Graham Isom is a multi-award-winning equestrian artist with an obvious love for his subject, described by Portfolio magazine as a painter “who is breaking new ground by combining an eye for thrilling sporting action with the finest attributes of this demanding and specialized art”.
He was born in 1945, in Farnborough, Kent and brought up around his father’s riding school, where he developed his love of horses, and subsequently studied at Ravensbourne College of Art, where he specialized in sculpture.
After teaching ‘A’ Level students for five years in Dorset, his private commissions increased sufficiently to enable him to devote all his time to painting, and for two years he specialized in figure studies. After a series of jobs in the late sixties and early seventies, he turned freelance in 1973. In 1988, he moved to Somerset and started to produce some of his most successful work.
Since then his paintings have won numerous awards. From the Society of Equestrian Artists, these include the Michael Stewart Award for Best Oil, the Messrs Fores Award for Best Sporting Picture, the Lyra UK Award for the Best Drawing, the Most Popular Picture, and the Horse & Hound Award for the Best Racing Picture. Every year from 1990 to 1993 he was decorated by the ‘American Academy of Equine Artists’ and in 1993 alone he received a trio of awards: ‘Best Racing Picture’, ‘Best Sporting Picture’ and ‘Most Popular Picture’.
Regular exhibitions throughout the UK and USA, together with his acceptance into both the ‘American Academy of Equine Art’ and the ‘Society of Equine Artists’, have resulted in his work being collected around the world. His painting, ‘The Prince of Wales Cup’, featuring Prince Charles playing polo, was auctioned in Florida in aid of the Friends of Conservation charity for $29,000.
Charles Lane, writing for Horse & Hound, said: “Graham Isom’s style is always changing, if almost imperceptibly, and a recent less-rigid delineation and softer use of colour now gives his paintings much more warmth than in the past, without detracting from a tremendous ability to paint horses in action.”