Originally from Argentina, Virginia Peralta de Furness came to the United States as a child with her family. With a medically inclined family, Ginny followed into the healthcare field in 1988 when she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy. Throughout her long and successful career in healthcare, she continued to be drawn to art and sought out creative immersion in different forms.
She started with photography, which allowed her to express her personal response to real and imagined experiences. When digital photography ended the era of photographic film, she pursued digital media and earned a diploma in web design, which turned into work as a freelance web designer.
All of these artistic endeavors continued to bring her back to traditional forms of artistic expression. With a significant life change in 2014, Ginny made a career reset and decided to fully pursue her passion for art, which lead to studies in drawing and painting at the Art Students League of Denver and then her Master of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco in 2019. For her MFA thesis, Ginny’s subject was wild horses. Ginny explains, “My definition of what it meant to have a partnership with a horse changed, especially when I chose to study, photograph and paint wild horses for my MFA thesis in western Colorado, Utah and Arizona.”
A lifelong lover of horses, Ginny was not able to fully realize her connection with horses until her four sons were raised and she then had the time to pursue riding at 38 years old. Ginny reflects on that time: “Early on, I became involved in classical dressage through a local Spanish trainer. In those years, I really packed it in and immersed myself into trying to understand and master this art form. While my horses were in classical training, I took all the lessons and clinics that were offered. Although I learned all the high-level dressage skills, I wasn’t sure that I was becoming a better equestrian. [Studying wild horses] was my segue toward being an intuitive rider. One that connects with the horse by being closely attuned to their behaviors and movement. My horses and I are happier now that we are in better harmony.”
Ginny’s study of the wild horses and burros changed her “permanently” and changed the way she sees and interacts with them. She stays closer to home now and her equine subjects are local, whether that be her own, friends’ or clients’.
Ginny paints exclusively in oils on linen, canvas or boards. The pigments of oil paints are suspended in linseed oil, which results in a mixture that maintains a vibrant color and dries slowly. The slow drying time, during which the colors do not change, allows her the ability to rework, correct and even scrape off areas of paint.
Early influencers of her work were James Reynolds (cowboy artist), T. Allen Lawson, Clyde Aspevig and Michael Workman. Currently, Ginny explains she is “focusing on my own style, which is loose and painterly. Representationally, but flowing in and out of abstraction. Loose means not getting bogged down with unnecessary details. It also means operating by intuition more than intellect, while paying attention to the gesture, mood and flow. In the end, I want the loose passages, color combinations, value patterns and composition to come together in a dynamic and pleasing manner. I prefer depicting horses in the most natural states as possible, whether alone, within a herd or interacting with their owners.”
Ginny does commissioned work in oils or charcoal drawings of horses, horses with their people as well as people portraits. It is up to the client if they are painted in Ginny’s “loose” style, or she can render the subject realistically.
The Stone Heart Gallery in Evergreen features Ginny’s work, or for more of her work and to contact her, visit VirginiaFurness.com or instagram.com/virginiafurness
Heather McWilliams © 2021