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Q&A with Award Winner Rana Geralis

To close out November’s “Small Works” show, which closed Monday, here’s our Q&A with the final award winner, Rana Geralis. Rana’s watercolor, Trail Ride, won third prize to Trail Ride in that exhibit. We asked Rana to tell us more about the painting, her work in general, and her frequent subject, horses. (To see our other Q&As from November’s exhibits, click here.)

What draws you to return to horses as subjects in your artwork? What do you try to do to capture a horse in a painting?
Rana Geralis: I’ve always loved horses, even as a young child. I worked with them for several years. I try to capture their movements and spirit. I never get bored of watching them or just being around them. I love painting them because it just seems natural to me.

“Trail Ride” by Rana Geralis.

Does Trail Ride depict a particular place or time?
The idea for Trail Ride was taken from a photo. It was a hot day in August at the Howard County Fair.

How did you choose to use watercolor for this piece? What other media do you work in?
I usually use watercolor for my small paintings. I also work in pastels, acrylic and sometimes oils.

How is painting in a small format different? Do you have a different goal or process?
I like my small pieces to have a feeling of intimacy, also I try not to overwork them.

How long have you been painting? What drew you to it in the first place, and what keeps you painting?
I have been painting since I was a very young child. I guess I used it as a way of expressing myself. What keeps you painting is a good question, I always feel like I can do better on my next painting. One painting inspires another.

What is your creative process like — how do you approach a new work or new idea, and when and where do you paint?
I usually have a good idea in my head. I’m not very good at planning. It always doesn’t work out, but at least it gets me started. I am more impulsive in my approach. My studio is in my home, I am lucky enough to have enough space.

I usually get my inspiration from my photos. The photo from the fair was probably some kind of riding contest. The three girls were in a riding ring. They looked like they were having a great time on their ponies. It made a nice scene for a trail ride when I painted it.

Is one technical element most important in your work, like color, composition, line, etc?
No, it probably depends on the painting I am working on at that time.

What do you want the viewer to come away with?
I want the viewer to have a connection to the subject matter.

Where do you see your work going next, or what are you working on now?
I want to simplify, be more expressive and have fun. I am currently working on a large piece.

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