Painted horses speckle the streets of Santa Ynez
Brightly colored wooden horses are now hoofing it in Santa Ynez, fulfilling a project championed by the Chamber of Commerce to spice up the Western-style town with art.
Created by local artists, the horses are each unique in color and character. Some are patterned with flowers or with colored blocks, while others feature intricate designs and symbols.
The project, known as the Painted Horse Roundup, started in the fall when Linda Small, executive director of the Santa Ynez Chamber of Commerce, began brainstorming ways to bring public art to the township.
During a trip to the post office in Orcutt, she came across a painted cow that a local artist had created, and it gave her an idea.
“(The cow) just really made me smile, so I brought the idea back to the board of directors, and I said this just really made me smile, it looks like so much fun … I thought it would be a really fun project, but of course, our thing would be something more Western,” Ms. Small told the News-Press.
Hence, the Painted Horse Roundup was born.
The Chamber of Commerce will celebrate the completion of the Painted Horse Roundup through an event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
During the event, members of the community can meet with artists at the Artisan Market on the corner of Meadowvale Road and State Route 246.
Event attendees will be provided with a map displaying the location of each of 10 horses throughout the township. Those who visit each horse will be entered for a prize drawing.
The herd of painted horses was created by local artists ranging in art experience and background.
Each horse has its own unique design and inspiration.
Local artist Susan Cobb decided to paint her horse realistically — but with a twist.
Ms. Cobb’s design features hues of blue on the coat, mane and tail of the horse, using color and shadow to create a realistic-looking bronco. Once she began painting with blue, Ms. Cobb said the horse looked like something from a dream.
“That’s what I call it — a dream horse,” Ms. Cobb told the News-Press. “It’s kind of realistic compared to the other ones, but of course, there’s not a blue horse. When you look at it, you can definitely tell it’s painted like a horse, but it’s blue.”
Ms. Cobb calls herself an art “hobbyist,” though she is constantly working on some kind of painting or pottery project. She works with acrylics and enjoys painting wildlife. Some of her paintings are on sale at the Baker’s Table in downtown Santa Ynez.
In the future, Ms. Small hopes to continue this project and recruit more local artists to showcase their talents through the Painted Horse Roundup. She said the horses “enrich the experience of Santa Ynez,” and she’s hopeful locals and tourists alike will take the time to enjoy the eye-catching stallions.
“I’ve had many people tell me that they just really got a big kick out of seeing (the horses), and it made them smile in a time when not too many people have been smiling.”