Summer Inspiration Art Competition Winners Announced!

A Very Special THANK YOU to everyone who submitted designs. And the winners are...

Monarch Beauty by Mackenzie K. Wertman
$1,000 Cash Prize

It is almost too easy to be mesmerized by the beauty of the butterfly and its enchanting transformation from bug to beauty. This allure is no exception when talking about the "King" (or "Queen") of the butterflies, known as the Monarch Butterfly. One of the most popular butterfly species, the Monarch Butterfly, is known for its rich orange color, black sleekness, and small white spots across its wings. While starting out life as a tiny caterpillar, it takes faith, trust, and courage to be able to spread one's wings into a beautiful soul like a butterfly - finally revealing the beauty that was always within - a journey that is a staple to North America and all that it comes near.

For many, the Monarch Butterfly represents strength, endurance, transformation, faith, and hope. However, despite the overwhelming love for these creatures, Monarch Butterflies have been placed on the Endangered Species List, and we are at risk of losing them forever. Monarch Beauty reminds us that we need to not only enjoy the beauty of the Monarch Butterfly but also do our part to preserve it.

I’ve been in love with Painted Ponies since I walked into the store and saw “Motorcycle Mustang” in the corner of the room. That was almost 20 years ago – making me a fan since I was 7. I’m a writer by trade, but paint and design in my free time. These are just some I wish were in my collection. - Mackenzie K. Wertman



Rain Dancer by Courtney Moore
$500 Cash Prize

For many weeks and months on end the sun bakes the earth, drying and cracking it's soil under the intense sweltering heat. The earth desperately cries for relief. Mother Nature hears her calling and releases the Rain Dancer upon the land—a horse of majestic beauty that possesses elemental powers. With her heart pounding to the sound of beating drums, she races across the open plains as her hooves shake the dusty earth.

At the beckoning of her echoing neigh, clouds manifest in her shadow and the Thunderbird emerges. Known as the Bringer of Storms the bird opens his enormous, feathered wings and lets out a piercing screech.

He then rapidly ascends to the sky, carrying the clouds by the tip of his tail feathers. He circles the plains - allowing the clouds to grow darker and darker in color. Then with a thunderclap of his wings the clouds as released and scatter across the land, releasing their water to quench the thirsty earth.

The horse neighs in delight as she watches and listens to the earth sing with thankfulness from the gift of the Rain Dancer.

"My family is my greatest inspiration for everything I do. From a very young age, I was always involved in art. I started off with coloring books, and then progressed into pencil drawings. I learned shading techniques by looking at a simple arrangement of flowers in a vase. At the age of 10, I entered a coloring contest of a Macaw for a local newspaper and won first place. As I got older I expanded my skills with other mediums and styles. Exploring different types of paints, pastels, and even sculpture. Some of my favorite subjects include science, automotive, and animals. Animals in general play a big role in my life, both in art and personal. I actually own a mini-zoo of exotic reptiles, birds, and saltwater aquariums. Being an artist for The Trail of Painted Ponies is a great accomplishment for me because I have always dreamed of having a piece of my art work out there in the world for others to enjoy." - Courtney Moore



Love of a Warrior Mother by Kaitlyn Lentz
$250 Cash Prize

As mothers we do so much, including going to battle for our children, and yet we can be soft and loving too.

I have done many paitnings and drawings for my clientel and have even had art displayed in the Oklahoma State Capital building. - Kaitlyn Lentz



Sunset Celebration by Susan Sizemore

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 inline 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



Winter Wizard by Emily Overman

This figurine design is inspired by the song Wizards in Winter by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. It is one of my favorite Christmas songs. While thinking of the song, I imagined this: A magnificent, snow white horse emerges from the forest during a blizzard wearing a thick velvet cloak that drapes off its back. The cloak belongs to a winter wizard that lives up in the northern mountains. This is the mystical horse that belongs to the mysterious wizard. Magic dust swirls around the horse as it makes its way through the icy wind, and its white coat gleams brighter than the surrounding snow.

I often associate snow and winter with magic, as it seems foreign to someone that grew up without it. I still dream of living up north one day in the mysterious mountains. The Magic I felt as a child at the thought of snow still gives me the same sense of wonder.

I've loved to express myself artistically ever since I was a child. I really enjoy finding ways to incorporate creativity into my everyday life, and I like to pay close attention to aesthetic and small details. Drawing has always been a favorite hobby of mine, and it's something that allows me to give my ideas life and share them with other people. I feel strongly about freedom of self-expression, and art is my outlet for staying true to that. With a strong love for animals and nature, I like to use these subjects in my artwork and combine them with fantasy elements. Horses are a favorite subject of mine, and I work to capture their beauty and emotion when drawing them. My primary goal as an artist is to enjoy the process and create works of art that represent the visions in my mind. - Emily Overman



Charoltte by Mackenzie K. Wertman

In dedication to my amazing mom, with whom this little lady shares her name. It seems almost harmonious with the arrival of spooky season comes the emergence of our beloved eight-legged friends. Sometimes the object of people's fear, the humble spider tries to soothe our fright by showing us the beauty it can create through its artistry with a spider web. And, of course, there is no better master of the web than Charlotte, a kind little soul who forever changed our outlook on the small misunderstood creatures in the shadows by showing her true heart and dedication to a friend till the very end.

Because of this, Charlotte's Web has "webbed its way around" the hearts of millions, becoming a life-long classic and beloved tale for years to come. Charlotte reminds us not only of the meaning of the "Charlotte's Web" story but also of the uniqueness of one's self and the usually overlooked beauty that can be hiding in the corners of our lives. 

I’ve been in love with Painted Ponies since I walked into the store and saw “Motorcycle Mustang” in the corner of the room. That was almost 20 years ago – making me a fan since I was 7. I’m a writer by trade, but paint and design in my free time. These are just some I wish were in my collection. - Mackenzie K. Wertman