Two Cochrane-area artists showcased at Spruce Meadows

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, September 15, 2016

Cochrane-area artists Hermann Brandt and his bronze sculpture, Every Thirteen Minutes, and Diane Williams and her work, Equine Spirits, were showcased at this year’s Spruce Meadows Masters.
Photos by Warren Harbeck

In last week’s column Kateri Cowley suggested we add horses to a whack pack for a world out of whack, because they remind us of “the need to be lifted off the ground and carried by another for a while.”

That wisdom pervaded last week’s Spruce Meadows Masters, the world-class show jumping competition held in Calgary. The partnership between horse and rider bore witness to the beauty of being lifted up and carried.

Such beauty of spirit is the essence of horses, says Cochrane-area artist, Diane Williams, whose photography and paintings of the spirit of horses were showcased at this year’s Masters.

She has shared those images in her latest book, The Equine Spirits of Sable Island. By lens and brush, Diane celebrates her sojourn among the rich-hued wild descendants of horses introduced to the island off the coast of Nova Scotia in the 1700s.

In both her exhibit and book, Diane has also lifted us off the ground and carried us for a while, as she honours “horses dancing inside my heart, spirits merging onto canvas.” (Visit her in Cochrane at Tyrrell Clarke Gallery, or online at

Artistic inspiration at Spruce Meadows wasn’t limited to horses, however. Cochrane artist Hermann Brandt was there, too, and his bronze sculptures of elephants were also showcased.

South African by birth, Hermann has made Cochrane his home since 1998. Here he has his own studio and gallery featuring oil-on-canvas landscapes of Alberta and sculptures of African wildlife.

For Hermann, art “is an expression of gratefulness” for “a gift, reflecting in and through us the nature of God.” One of his pieces on display at Spruce Meadows especially caught my attention as an expression of that gratefulness.

Every Thirteen Minutes is his way of drawing attention to Africa’s elephants endangered by poachers. “Every 13 minutes an elephant is illegally killed for its tusks,” he says. This tragedy was driven home to him during a recent visit to Matusadona National Park in Zimbabwe, when he encountered four poached elephants in one day.

“With this bronze I show an elephant family coming across the skeletal remains of a poached elephant,” he says. “I wanted to depict the reactions of each of these beautiful, sensitive, and intelligent animals” – reactions that include gentleness, vigilance, helplessness, fear and rage.

Hermann is donating 60% of the proceeds from this limited edition to a Zimbabwean initiative for the protection of elephants and rhinos. (For details see

Yes, the need to be carried by others is reciprocal. In grateful partnership, sometimes four legs carry two – and sometimes two carry four.


© 2016 Warren Harbeck

Return to Coffee With Warren home page