Altamira Fine Art Scottsdale is pleased to welcome September Vhay and her festive red horses, just in time for the holidays.


Please join us for an Artist Reception on Thursday evening, December 13th from 6:30-9pm, during the annual "Scottsdazzle" ArtWalk on Main Street.  Holiday treats and live music will accent the evening, and the artist will be in attendance.


Vhay's popular red horse series is the focus of her new exhibition, with works in both watercolor and oil, ranging from 7 x 9 to 60 x 60 inches.


A life spent with horses. A career painting their strong grace. A decade coursing their contours in red. All the Red Horses and a Hummingbird marks a milestone for September Vhay: Within this gathering of new canvases lives her 100th red horse—a series that began as a gesture of play amid pain. While visiting a friend at the Seattle Hospital, Vhay ducked outside to spend a moment with a Deborah Butterfield bronze horse. In her sketchbook, she scribbled a tiny homage to the mighty work: a loose study of equine essence. Soon after, she began her holiday ritual of painting cards for Crane Creek Graphics—the only time she incorporates red into her otherwise muted palette. Beguiled by the miniature horse sketch, she tried a version in the holiday hue, letting muscle memory guide her brush. In crimson, the small study emerged emphatic: a feng-shui blending of equine traits (power, strength, grace) with the qualities associated with red (passion, fame, dynamism, assertiveness). When fused, the red horses deliver “a double dose of empowerment,” felt by both the painter and the patron, as evidenced in the instantaneous sales of those first works.


Now, she sees red horses constantly: at the Santa Anita Race Track, she spotted a horse gesture primed for red. No matter the origin, her practice follows the same process as that first sketch: she begins with the circle of the jaw—a flashback to childhood drawing lessons. Then she searches for the defining form, like the oblong shape of the shoulder, the pooling loops of a knee, or the unbroken arc of the back. The distinctive personality of each horse comes alive in her exploration of line; the movement of the brush from thick to thin, the interplay of negative space made by the marks. “It’s a different essence every time,” she says. “A different horse. These new horses are as rewarding as the first ones.”



September Vhay was born in Reno, Nevada. A largely self-taught artist, her formal training is in architecture. She received her bachelor of architecture degree from the University of Oregon in 1993. Vhay's initial painting education, via architecture school, was in watercolor and she now paints in both watercolor and oil.  Because of her skill with watercolor, she seamlessly achieves the freshness of watercolor with the saturation of color only possible in oils.


It is an honor to participate in the creative process of making art as it is an entity larger than myself.  I learn something new everyday and am continually delighted by what shows up on the canvas.”  - September Vhay


The artists understanding of structure, composition, and light (all of which are crucial in architecture) give her paintings a sense of three-dimensional form. In addition to architecture, she was also influenced by the paintings and sculpture of her great-grandfather Gutzon Borglum, who created and sculpted Mount Rushmore and other prominent national monuments. It was his comparatively smaller-scale work that Vhay most admired.


Vhay's recent exhibitions include the Western Visions Wildlife Show & Sale at the Wildlife Museum in Jackson, WY as well as the Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale in Cody, Wyoming.  Among other awards, September won first place in painting at the 2012 Ex Arte Equinus International Competition, and the Trustee's Purchase Award at the 2010 Western Visions Show & Sale at the National Museum of Wildlife Art.  Her work has been featured in national publications including: Southwest Art Magazine, Western Art Collector, Mountain Living, Homestead, Luxe Magazine, Western Art & Architecture and Images West.