Natalie Stutely

Born in Bedford City General in 1972, I have had a love for horses, well obsession really, for as long as I can remember and my twin sister Suzie Emery also shares this love and for wildlife. Suzie is also an artist. We began our rural life in Sparrowhall where my Father was an agricultural engineer on the farm for Robin Blandford. After the purchase of his own farm in Bedfordshire, we settled. Determined to own our own pony, we saved our pocket and birthday money to afford our first pony, Cherry and so began our adventure with horses in the real world and our parents nightmare with furious farriers, vet bills and occasional broken bones. I will refer you to the cartoons of “Thelwell” to get the picture.

Growing up on the farm my Father encouraged me to think outside the box. Dad, a talented engineer, taught me basic lessons in wood work, metal work, operating machinery and how to weld! This equipped me through my teens and I was enjoying practical and technical projects through my school career. I would liken Dad’s repair work on farm machinery to Heath Robinson’s creations. Dad ultimately taught me don’t be afraid to experiment.

I think my original motivation for painting goes back to my early childhood when I asked my mother if she would draw me a horse. I had just become aware of these magnificent creatures. Mum effortlessly sketched the most beautiful horse I’d ever seen and the curving wild lines of his arching neck and flowing mane are deeply ingrained in my memory. My Grandad painted and sculpted, drawing his inspiration from things dear to those who were dear to him. He had a fabulous sense of humour. Nana loved all things flora and fauna so he painted vibrant flowers every where… in fact they were painted over anything that was static and presented a large blank area… Their garden fence, even their summer house did not escape! He sculpted a bird bath in their garden then sculpted our beloved English Setter, Major. The birds would sit on Major’s head waiting in turn for the bird bath.

It wasn’t until my mid 20s that I really wanted to focus on equestrian art, after hearing about an event called “The Horse in Art”. I was determined to get involved. The summer of 2013 Obsidian Art organised The Horse in Art exhibition and took the show to the “the Horse Trust” at Speen to raise awareness of this honourable charity. I have to mention and thank Emma Sutton as over the years Emma has mentored and really encouraged me to paint subjects that really move me. Emma has worked tirelessly fundraising for Children in Need. A truly dedicated lady who has influenced me.

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