Her large-scale, colorful, semi-abstract paintings and elegant sculptures can
be classified as “modern equine” or “contemporary equestrian.” She uses a vari-
ety of colors, but often favors black, white, and gold.
“The clarity of the black and white embellished with gold tones always pops
in a very modern way for me,” she says. Her most common mediums are acryl-
ics, inks, acrylic archival spray, and graphite and flat charcoals.
None of her work is hyper-focused on reality. “It isn’t horses that I paint; I
paint the way they make me feel,” she says.
This perfectly describes her art—her images are based in reality, but they
are not confined to replicating every minute detail. “The yearning, the dream,
the fantasy, is why I paint them the way I do,” Bernstein explains. “Although
anatomically I am well aware, I never let reality get in the way of my art.”
/ Beyond the Canvas /
Bernstein also creates striking bronze equine sculptures, for which she follows a
similar process to her paintings. She says sculpting horses came naturally to her
from her first piece, “Buck,” created for a therapy riding center in Park City, Utah.
“I knew the form of the horse so well in my body and mind that the piece
flowed,” she says. “It felt very natural—and very natural for future pieces to
take on the same abstractive, textured qualities of my paintings.” The day she
drafted sketches of Buck, a 30-year-old therapy horse, he “galloped around like
a colt!” She tried to channel his energy into that initial sculpture.
You can wear her art, too. Bernstein designs delicate, equine-inspired jewelry.
“As a lover of jewelry, I saw that my art could lend itself naturally in that
direction, so I created the Donna B Equilibre Collection, consisting of pen-
dants, men’s tie pins, earrings, and bracelets,” she says. Equilibre means “bal-
anced” in French, and the line is designed around a horse profile, “his neck fully
flexed, yet soft and balanced, as it hangs on the chain or as earrings.”
Most of the pieces are currently available in sterling silver, though she
says her favorite is the Sun Stallion, “because he is available in two-tone,
with a 14k gold mane combined with sterling silver, and diamonds.
/ Playing Favorites /
For the little horse lovers, Bernstein couldn’t resist developing a
baby bedding line called Pink Pony Jumper. The line evolved from
one of her favorite creations, a pink pony she painted: “It just lends
itself to children’s accessories, pillows, wallpaper, and hopefully little
outfits in the future.”
Though she has a vast array of creations, Bernstein does have some
“The painting ‘Storm King’ [is a favorite] because he is so
unique and he led me to where I am today, [as well as]
‘Horses for Pablo,’ which was the result of a formative
dream I had about Picasso a long time ago.”
Bernstein adds, “Horses are big energy; and that is what
I paint.” Clearly, with her tireless artistic and philanthropic efforts,
the artist herself also embodies big energy.
Love what you see? More photos and prints of the artist’s work
can be found on her website at www.donnabernstein.com. She also offers
JULIA ARNOLD is a writer living in Minnesota with her husband and two young children.
She grew up dreaming of horses,
but never had the chance to own one.
Instead, she spent countless hours
studying them in books, museums,
and at neighbors’ fields and farms.
She says she paints the horses she
“My joy was in watching, and
I never took my eyes off them,”
she remembers. “I soaked in the
essence of their beauty, their sense of
inspiration, their joy in being alive. I
then went home to draw. They truly
guided my entire childhood. I could
tell you every bone, muscle, ailment
and cure. I practically taught
myself to ride from a book.”
rt s o v
o up e
e a Is
e c ad o i l
Donna Bernstein stands with her
work “Brave” at an art show.