Holiday Design Contest 2022 Winners Announced!

When we announce an art competition at The Trail of Painted Ponies, we are looking for two things. One, designs that illustrate in fresh ways how artists, using one of our horse forms as a canvas, explore the inspirational power of the horse as a source of creative expression; and two, designs that we think will translate well into figurines that will be enjoyed and sought by collectors. This has been one of the most difficult competitions for us to judge because there were so many designs that did both. For this reason we are expanding the awards we are handing out from three Winners, to an additional five Honorable Mentions, each of whom will receive a $100 honorarium.

Congratulations and a big thank you to everyone who shared their imagination and talents with us!

Guardian of the North by Lorna Matsuda
$1,000 Cash Prize

In the far north, where winters are harsh there exists a brave spirit horse called GUARDIAN OF THE NORTH. His purpose is to protect all the many creatures in his domain from harm.

As he stands on guard, suddenly he hears the cries of a mamma polar bear. Her cub has fallen into the frigid icy waters and can’t get out. The Guardian rushes to the rescue, diving into the cold waters and placing the small cub on his back, reuniting him with his frantic mamma.

His beauty is only seen on these rare occasions when he is summoned by the spirits. Those who have seen him have said he is the most beautiful creature in the North. He is known to all the creatures as their Spirit hero.

Lorna Matsuda has spent her life devoted to her love of art and all animals, though horses are her passion. Combining her love of art and horses, Lorna creates memories and meaning in her paintings and other artistic creations. She enjoys painting realistic art to share with others, and feels very blessed to have been given this special gift.



Holiday Sampler by Susan Sizemore
$500 Cash Prize

A red and white sampler of Holiday designs, bringing together the old and the new. Beautiful images emerging against the background of snow and ice... bringing warmth and happiness of the season.

"I have been doing some form of drawing, painting or crafts since I was very little. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, up near Mt. St. Helens, gave me perfect opportunity to draw lots of the wildlife I grew up around. After my first son was born, I started teaching art classes for children and adults in pastels and watercolors, then I moved on to learning scrimshaw and selling my scrimshaw on bone and fossilized ivory at trade shows and sportsman shows. That grew into designing teeshirts from scratchboard drawings and opening up several online shops selling them, and also hand made mohair teddy bears.

I had my next child, and after some changes in my life, decided to do more painting, and have been designing and creating one of a kind oil painted cloth dolls, painted and engraved gourds, also needle felting. I seem to always find something new I want to try. I am self taught, grew up with a family that was very creative, and so it is now how I live my life. I create every day if I can, and LOVE it! I spend my days taking care of my 3 sweet little cats, a lab named Bucky and my daughter Amy." - Susan Sizemore



Dashing Through the Snow by Kaitlyn Lentz
$250 Cash Prize

One of the artist's favorite songs during Christmas is Jingle Bells and the line "one horse open sleigh," so this design is inspired by that song.

"I have been drawing since I was 3 and have won multiple art awards throughout the years. I am currently a graphic design for a local print shop and volunteer my artist abilities to a local animal rescue." - Kaitlyn Lentz



Winter Forest by Emily Overman
$100 Cash Prize

Tall evergreens fill the winter forest with their rich, green color that stands out amongst the snow. Pinecones fall from their branches and red berries decorate the forest. Woodland creatures of all kinds sense the arrival of winter, and the spirit of Christmas can be felt throughout the woods. 

"I have been drawing since a very young age, and I have become more passionate about art as I've gotten older. I am currently attending college for graphic design, and I have an interest in illustration." - Emily Overman



Chantilly Lace by Lorna Matsuda
$100 Cash Prize

As the first snowflakes fall softly from heaven, the intricate and unique beauty of each one combine to create a lace veil covering the earth.

Chantilly Lace Pony rears in glory as he carries a veil of lace draped over his rich emerald coat, as if the forest greens and snowy earth were his destiny. The intricate detail of each snowflake intertwine with the flow of motion as he carries with great pride the beauty, grace and peacefulness, one with nature and its beauty.

Lorna Matsuda has spent her life devoted to her love of art and all animals, though horses are her passion. Combining her love of art and horses, Lorna creates memories and meaning in her paintings and other artistic creations. She enjoys painting realistic art to share with others, and feels very blessed to have been given this special gift.




Elegancia by Lyanne Restrepo
$100 Cash Prize

This is Elegancia. She is a beautiful Palomino who encompasses the effortless beauty and warmth of the Christmas season. She is adorned with poinsettias and mistletoe.

"My name is Lyanne Restrepo. I’ve been drawing since kindergarten and my love for art has grown so much throughout the years. When started watching of Animal Planet at a young age, I fell in love with nature, which then became the staple of my art themes. I fell in love with horses and take every opportunity to be around or work with them. I hope to share the power and beauty of horses through my art with others."



Hot Chocolate Delight by Madelynn Donofrio
$100 Cash Prize

One of my absolute favorite things about the holidays is drinking hot chocolate by the fire with my loved ones.

"I am a freelance illustrator and fulltime graphic designer. I've been in the industry for about a decade." - Madelynn Donofrio



Silver Bells by Laura Robinson
$100 Cash Prize

One of my favorite Christmas Carols comes to life with this silver grulla holiday Pony dressed up in twinkling lights, Christmas presents, and silver bells. It’s Christmas time in the city… snowy, busy sidewalks are filled with holiday style. You can feel the excitement in the air as you hear Silver Bells ring-a-ling on every corner, under the glow of the street lights. It’s a joyous time of year!

Laura Robinson grew up riding and drawing horses at her home in Southern California. Sketching on any piece of paper she could find, she drew her favorite subject, the horse. She has always felt a deep connection with horses, and has been very blessed to have them in her life. 

Winning awards in high school and college for art and design, it was evident that she should pursue the arts. So, after moving to Minneapolis, MN and getting married, she studied and worked in the graphic design field.

Then, while raising a family of 3, she moved onto the fine arts. She currently works as a portrait artist and muralist. Her local horse community is enjoying their commissioned portraits of their beloved horses. She tries to learn something new from every painting she does, always trying to better her skills as an artist.

In addition to her art, she works as a groom and assistant trainer at a busy boarding stable, riding hunter/jumpers and dressage. In her “spare” time she landscapes her yard, mends fences, builds her own chicken coop, rides with her daughter, tries to keep up with her sons, and helps her husband with his electrical business! She finds that a little time in the barn is the best therapy in the world. The sweet smell of a horse’s breath, and a nicker from an old friend is very soothing and inspirational