The Artist – Tracey Barkle

I am Tracey – I’m a friend, a sister, a daughter, a mother, a wife, a cowgirl, an artist, a dog lover and designer. I grew up in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia, among great gumtrees and shade-shrouded rainforests. As a kid, I was in love with a particular image in a Little Golden Book of a Palomino pony with a western saddle. I read that book until its pages were dog-eared and rode my pretend ponies until I was old enough to ride real horses wherever and whenever I could. By the time I was twelve, I spent every spare moment riding and hanging out with my own horses.

My love for horses and all things western never left me, but a career in interior design got the full attention of my early adult life. I became increasingly intrigued by how I could combine the art of design with my love of horses. Both art and horses require time, love and patience. I also yearned to collaborate and connect with similarly minded artists, photographers, makers and creators. 

Fast forward many years, sprinkle in a family and eventually I was able to realize my dream of owning property and, of course, horses once again. Running Creek Ranch was born. I was careful to include a studio for my artwork so, today, I have realised my dream – a space where I can wake up amongst the calls of the birds, where I can paint and create, share my artwork and spend time in my favourite place – the saddle. I have my constant companions – my dogs and my horses – with me daily to be my inspiration and muse, and to remind me that at the heart of my work is the focus on connection.  

I love sketching, seeing tone and detail, and keeping things simple yet beautiful. I work with many mediums including watercolour, acrylic, charcoal, ink, pastel and pencil. My big joy is conveying my vision impressionistically by combining a freedom of expression with my love of detail.

I am inspired by the place where strength meets beauty – there is a sacred space where these two elements coexist, and I constantly seek to express these harmoniously in my pieces. I am drawn to getting intimate with a subject, to see those threads of connection that are woven through those relationships of horse and cowboy or cowgirl. Those innate magnetic bonds that allow human and equine to think as one. 

I travel to the US as often as possible, spending time in the West riding horses, collaborating with and visiting friends that share my love of horsemanship and the western culture. In February of 2019, Corona Ranch in Phoenix, Arizona displayed my art as part of the Art Of The Cowgirl event. I have sold pieces to collectors in the United States, Canada, Sweden, and, of course, in my home country of Australia.