42 artists vying for inaugural Sunshine Coast equine art prize

42 local, Queensland and interstate artists have entered 76 art works for the inaugural Seeing the Soul: Hoofbeats Sanctuary Art Prize and Exhibition at Cooroy Butter Factory Arts Centre in April.

The exhibition major sponsor is Bendigo Community Bank, Cooroy, the People’s Choice prize is sponsored by Sunshine Coast award-winning entrepreneur and speaker Natasha Coughlan, and the runners-up prize sponsors are HinterNoosa, Laguna Pest Control and Cooroy RSL and Citizens Clubs.

Prize winners will be announced at the exhibition opening on Friday 31 March and the exhibition continues until 30 April, during which all artworks will be for sale.

The diverse artworks depict horses at liberty, free from all forms of tack and saddlery across a wide range of media including painting, drawing, pastel, metal and found material sculpture, photography and digital.

Also on display will be a group of ceramic horse statues decorated by high-profile identities that will be sold by silent auction. These include former cricket great Glenn McGrath, Australian music icon Russell Morris, local food identity Matt Golinski, leading multidisciplinary Indigenous artist Tony Albert, Creek to Coast host Scott Hillier and AFL legend Nicky Winmar.

According to Hoofbeats Sanctuary CEO, Barb Blaski, Seeing the Soul is a major fundraising initiative to support and promote the Sanctuary’s work by celebrating and showcasing equine art and raising awareness of mental health.

“We are so grateful to the artists for their generosity and support for our work and their genuine love of horses,” she said.

Peregian artist Jeannette Smith said: “I felt vulnerable painting this horse. I’m not an equine artist however wanted to be a part of this exhibition as I love this Sanctuary and its purpose… a refuge for horses and therapy for humans a special space where only the soul can be seen.”

Victorian sculptor and digital artist Gordon Hayward’s stated: “Beyond the aesthetics of my artworks, I hope to inspire a deeper appreciation for horses and raise awareness for the important work being done by this charity. By supporting their efforts to protect and care for horses in need, we can ensure that these remarkable animals continue to grace our world with their presence and enrich our lives in countless ways. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to use my art to make a positive impact and contribute to this important cause.”

Highly sought-after equine artist Terri Trivett said “Together we feel empowered, understood, supported, appreciated, inspired… loved. We find warmth in darkness and share joy, together. This canvas was painted in gratitude for our friends, families, partners, lovers, and especially our beautiful, generous horses who are ever there for us, teaching us and colouring our lives with happiness.”

From the total prize money of $15,000, prizes will be awarded for overall winner, category winners and runners-up (painting/drawing, sculpture/3D and photography) and People’s Choice Award. 

Judges are Nina Shadforth, Sunshine Coast Art Collection Curator, Caloundra Regional Gallery and Yanni van Zijl, local artist.

A program of workshops and Artist Talks will be offered during the exhibition.

“Located at Doonan, Hoofbeats Sanctuary is a safe, restorative space that brings people, animals and nature together to improve the emotional well-being of some of the most vulnerable members of our community – those living with mental health challenges resulting from trauma,” Ms Blaski said.

“The Sanctuary is home to a herd of ten horses and ponies, most of which have experienced big life stressors in their lives, and so are the perfect teachers,” she said.

Visit the website for more information: seeingthesoul.org.au



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Sara Bell, Cooran, Qld

Sara Bell has been living and working as a full-time artist on the Sunshine Coast since 2015. Her chosen medium is oil however she also works in graphite for highly detailed drawings.


Cooper Brady, Sunshine Coast, Qld

Cooper is from the Sunshine Coast, he found his love for photography through travel documentation, loving the process as much as the images captured.


Duncan And Natalia Broadhead, Kin Kin

We are creative metalworkers based in Kin Kin, once the home of the Great Horse Race. Inspired by nature and history, affected by the present.


Jodi Casey, Maroochydore, Qld

Jodi creates works based on a sourced image of her subject, and selects locally sourced, off-cut timber to make the structure. While additional support mechanisms are constructed out of supplementary timber and reconstituted metal, the body is assembled from a range of vintage jewellery, oxidize metal and discarded implements, supplied from Jodi’s extensive and ever-expanding collection. What results are depictions of beauty and enchantment.


Catherine Clark Dowden, Mackay, Qld

Catherine uses many different mediums from pencil drawings, mixed media, oils, through to large scale painted murals. She has exhibited in numerous events throughout Queensland and New South Wales. She has collectors in Australia, USA, South America, and England and has now begun to teach.


Lizzie Connor, Mary Valley, Qld

Lizzie is a professional artist and art tutor with approximately 30 years’ experience. Originally from Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, she now lives in the Mary Valley, Sunshine Coast hinterland. She has won awards in south east Queensland, and has held approximately 24 solo exhibitions and a number of joint exhibitions. Her works are created from the natural world and particularly the ocean and beach environment.


Finn Cossar, Sunshine Coast, Qld

Finn has a profound love for nature established from growing up outdoors at the beach and in semi-rural environments; this translates in his sculptural work that features found objects from nature such as stone, rusted steel, and forms of old machinery. He enjoys combining these elements using industrial techniques such as welding, forging, and manipulation.


Helen Coulter, Couran, Qld

Helen Coulter is primarily an equine artist, however she paints other domestic animals, wildlife and some human portraiture. Her work hangs Australia-wide, in the United States, Canada, Germany, France and United Kingdom. She has won or been a finalist in many art competitions. While her favourite medium is acrylic on canvas, she also uses pastel, coloured pencils, graphite and scratch board.


Debbie Dodd, Sunshine Beach, Qld

Throughout her 20-year photographic journey, Debbie has explored various genres and found her style evolving from Photo Realism to Photo Artistry, inspired by the work of the Impressionists and abstract watercolour artists. Her artwork is created by transforming her own images into abstract digital paintings by superimposing collage elements over the photographs. Debbie is a volunteer at the Hoofbeats Sanctuary.




Syndy Esteves, Sydney, NSW

Kinzie Esteves, known as Syndy is a visual artist with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours from UNSW. Syndy also attended classes at Julian Ashton to further her studies in portraiture. Her artwork concentrates on painting in oils, investigating restrictive palettes and drawing in various mediums.. Syndy is a brumby advocate and runs blog and face book page called Free the Brumbies.


Karen Ferguson, NSW

The Memory Keeper’s Pocket brings together Karen’s passion for brumbies and photography, to support the re-homers who rescue brumbies being trapped in the National Parks. She spends countless hours observing the brumbies of Kosciuszko National Park. “With or without my lens I see something amazing in the brumbies, and if I am lucky enough I will capture some of that in my photographs.”


Magali Feuga, Buddina, Qld

Originally from France, Magali is a visual artist based on the Sunshine Coast since 2018. Using a variety of techniques and mediums, she has been exploring different subjects. Influenced by Street and Pop Art, her work combines a graphic painting style with elements such as patterns, symbols, stencils, or collage to create lively and expressive portraits.


Julie Field, Eumundi, Qld

Julie Field’s ceramic sculptures, paintings and drawings reflect her deep connection with horses and the equestrian world – and more broadly her beloved country lifestyle. Her work captures the equine form portraying the beauty, strength, and power of these incredible animals. Her sculptural pieces are all unique and enhanced by the unexpected nature of kiln firing. Julie has work in private collections across Australia, NZ, UK, Europe, and the U.S.A and is in demand for commissions and has received multiple awards for her work.


Donna Fisher, Noosa Hinterland, Qld

Donna Fisher is a writer and artist from the Noosa Hinterland. Her visual and written work deal with themes of journeys and transformation. She finds inspiration on forest walks, where the trees whisper stories and reveal inner truths. She uses vintage maps in her tree-inspired abstracts, speaking to the direction we can find when we meditate on the beauty of a single tree, not allowing ourselves to feel lost in the forest.


Ami Griffiths, Sunshine Coast, Qld

Ami is an oil-based painter and has recently begun working with acrylic. She paints on a mix of canvas and timber board. Her artwork visits the realm of realism mixed with dreamy sensations.


Fiona Groom, Sunshine Coast, Qld

Fiona’s work has been exhibited in a variety of state, national and international arts festivals and exhibitions as well as group and solo shows. She was featured in an episode of Put Some Colour in Your Life, resulting in the episode being sent to the moon in 2023 as part of a cultural library being setup in three different areas of the moon by NASA & SpaceX. Ms. Groom is very active in the local Artistic community and works/volunteers in several community galleries and events on the Sunshine Coast. Fiona has made her animal art large scale with the creation of a variety of murals that can be found on the Sunshine Coast and surrounds.


Fiona Harding, Sunshine Coast, Qld

Fiona Harding/Spirit You is a contemporary Australian artist with an arts practice spanning across various mediums. A reverence for nature and an attempt to visually articulate the intangible are themes consistent in Fiona’s practice. Works in development include a video performance work and a large installation sculpture, with a focus to engage viewers in novel ways. Currently, Fiona is a part of the creative co-working studio at 2nd Space in Nambour – an initiative of ArtsCoast, Spaces for Creatives program by Sunshine Coast Council.


Gordon Hayward, Geelong, VIc

Gordon’s primary business is based on creating art works as commissioned by clients. While his specialty lies with creating sculptures in clay and mixed media, he also has extensive experience with creating paintings and working with digital media. He finds great inspiration in the beauty and power of horses.


Eva Hergott, Sydney, NSW

Most of Eva’s photos are taken in Sydney however she loves to travel and photograph horses whereever she goes. She has been photographing clients and client horses came since 2018. She has also worked with different rescue organisations.



Claudia Hickel

Drawn to themes that reflect the beauty of nature and our connection with it, Claudia’s art is often combined with intricate ornamental surface designs and poetic lines.  Her paintings and sculptures are a collection of beautiful, joyful moments wandering in the wilderness. Claudia has participated in and sold art work at the Buderim Sculpture Garden since 2019 and at the Sculpture On The Edge Exhibition 2021 and 2022.


Brooke Hodgson, Pomona, Qld

Brooke is a 23-year-old woman who has been drawing for as long as she can remember. Having studied art in school she started taking commission work in her mid-teens. With a love for cartoon, realism and digital art her current preferred medium is lead pencil.  She loves to draw animals, particularly horses having owned them for the last seven years.


Marie Kennedy, Brisbane, Qld

Marie has been a pastel and acrylic artist since 2009. A lot of her paintings are relaxed photorealism. Painting is a form of meditation to relax her mind.


Alison Knight, Mary Valley, Qld

Alison has a diploma in visual art (ISCD, Sydney 2005) and has exhibited and sold paintings. Recently retired, she now spends time on her own artistic dreams. She now focuses on ceramic sculpture and the endless wonder of glaze technique and surface design – bringing together ceramic sculptural technique with the sensitivity, power and beauty of the horse.


Colleen Lavender,

Colleen’s journey through the sculptural world has been varied – large public works in Beaudesert, local Queensland commissions for collectors, international works and exhibitions throughout Australia. Her attitude towards her medium is often unorthodox and the result is an exciting mixture of positive and negative spaces and a definite strength and bang for your buck. The plasma cutter and welder are utilised side by side and produce an exquisite combination of character and eccentricity.


Beck Lee, Sunshine Coast, Qld

Beck has exhibited throughout Brisbane and Melbourne before calling the Sunshine Coast home. She works primarily with oil paints or graphite. Beck has also featured as the ‘Hello Sunshine’ magazine featured cover artist for the Spring edition. Beck also facilitates Paint and Sips, art workshops and private lessons in Coolum Beach, Sunshine Coast. When Beck isn’t squirreling away painting and illustrating in her studio she can be found surfing, horse riding and fossicking the local markets for treasures


Michelle Mann, Woombye, Qld

Michelle Mann is a mixed media artist and illustrator whose vibrant, joyful and whimsical work is inspired by nature, spirituality and a colourful imagination. Michelle’s work is held by collectors both nationally and internationally. Michelle has been exhibiting since 2016 in galleries in south east Queensland and Sydney.


John Miller, Sunshine Coast, Qld

John’s sculptures are made from stainless steel, beautifully crafted on the Sunshine Coast.


Pam Miller, Sunshine Coast, Qld

Pam attended the national art school in Sydney. She completed two degrees and two masters degrees. With 50 years of art practice and teaching, she has works held in collections overseas and in Australia.


Roslyn Nolen, Perth, WA

Roslyn Nolen has a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bendigo College of Advanced Education (1987-1989) and a Graduate Diploma of Education (Secondary), Australian Catholic University, Melbourne (1991). She has had six solo exhibitions and is currently working on her seventh. Roslyn has participated in 11 group exhibitions and her work has been shown in over 25 school and community exhibitions. Currently, Roslyn is working on a body of work focusing on horses. 


Marilyn Nuske, Melbourne, Vic 

Marilyn has participated in several collaborative exhibitions including at Ian Potter Gallery Carlton and Temple Gallery Prahran and her work has been sold privately. After 15 years working in Family Law, and 5 years as an Art Therapist on the Sunshine Coast, she is now focussing on her own painting again. She is founder of Brumby Action Group, a not-for-profit organisation that works to protect and conserve wild living Brumbies. She paints Brumbies, landscape and seascape and dog portraits.



\Karen Osborn, Sunshine Coast, Qld

Karen is an artist, tutor and horsewoman based on the Sunshine Coast. She works predominantly in pastels, and looks to express the fleeting moment, the intangible, the essence of the equine. Her work is in private collections internationally, and she has exhibited in international equine events, such as FieraCavalli in Verona in 2021. Recently she was featured by Paard Verzameld in the Netherlands “BitCap” equestrian magazine.


Naomi Osborne, Sunshine Coast, Qld

Naomi has always loved drawing horses but life has gotten in the way. This is the first time in over ten years she has put pen to paper.


Kate Parkes, Peregian, Qld

Kate Parkes was born in the UK and studied art, sculpture and photography in London. She worked at prominent UK music magazines, before travelling around Australia. Kate uses her realism skills for custom portraiture and detailed pencil drawings and paintings of wildlife and has recently developed an interest in exploring a freer, more intuitive artistic practice, inspired by the mid-century aesthetics of Abstract Expressionism.


Robyn Pembroke, Mary Valley, Qld

Robyn took up painting after retiring 3 years ago. She has been breeding Arabian horses for 30 years and competed in the Endurance field. She now portrays them them through her artwork.


Georges Petit, Sunshine Coast, Qld

With French, Dutch and Indonesian heritage, Georges has lived and studied in The Netherlands, Brazil and Australia. He worked at the Australian National Gallery Canberra from 1975 to 1982 and has exhibited nationally and overseas. He came to the Sunshine Coast in 1999.


Jan Rowlinson, Sunshine Coast, Qld

South African-born Jan Rowlinson worked with artists with intellectual disability for 12 years at the QArt Studio and Gallery in Kew, Melbourne, which is now part of Endeavour Foundation. Since moving to Queensland she now paints and creates full time, working primarily in acrylic and oil in her home studio.


Jeanette Smith, Peregian Springs, Qld

Living and painting on Australia’s Sunshine Coast Queensland, is akin to having a studio every minute I am awake. Exploring the National Parks, with new techniques allows my art to progress. I embrace the opportunity to learn while at the same time enjoy the sharing of my works, techniques, and knowledge. This personal joy is evident to me when I exhibit, complete a commissioned piece, or when I have the pleasure to be involved with a student’s work, corporate workshops, and their creative journey.


Veronica (V) Spittles, Nambour, Qld

V started pyrography in 2016 as a way to cope with the trauma of her chronic illness diagnosis. Pyrography is creating the image on wood with burn marks, then applying colour. She’s been sharing her love of animals, bright colours and beautiful wood with thousands of people online, teaching them to express themselves and how to create wood art like she does.


James Stickland, Sunshine Coast, Qld

James Stickland is a passionate Sunshine Coast based portrait painter working with oils. He has been winner of the Kenilworth Art Award, a finalist in the Perth Lester Prize, Townsville’s Percival Portrait Prize, Brisbane Portrait Prize Salon de Refuses, Queensland Figurative Art Prize, Lethbridge Art Award. His works are held in collections internationally and throughout Australia.


Terri Trivett, Noosa Hinterland, Qld

Terri’s art reflects her appreciation of horses, the ocean, and the natural environment. Living in the Noosa hinterland enables her connection with these passions. She is best known for her classically styled equine portraiture in oil on linen canvas, and mixed media works on unique papers. She is sought after for equine commissions internationally and in Australia.


Rossella Van Vugt, Sunrise Beach, Qld

Born in Trieste, Italy, Rossella has lived in Australia since 1955. She joined the Noosa Botanical Artists Group in 2004 at Wallace House and exhibited her work with the Botanical Artists’ Society of Queensland in 2008 and 2009. Rossella expanded her knowledge and expertise to the use of acrylics and incorporated still life, landscapes, portraits as well as the human form with this medium. She is a member of Noosa Open Studios and has exhibited in various exhibitions.



Jarrod Wendt, Melbourne, Vic

Jarrod is a painter and ceramicist who has an exceptional eye for detail which he uses to create hyper-realistic paintings. His painting practice explores a range of imagery including animals, plants and intricate patterns which display an immense amount of detail. Jarrod also has a natural talent with digital illustrating and a great initiative when it comes to creating original and unique artistic designs.