Featured Artist

Each month Bear Valley Springs Cultural Arts Association features a local artist.

Anita Jesse, Nurturing the Dream

I had a horse again—my dream horse, in fact. Life was good—no life was great! And then, I had an accident that shattered my life.

While struggling to accept the finality of my situation, I searched for distraction.  Eventually, I developed a mild interest in photography and found that the borrowed digital camera I was using had magical powers. I could look at a horse through that view finder and not be reduced to tears over what would never again be. Shazam! I had a new connection to horses and all the world around me.

I was intrigued by my new form of expression, but the romanticist in me was impatient with the images that depicted the cold reality of what the camera saw. These beautiful creatures had played a major role in my childhood fantasies, and I yearned to articulate something more of the power, astonishing beauty and grace that horses meant to me. With my imagery, I wanted to convey not only what I saw, but something more about what I felt, when I made the image. Moreover, I wanted to infuse my work with the cherished fantasies of my childhood.

In the beginning, I simply wanted to nurture my own beloved dreams of a life with horses even if it would never be more than that—a dream. Gradually, I came to realize that countless others around me also have dreams of life with horses and know that these are destined to be no more than fantasies. And so, I discovered that, more precisely, my mission is to also nurture the dreams that others have of horses.

Thanks to digital tools—virtual brushes for virtual paint, for example—I begin with a photograph and then add multiple layers of color, texture, shapes, and lines. Over time, I blur the lines of reality and free my subject from the boundaries of a real place and a real event until the image more clearly reflects my feelings about what I have seen. The final image is as much about horses that I remember, or dreamed of, as it is a likeness of the horse that I photographed.

Now, late in life, this is what gets me up in the morning—making images that come from the collected stories in my heart. No longer are my final images limited to what my camera sensor recorded. They are imaginings, as well. They emanate from dreams, half-forgotten memories, impressions, and feelings. Share in my imaginings. Allow my images to pique your memories, awaken your dreams, and remind you of the stories in your heart.