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Wild Horse Handmade Book Artist Statement

Tim Layton Fine Art - Learn Analog Photography -

“Everything that’s created comes out of silence. Your thoughts emerge from the nothingness of silence. Your words come out of this void. Your very essence emerged from emptiness. All creativity requires some stillness.” -Dr. Wayne Dyer

I currently live in the Ozark Mountains. The landscape is quiet, peaceful, rugged, and beautiful.

We have wild horses that roam the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, an area that is protected by the national park service.

Most people think wild horses are iconic symbols from the past and have no idea that America has tens of thousands of wild horses in many different locations across the country.

I am fortunate to live in an area home to four herds of wild horses currently protected by federal law. The law was signed by President Bill Clinton on October 3, 1996, and made the horses a permanent fixture of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways National Park. Even though there is a law to protect these horses, they are still vulnerable to being removed because several other herds of wild horses have been removed from national parks. If you read the bill closely, it is clear that a motivated national park administrator could build a successful case to remove the horses.

I believe an impressionistic interpretation and the timeless dream-like quality of my handmade wild horse artwork reflect the humility and silence of these majestic creatures. I am committed to preserving the history and memory of the wild horses of Shannon Country, Missouri, during my lifetime. The artwork becomes a silent witness to the history of these horses when the horses and I are gone at some point in the future.

Nothing is forever, and with the current direction of society and the distancing from nature and wildlife, Missouri’s wild horses’ future is uncertain.

When I look at wild horses, I think about stillness, stoicism, and peace. These impressions and feelings are transcended into my artwork and guided by my narrative.

Through my handmade fine art photographs and books, I want to share the unseen in wild horses, and by revealing my innermost thoughts and feelings, I hope to help people be still and ultimately heal, recover, and find peace.

I am offering a limited-time opportunity for art buyers and collectors that want to support the development and creation of our first limited edition of 100 handmade wild horse fine art books. The book will include at least 12 handmade wild horse fine art prints with acid-free interleaving vellum between each print. Each piece of artwork in the book is embossed with a custom stamp and each artwork is titled, dated, and signed. A final version of the artist statement will be at the front of the book and be hand signed. The book will be made in a lay-flat style, so you can enjoy each piece of artwork with the book lying flat. You will receive a certificate of authenticity hand signed and dated. You will be rewarded as an early supporter because you will save 50% off the final price of this limited edition handmade book. In a world where everything is mass produced and cheaply made, our handmade wild horse fine art book is a rare opportunity to support an artist that is committed to pre-mechanized 19th century handmade processes. You’ll be rewarded with a unique and collectible artwork that you’ll appreciate for the rest of your life.

The ancient Stoic philosophers came from almost every imaginable background. One was a slave; another was an emperor. One was a water carrier; another was a famous playwright. Some were merchants; others were independently wealthy. Some were Senators, and others were soldiers. What they all had in common was the philosophy that they practiced. Whether they were chafing under the shackles of slavery or leading the Roman army, they focused not on the external world but on what was solely in their own control: Their thoughts, their actions, and their beliefs.

I am approaching my wild horse artwork from a stoic mindset. I am channeling wisdom from the ancient stoic philosophers dating back to the first century. The artwork that I am creating is something tangible that I can share to help others be still for a moment and explore the benefits of stillness and modern-day stoicism. If you pay close attention to my artwork, you will be able to recognize the connections between the seen and the unseen.

Every stage of my creative workflow starts with being in the field, tracking and watching wild horses. This is where the magic happens, and then I invest the rest of my time and energy trying to recreate my experiences and emotions through my handmade artwork. It is an opportunity to quiet my mind and be fully present in the moment.

All of my wild horse fine art, whether a print or a book, is made using 19th and 20th-century analog chemical-based and oil painting methods.

I create 19th-century calotype paper negatives using my large format view cameras. I use handcrafted lenses from the 19th century to create my negatives because they help me create emotionally evocative and subtle renderings in a way that isn’t possible when using modern optics.

My ancient handmade workflow allows me to create unique artwork that is rare and unusual in our digital society while allowing me to express my creative vision that is aligned with my narrative.

Once I have a suitable calotype paper negative, I make a matrix on archival rag cotton paper that is hand sensitized with potassium dichromate and gelatin. The calotype paper negative in placed in contact with the sensitized matrix and exposed to UV light.

The sensitizer creates a reaction with the gelatin in the matrix. It hardens in the shadow areas and is softer in the highlights. When the matrix is soaked in water, the gelatin swells to create a relief that accepts and rejects the oil-based inks when applied with brushes.

The matrix is built up and created over time, just like an oil painting. Once the artwork is finished, I take the matrix and use an etching press to transfer the oil-based archival inks from the matrix to the new substrate. The transfer process is the final step in the workflow and produces my unique and limited edition artwork for my books each year.

If you are a photographer or interested in learning about analog photography, we have an Analog Photography Membership Community that is the only community of its kind where you can learn and explore analog photography in depth. I also have an extensive training library of video workshops and guidebooks if you prefer to download the videos and books for offline use.

-Tim Layton

Revision History:

  • December 15. 2022
  • November 08, 2022