From saddle to studio, Joan Bennett has always been taken with the beauty and power of the horse. “Their form, the lines, it’s like culture to me. Through art, I am able to showcase my love and knowledge of this magnificent animal.”
Joan grew up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and always dreamed of owning her own horse. She would ride on Saturdays with her father, who was a member of the Cavalry. Although studying veterinary medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, marriage and raising a family took her in another direction. When the family moved back east, they purchased a farm in New York where Joan and her daughter established a professional equestrian training center. Watching her students compete did not dull the desire to be in the ring herself. At a show, Joan was given an old, damaged sidesaddle. After Preconditioning, she put the saddle on her own horse and realized she enjoyed this fashion as much as riding astride. Never one to avoid a challenge, Joan discovered a way to compete in dressage riding sidesaddle. With her beloved mount “Lucky Louis”, Joan became the first person to win the United States Dressage Foundation bronze medal against all astride riders-a major accomplishment.
Like riding, art has always been a part of Joan’s life. It wasn’t until moving to the Eastern Shore of Maryland in the early 1980’s that Joan returned to the easel. After spotting an ad for a sculpture class at the University of Pennsylvania, Joan signed up and became “hooked on clay”. Commissions followed.
The horse takes center stage in Bennett’s art. Her knowledge of their anatomy, how they move, their spirit and relationship with rider all translate into her stunning three dimensional portrayal of them. Her award winning work has appeared in many galleries, shows and collections in the United States and Canada. Her holds art degrees with honors from Chesapeake College and Salisbury University. She has served as president of the Working Artists Forum in Easton. She is also a certified instructor in the art of riding astride.