An Extraordinary Gift
In November 2018, artist Kristi Rauckis approached World Equestrian Center with an audacious idea. As 2019 marked her third year as an artist in residence at World Equestrian Center, she felt it was time to give back. The World Equestrian Center was the place where she has established herself as an artist and grown her business, and to her, the atmosphere of support had enabled her to grow creatively as well. She wanted to donate a mural, although she had never done one before.
With only two weeks to complete the work, Rauckis worked tirelessly each day climbing into a boom lift, and hoisting herself 25 – 40 feet off the ground to paint the massive 150 foot ‘canvas’ with broad, sweeping brush strokes. Her brushes were huge, the kind you might see being used by professional house painters. To create the mural, she used more than 11 gallons of exterior house paint in 15 different base colors. During the process, she mixed paints to make additional colors.
The finished mural, named ‘4 Horses’ is a colorful celebration of equine athleticism. Some horses depicted in the massive mural are jumping towards the viewer, while others are galloping free and all are captured in dynamic, free-flowing movement. The chestnut jumper with the brilliant white blaze at the center of the piece is a favorite of the artist recognizable as Bugatti, a fabulous jumper who recently won the Longines World Cup™ qualifier at Sacramento with Wilhelm Genn.
Finished just after Christmas, the dramatic mural was unveiled during the first week of the 2019 show season to accolades.
We sat down with Kristi to learn a bit more about the reason behind the gift, the process she used to create the mural and about the artist herself. With her flowing blonde hair and dancing blue eyes, she is lightness personified – bright and engaging with an effervescent personality. Her smile is contagious and she is quick to laugh.
“I knew there was something that I wanted to do (in appreciation for WEC), but I wasn’t sure. Also my confidence was not that high then because I was just starting out, but I knew that I wanted to do something. I just felt this drive to want to do something for WEC.”
“I’ve grown so much in the last few years – envisioning larger things, learning how to be able to envision bigger things, act on things and be ok with taking no for an answer. I don’t bring my self down to match my belief at the moment – I am always striving to do things bigger.”
And is it true that this is your first large-scale mural?
“Yes. I did a mural for my high school (9×12) near Detroit and then a horse-themed mural for a nursery, but that’s the extent of my experience. So this one is by far my biggest.”
How did you accomplish it?
“I created a sketch to get the composition correct and used a projector to help get the image large enough. The technique used didn’t require tons of paint because there is a free feeling to the piece, it is not so super detailed on all of it – some of it is faded out.”
“I am extremely happy with the way the mural came out, especially because this was a completely new experience for me! Of course, I try to learn as much as I can from every painting I do. So, I definitely see things I would take and improve on for future projects. I’m a perfectionist that way. I love the surprises that happened during the process of painting the mural, for example, the colors and texture that happened along the barrel of Bugatti. I didn’t expect the purples to happen and it was so exciting when that started to appear.”
What are people’s reactions to it?
“The reactions have been amazing. I especially love the response of the photos that are going around from horse show photographer Andrew Ryback Photography of people showing their horses with the mural in the back. Sometimes, the photos are like the horses are jumping with the painting. As Andrew said, ‘Life imitating art imitating life imitating art… some crazy photo/painting inception going on here.’ I loved that! Not to mention, I was totally humbled by the love and support that everyone gave during the ceremony. I’m still overwhelmed with everyone’s kind words about it.”
About World Equestrian Center
Since its 2016 debut, the World Equestrian Center has been lauded as a game changer in the exclusive equestrian sports industry based on its stunning facilities, well-managed events and unmatched customer service.
The World Equestrian Center currently operates 28 weeks of AA rated Hunter / Jumper horse shows at the Wilmington, Ohio facility. We provide great sport and good fun in a family-friendly environment.
Construction is now underway on a second, larger World Equestrian Center in Ocala, Florida, scheduled to open in January 2021. To learn more, visit our website.