There is collaboration and then there is another level of collaboration, on a sisterly level.
Two years ago, twins Jeaneen and Doreen Barnhart decided to enter the Kentucky Derby Festival Poster contest for 2014. They knew that the creative process took some time and they wanted to get their idea just right. Jeaneen is a painter and a drawer. Doreen is a graphic artist. Their idea for the entry was to combine a racehorse with Pegasus. They knew how much effort they were going to have to put into this project because they have won the contest three previous times: 1994, 1997 and 2009.
2014 was no different, for they won this year as well. They have won the contest every time they have entered it.
Take a glance at the poster. You see Pegasus in the background and the racehorse in the foreground.
Take a closer look at the racehorse.
This is actually began as a photograph of a horse. Initially there was a jockey, reigns and a saddle in the picture. All of that was removed. According to Jeaneen, “the racehorse was meticulously composited with 51 photoshop layers using Jeaneen’s paint strokes and photographic elements. The mane and tail of the racehorse were entirely outlined by hand to ensure smooth transition into the background.” There are photographs of Jeaneen’s paint strokes, which indicate direction the muscles run in the horses’s anatomy. Doreen put all of these elements together to create one horse. The picture of the racehorse is vibrant, tight and exudes energy, just like a real racehorse.
Now look at Jeaneen’s Pegasus in the background. With its fluid, powerful strokes, it is reminiscent of lightening. It is light, and ethereal, but aggressive and strong at the same time. Here’s how they describe their final product: “the uninhibited stride of the racehorse and the exhilarating flight of Pegasus intertwine, capturing that extraordinary moment when they become one powerful force … united together … representing the spirit of the Kentucky Derby and its Festival.” On a deeper note, Pegasus represents the spirit of the racehorse. Pegasus also represents the Kentucky Derby Festival while the racehorse represents the Derby.
After both horses were done, it was off to the printer, Clark & Riggs. It took seven attempts to print this poster to get the finished product where it needed to be. The horse is four color. The Pegasus is metallic. They initially printed it on white paper and when printing it, realized no white can show on the poster. It was painstaking, meticulous work.
The twins were raised in Florida in a very artistic family. Their grandfather, Allen Bellman, is the oldest living comic illustrator. He illustrated Captain America and worked for Stan Lee, the man behind many superheros.
They both went north for college to Alfred University in New York and studied art.
After college, Doreen settled in Louisville and Jeaneen followed soon thereafter. Doreen became a graphic artist and Jeaneen became a painter and drawer. I met the twins at Jeaneen’s house, which is also her studio. There were paintings and drawings lining the walls, lying against walls, up on easels, lying on furniture. This is a full-time creative style of living. There was not an inch of her studio space that was not covered in paint or art supplies.
My favorite thing when I meet an artist is to look at their hands. Jeaneen’s hands were clean, but with the requisite leftover paint and smudge from a project she had been working on.
Jeaneen and Doreen did not start concentrating on horses or equine art until they moved to Louisville. Now it seems as though they collaborate on so many horse-inspired artworks. Here are some examples:
If you would like to purchase a poster, they are available for $30 and a signed, limited edition poster is $75. They can be found in many frame shops around town, The Taste of Kentucky or online at www.kdf.org.
If you would like more information about Jeaneen and Doreen Barnhart, visit their website at Twinspired Art + Design.