Marica Ågren Hagblad: Pure Beauty, Strenght & Resistance

Architerior talked to Swedish artist Marica Ågren Hagblad about her love and fascination for horses aswell as the joy of depicting these magnificent creatures. Marica has been painting all her life and has delivered countless of comission works thoughout her carreer. However it’s only recently that she stepped into the world of completely free artistic expression by creating her very own series of artworks where horses and orchids blend together.

How did your interest in art start?

I grew up in a home with art loving parents. They went to art exhibitions and sometimes when they could afford, they bought some art. I became used to look at art in books and at exhibitions and my parents had a few friends who were working artists. My art teacher at school was an educated painting artist. He and my parents encouraged me to practise and develop my drawing and painting skills. My father was rather keen on drawing during my childhood and had some skills.

What are you inspirations?

I am very fond of 18th century art and my favorite artist is the British painter George Stubbs and his magnificent horses. He studied and painted them from inside and out sometimes. He knew every little muscle. Another of my more modern favorite artists is the photographer Yann Arthus Bertrand with his almoust painting-like photos of horses. I like the lightning and the colour in his pictures. He is a very skilled photographer regarding other motifs aswell of course.

Can you tell us about the techniques you use?

I paint in several techniques, mostly with water colour and colour pens. At first I cover the layout with watercolour and when the surfice has dryed I paint one layer with colour pens and then create the highlights, shadows and all the details.

Sometimes I also paint with soft pastel crayons, but mostly for animal portraits. It even happens that I do drawings with black lead pencils and from time to time I do oil paintings.

Have you studied art on a higher level or have you perfected your skills on your own?

I am self taught. I have studied animals by handling them. I’ve learned by “trial and error” during my more than 3o years as a dedicated illustrator and painter.

How has your artistic work changed over the years?

My artistic artworks has recently started but I have worked as a painting artist and as a teacher since the mid 1980’s. But then I meerly painted animal portraits, mostly horses and dogs on commission.

The clients I had were mainly animal owners, stud farms, kennels, riding societys and breeding organizations in Sweden and sometimes in Norway.

Now you have created a series of paintings depicting horses and orchids, can you tell us more about the meaning and idea behind these paintings and how they came about?

I have worked as a book illustrator from time to time and after 30 years of portraying and illustrating I felt I needed more freedom in my artworks. Then I got my idea of trying to blend two totally different worlds into one, namely orchids from the plant kingdom and horses from the animal kingdom. Both are my passions!

In spite of their differences, they share some characteristics; pure beauty, strenght, resistance and they are both living things who give us humans so much joy in our lives.

The horse orchids depict all kinds of things from the lifecycle: love, birth, growth, liberation, aging and death.

What is the reason you love to paint horses and other animals?

My love and fascination for horses, their shapes, colours, movements and their senibility never sease to exist for me. Also landscapes, other animals and of course orchids and their fantastic variation of appearences are included in my passions. When I paint flowers I can overindulge in beautiful colours that animals normally lack such as: purple, pink, red, blue, yellow etc.

Have you exhibited your artworks?

Over the years I have exhibited at horse and dog shows, breeding shows and at riding events. Also, of course, at art galleries.

What are your dreams and goals for the future regarding your art?

My goal regarding my artworks is to have more exhibitions. It would be fun and interesting to exhibit abroad sometime in the future. Next year I will retire and then I’ll have more time to paint.

What does art in general mean to you?

Art for me is a way to sometimes clarify things in life and sometimes to just escape into fantasy worlds where everything is okey!