Joanne Mehl blended her passion of horses and art to form a business where she paints vivid landscapes and equestrian activities.
Mehl, who has been a professional, figurative artist since 1985, uses traditional media and techniques and works in an impressionist style.
Through Joanne Mehl Paintings, she also offers painting lessons.
She has been fond of horses since the 1960s and she’s not slowing down.
“I’ve been horse-crazy since I was a kid,” Mehl said, adding she got her first horse when she was around 12 years old.
She followed her gut to do what she loves.
“That whole idea inspired me to paint horses and start a business where I paint primarily horses, but I also paint portraits,” Mehl said.
Those portraits can include other animals like cats and dogs or children.
She feels that her love of horses compliments her art and vice versa.
“I was so passionate about horses that I think (with) a lot of young girls and women, you learn all about the horse world,” Mehl said. “You read everything that you can, and you look at so many pictures of horses, and you learn about how they’re built. Then when you start riding, you start to learn about how they move and the different disciplines you want them to move, and the different breeds and how they’re built.”
She brings all that knowledge to her paintings, Mehl said. She often rides dressage and on trails, and has done her fair share of jumping, which she then translates to her paintings.
“I like how a horse looks standing out in a field, so I’ll paint that too,” she said.
Mehl has noticed some paintings of horses capture the animal in an “impossible” way. Some people paint muscles that don’t exist on the animal, but Mehl uses her knowledge to paint them in an anatomically correct way.
“Usually it’s how horses are built that is obviously, to somebody like me and another horse person, isn’t correct, so that’s one way that my passion for riding intersects with my painting,” Mehl said.
Mehl grew up in what she called a “relaxed time” in the 60s and 70s. She had a horse that she boarded at a barn and would often ride her bike there before taking off for a day to ride.
“There wasn’t much concern for safety,” she said with a laugh. “I had a lot of freedom that way, so I really appreciate that now, but what I didn’t have was a lot of instruction from a trainer. I didn’t show, I didn’t do those things, but I had a lot of freedom and a lot of fun riding bareback.”
In those times, she recalled riding a trail along the Los Angeles River in southern California where she grew up.
Due to time and money, Mehl doesn’t compete in horse shows anymore, but does have two horses of her own in Ridgefield. She spends time with them as she consistently strives to improve her riding and training.
Joanne Mehl Sporting and Equine Art’s page can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/Jmeh lEquinepaintings.
Her website with her shop and portfolio is located online at joannemehl.com.