Self-taught local artist presents first exhibit

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Suffield - posted Wed., Nov. 21, 2012
Mariann Amzilen shows off one of her horse portraits at the the William Pinney Gallery of the Kent Memorial Library. Photos by Colin Rajala.
Mariann Amzilen shows off one of her horse portraits at the the William Pinney Gallery of the Kent Memorial Library. Photos by Colin Rajala.

A Suffield artist has had a passion for art since a very young age, and she has been developing her talent and honing her skills for many years by drawing her favorite thing: horses. Mariann Amzilen, a self-taught artist, had only taken a few art classes in high school and a few random lessons - less than five, she believes.

“I’ve been doing it since as long as I can remember,” Amzilen said. “I was one of those kids that was crazy about horses and it never went away."

Through the years, she has built up quite a collection of pencil and colored pencil drawings, but she didn't show them off to many people, and never in a gallery. Amzilen’s artwork is now on display throughout November at the William Pinney Gallery of the Kent Memorial Library, marking the award-winning artist’s first public gallery show. She was influenced to present her work to the public by her friend, Mary Roy.

Amzilen remembers sitting on the back steps of her home at the age of 10 and asking a neighbor's friend, who was an artist, what she thought about her pictures. The friend told her they were really good, except for the fact that the horses' knees were rounded. She suggested studying the skeletal structure and muscles of horses to perfect her drawings. Amzilen took the message to heart and has been intently looking at horses ever since, to fine tune and perfect her pictures.

Although horses are the main focus of her work, Amzilen has also drawn dogs, birds, wild cats and flowers. One feature that she particularly likes to draw in her horse sketches is the eyes.

“Horses are so big and so powerful, yet they are graceful,” Amzilen said. “Then you look at their eyes, their eyes are so gentle looking. I really love their eyes, and drawing them.”

Amzilen typically works from photographs, finding it easier than attempting to draw a live animal. She has traveled to Lexington, Kentucky, and Chincoteague Island in Virginia to photograph horses to draw. Recently she has begun working with colored pencils, because she feels it adds more depth and texture to her horse portraits and action shots.


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