Learn more about the artist behind The Extraordinary Pony.
Alana Clumeck is a talented artist and the author behind the children’s book, The Extraordinary Pony. This whimsical book highlights a very important message to never give up on your dreams. All of the art is done by Alana and it’s absolutely beautiful. Alana sent me a copy and if you have little ones, you will want your own copy of this sweet book.
Get to know Alana a better with our Q&A session below.
Q. You started painting just in 2014, how did you learn to pick it up so quickly? Did you take any classes?
Alana – I am completely self-taught and am yet to take a class. I would love to take classes and learn from others, however being a stay at home mom of two small children I am pressed for time, therefore most of my painting takes place during nap time or late at night when they are sleeping.
In early 2014 I was pregnant with my second child and was suffering from prenatal depression, from somewhere within I had a deep innate desire to paint and once I started I couldn’t stop. It was therapy to me; time stands still, my mind stops and I lose myself in painting. I give thanks to God for giving me something when I needed it the most! The realization of this passion has pushed me to constantly strive to do better and step out of my comfort zone. I guess this passion is fueling my desire to master the art of painting – though I am still a work in progress.
The encouragement I have received from friends, family, social media has helped me grow exponentially. It’s amazing how far a few words of encouragement can take you.
Q. I’m sure all of your paintings are very special to you, but do you have a favorite piece?
Alana – It’s funny, once I am finished with a painting and get it to where it ‘feels right’, I usually don’t want to look at it again for a while. Self doubt starts to cloud my confidence and judgement. But you can’t fly without taking a leap right? So I press on. That being said, there are two paintings that I could confidently look at all day long. ‘Bear Dreaming’ and ‘Lean In.’
‘Bear Dreaming’ for its contemporary and realism mix – it’s just fun to look at, it’s life-like while being bright and colorful, and it ‘pops’ in a room. “Lean In” for the emotions I feel when I look at it. A lot of love, calm and quite.
Sorry – that was two favorites! 🙂
Q. Most of your work is animal related, do you have a favorite animal to paint?
Alana – Yes! Horses! I love to paint horses, from the beginning I was drawn to them. They are magnificent, powerful animals that demand your attention when in their presence. As Winston Churchill said, “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” I find solace in painting them; these wild prey animals are often trained in specific disciplines, conforming to be a certain role when really they are wild at heart – a lot like most of us!
As much as I love to paint them, I find them the most difficult and time-consuming to paint. Their muscles and bone structures are so beautifully defined, that it makes it easy to mess up and place the highlights and shadows in the wrong place.
Q. What is the average duration of time it takes for one painting?
Alana – I’ve developed two distinct styles to my painting, and I alternate between the two depending on my mood and how much time I have.
The first style is using a palette knife rather than a paint brush, you will see it in “Moose Swimming” and “Summer Trot”. These paintings are usually bright in color, thick with paint, have a lot of texture and a wonderful creative looseness to them. I paint them fast, and I choose this technique when I am pressed for time or feeling impatient, or maybe a bit silly. I have been known to dance when I am painting with a palette knife. ha ha. Typically a medium painting of 3ft x 4ft (or around that size) will take about 3-4 hrs from start to finish. This process involves drawing the image, painting it, finishing the edges and putting a protective varnish on top.
I would say my second style is often tighter and more realistic. I use paint brushes of different size and thickness to complete the painting. I’ll use this technique when I know I have a huge chuck of uninterrupted time that I can dedicate to finishing the painting, and when I have a lot of patience. Most of my equine and bovine paintings are completed this way. A small-scale painting could take between 2-3hrs and a medium painting like ‘Seven’ could take up to seven hours.
Q. Tell us a little bit about your background with horses.
Alana – I grew up in rural Australia, where my parents owned a gallery and were potters. While I didn’t have the opportunity to learn to ride while I was young, country life was definitely ingrained into my roots. My hometown had all of 300 people.
I moved to Santa Ynez, California from Santa Barbara 2 years ago – right about the time when I started to paint. I was instantly drawn to ranch life, horses and country living.
Currently I am taking lessons, and while I am no cowgirl (though I really want to be), I absolutely love being on a horse. I get the same peace from riding a horse as I do from painting.
For The Soul
Q. Just for fun, what is your favorite brand of cowboy boots?
Alana – There are so many good ones out there! I tend to lean towards neutral colors when it comes to my boots, and keep the other colors for my canvases. I love the Justin distressed western boots, they go with everything but have a bohemian edge to them.
Thank you Alana for this fun Q&A session! Be sure to check out the rest of Alana’s work online at AlanaClumeck.com.