From the first stick figures of pre-school, through the phase of realistic horse portraits for doting owners, to the whimsical streak evident my current series, horses have always been a favorite subject for my art.  Their exciting action and the liquid lines of their shapes inspire me.






Many times I have the title first and then illustrate the title in some outrageous way.  I learned verbal puns at my father’s knee and have taken that to its logical progression in creating visual puns.   For instance, the title of the mare and foal to the left is "Mother and Child Reunion."

About the Artist:

Elisabeth Miles (Beth) first knew financial success in the third grade when her classmates paid her five cents each for drawings of horses and sometimes cats, often buying as many as five works in one day. Although the volume of sales is no longer that high, the quality of work has improved. Horses and cats still rank high in Beth's choice of subjects, but she draws and paints various kinds of animals (including pet portraits), flowers, landscapes, people, still life, and fantasy subjects. Most of her art training has been toward realism, depicting objects as close to nature as possible.

Artist's Statement:

I have a long tradition of working realistically, however, much of recent my work relies less on strict fidelity to the subject and more on pushing color and shape to evoke movement and attitude. Two subjects I have turned to since I first started drawing when I was a child, horses and cats, provide the inspiration and models for my latest exploratory work. Limiting my palette for each painting, sometimes to only two colors, I play with color schemes in animal shapes. The fluid and coalescent intermingling nature of watercolor lends itself beautifully to these renderings, enhancing the movement of the horses and the attitude of the cats. And what are horses and cats all about if not movement and attitude?

Work in these two series, “Horses of a Different Color” and “Cattitudes” continues.

Elisabeth Miles

Until recently much of her work has been illustration. When she started college in 1960 her art teachers were very much caught up in the “abstract expressionism” movement, so she changed her major from art to biology, and happily started pen and ink scientific illustration. She still enjoys the challenge of making realistic renderings of flowers, insects and other subjects working in colored pencil, graphite pencil, and pen and ink.  It is in her watercolors that she is now leaning less toward camera realism, and more toward capturing the essence of her subject.

Blurb from a 2002 show of horse art:
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2002 had special significance for me.  I was born in the Year of the Horse 60 years before, and according to some Asian traditions one’s life starts over at the culmination of five cycles of the 12 year Asian “zodiac.”  I felt that if I was starting my life over, I could not think of a more appropriate way to celebrate than by introducing these fanciful interpretations of my birth year sign .

After many years of black and white illustration, I have spent the past dozen or so years playing with color and texture. I find that the fluid shape and incipient motion of the horse invite the intermingling of pigments and water in a way that gives me much satisfaction.

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Beth started her art studio as SeaHorse Studio while she was in graduate school in Albuquerque several years ago. She chose the seahorse motif for her studio name and logo because she is a Pisces, born in the Year of the Horse. Since returning to Oregon she reestablished the studio under a latinized version of the name, MarEquus Studio, in 1992.  Her products include fine art in colored pencil, watercolor, graphite pencil, and pen & ink; as well as scientific and commercial illustration. She also produces a line of greeting cards and reproductions featuring her work.

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