Kentuckian Jaime Corum combines her love of horses and passion for painting in her career as an equine artist. Her talent has taken her to the stalls of equine royalty and made her well known in the thoroughbred industry.
“Since I was a little girl, I started drawing horses, kind of obsessively,” says Corum. “I wasn’t able to have a horse at the time, and so it was just my way of being close to the animal that I loved so much.”
Later in life, Corum was able to ride and own a horse of her own. She cites her first horse, Sandy, as her chief muse.
“He was just kind of a dream horse,” she says. “A big, bay, powerful horse. You felt like you could take anything on when you were on Sandy.”
Being a horsewoman helps her capture the spirit of a horse in her artwork.
“The horse shapes and the horse structures and their features and their different expressions became part of my language,” Corum says. “It was part of my visual language.”
Corum’s family lives in Bell County, and she feels at home in the wilderness and mountains there. But Central Kentucky horse country is the place to be for an equine artist.
“The horse epicenter of Kentucky and the world is Louisville and the Lexington area,” she says. “Those are the places that are dearest to my personal horse cultural heart.”
Corum found a place in the horse racing world when she met Leonard Lusky, president of Secretariat.com.
“I went to an art show in Louisville and saw this spectacular equine artwork,” says Lusky. “I met Jaime, the artist, and I explained to her what I did, which was representing Penny Chenery, Secretariat’s owner.
“Ms. Chenery is very selective in terms of artwork, and when I first showed her Jaime Coram’s work, she was blown away,” says Lusky. “She said, ‘This woman gets it. She really understands horses and conformation.’ Immediately when I showed her some of the Secretariat work, she said, ‘Oh yeah. This is perfect.’”
Through her work for Ms. Chenery, Corum was connected to racing royalty of the modern era, and was asked to do a portrait of Zenyatta for a celebration at Churchill Downs.
“They wanted a life-sized portrait of her,” says Corum. “That alone has gotten me probably more recognition as an equine artist than any other painting I’ve done. I got to go and meet her and measure her. She kind of has that regal presence, too. She seems to know that she is special, and just feeling that from her was another inspiration.”
This segment is part of Kentucky Life episode #2506, which originally aired on November 9, 2019. Watch the full episode.