Diana Jensen Vestergaard grew up in the saddle, a relationship that began at age five when her parents gave her a Shetland pony named Cricket.
Her knowledge and love of horses developed from there, and now the 44-year-old Langley woman is an artist, photographer, and art historian who specializes in equine themes.
This weekend, this horse fancier is one of 17 artists participating in the seventh annual West Fine Arts Show.
The art show and sale, which runs Sept. 8 to 10 in its new home at the Glass House Estate Winery in South Langley, will feature a stable of artists from around Western Canada.
Among them, Vestergaard is joined by Felicity Holmes (artist in residence at Glass House Winery Estate), Neil Hamelin, Fran Alexander, Grazyna Wolski, Joyce Trygg, Bryan Coombes, Carmel Clare, Ken Nash, Patricia Banks, Catherine Traynor, Suzanne Erickson, Graham McKenzie, Brent Cooke, Rick Pennell, and show host Brian Croft.
Vestergaard is looking forward to the hometown show, even though her works enjoy a continental following.
Her artwork is on displayed, for instance, at the Equis Art Gallery in New York, as well as the Gallery 204 in Langley.
Her paintings can also be found in public collections that include Collegium Domus Regiæ – one of Denmark’s oldest residential colleges, dating back to 1623 – as well as in local corporate, and private collections on capitol hills in Canada, the United Kingdom, and throughout Europe.
Vestergaard works full-time as a painter and photographer, while also teaching art classes and developing her research on the horse in art.
In fact, she can often be found at local equine events with sketchbook or camera in hand, always ready to capture meaningful moments.
Her artistic practice is firmly based on academic methodologies and age-old approaches to drawing and painting.
Vestergaard’s working process combines sketching from life, rendering anatomical studies, capturing photographic references, and then developing paintings in her studio.
Her formal education includes a bachelor of art and design in 1997 and a bachelor of art education in 2001.
Inspired by the artistic paradigms of the Western tradition, Vestergaard moved to Europe in 2003 to study the masters.
The Port Alberni native embraced classical training at The Florence Academy of Art, where she received a certificate in academic drawing in 2008. Then in 2010, she graduated with a master’s degree in art history from the University of Copenhagen.
Vestergaard has worked internationally, as an artist and photographer, and also at art galleries and museums, in the roles of gallery assistant, art collections deputy, and art educator.
Her interest in culture and travel has led to residencies at award-winning establishments such as Borgo Santo Pietro, located in the countryside of Tuscany, Italy.
She has contributed to magazines such as Western Art and Architecture, where she was interviewed on the role of the horse in art history.