Not long ago, upon her retirement from the horse world, Sandy Dimond galloped into a career as a painter.
In a month-long show at Newton Cultural Centre, the 79-year-old Langley artist focuses on the animals that have been a big part of her life for five decades, along with steam locomotives, landscapes, florals and more.
Dimond’s paintings of horses line an entire wall of the gallery on 72 Avenue.
“I was a horse trainer, coach, competitor, rider, all of that,” she said. “I’m not able to ride anymore after a serious injury that could have killed me, but didn’t, 15 or 20 years ago, although I kept working in the horse industry. I miss riding, and wish I still could, but it’s too painful.”
“I’ve always wanted to paint and would do a little here and there,” Dimond noted, “but when I was transitioning away from the horses, that’s when I said, ‘Now I can paint,’ so I went to town on it.
“I’ve had a couple of wonderful mentors and have really benefited from their help with painting,” she added. “One is in the Cape Cod area, a breeder named Brenda Bradley, and every morning we chat on Messenger – she sends me pictures, and I work with those.”
Born short-sighted in Calgary, Dimond likes to “paint big” due to her visual impairment.
“I work with a large TV screen, and all of these paintings are done with photo references because I don’t see perspective very well,” she explained.
Dimond’s “Progression of an Artist” show is on view at Newton Cultural Centre until Jan. 30, and also on the Arts Council of Surrey’s website (artscouncilofsurrey.ca).
“My deep desire in producing paintings it to share the beauty and vibrancy my life has been filled with, a desire for people to experience the animals and landscapes in my images,” Dimond says in a statement. “Painting have the capacity to take their viewer to experiences and locations which might otherwise never be available to them.”