husband, Bernstein realized that her Illustrative Equines series was perfectly suited to being imprinted on fabric. It wasn’t long before Donna B at Home was born.

Her new business began with a line of pillows that will soon be followed by a full bedding collection. Bernstein’s Pink Pony Jumper series is now complete, and she has plans to create a Mustang collection and The Bedouin group, which will celebrate the Arabian horse. Coordinated items for each also are in the works, and a percentage of the proceeds from sales of her lines will be used to support equine causes close to her heart.

“For me,” says Bernstein, “Donna B at Home is the natural expansion of my art into style, design and home decor.”

Donna Bernstein is bringing her distinctive style to a line of pillows. Pictured is The Bedouin (right) and Pink Pony (below).

The artist says she creates spontaneously, never working from photos or sketches. Pictured is Amalfi, an acrylic on canvas, measuring 48"H x 36"W.

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