Drawing On My Heart | Art & Illustration By Nicki Forde

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They say you never get over your first love, and I can tell you it’s true – because for me that was horses.

My mom said I was constantly running off in the direction of horses. When I was two or three years old we lived for a very short time on a cattle ranch. All she could see were my pony tails flapping over the tall grass as I took off towards some very large brown creature grazing with the cattle. Soon I began drawing horses. I thought there might be some magic in drawing the thing I loved most… maybe if I loved them enough and got good enough, I could make a horse of my very own. 

I was blessed to have a dad who decided when I was 13 that he would rather risk injury or death to his daughter than see her start getting crushes on boys. So finally, after all those years of answering the questions of, “what do you want for your birthday,” and “what do you want for Christmas” with simply, “a horse, please” my dad announced one random day, “you’re getting a horse.” Just like that. It wasn’t even my birthday. Or Christmas. That was that, and oh my goodness did I get the meanest pony! I think he thought since she was closer to the ground I couldn’t possibly get hurt, but that little mare named Darlin’ tried to kill me every which way from Sunday. And I loved her. With the unreasonable love only a horse-crazy girl could possess. Then came the green broke Thoroughbred / Quarter Horse mix, Taco. There will never be a horse as perfect, as loved, as amazing as that ewe necked, floppy eared bay gelding. Those were the best years of my life. 

That love of horses led to drawing them which led to me choosing a career in art. I’ve been horseless since leaving home, but they’ve never really left me. My career in art ended up being as a graphic artist for over 25 years, but over the last few years I’ve pulled away from that and gone back to my roots. I’m now pursuing a career as a full time fine artist while working from my home studio in historic downtown Leesburg, Florida. I mostly work in acrylics on canvas and I have to say, my favorite thing to paint remains horses. I can’t get enough. 

To see my latest work, follow me on Facebook or Instagram @nickiforde, or check out my website www.DrawingOnMyHeart.com. I also have an Etsy shop and I sell art locally from Artrageous Art Gallery on Main Street in Leesburg. 

Cristina has been in graphic design and marketing since 2006, and was blessed with the opportunity to work with Barb to bring her dream of HRL to life! She lives in Central Florida with her cat and loves music, movies, and travel. cristina@nine31.com