World-champion horsewoman also displays artistic prowess
by DELANEY WALKER, Banner Staff Writer
Nov 30, 2012 | 2210 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
World Champion finds artistic inspiration
IT’S A WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TIMES TWO, as of this past summer, for Blythewood Farms’ Key Waller. The artist/real estate developer/horse trainer competed as an amateur among professional riders in last summer’s World Championships at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky. She won first place in the Three Year Old Park class with WC Out of Hand. Submitted photo.
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Blythewood Farms cultivated a deep love for horse breeding and showing in Key Waller. Now the World Champion finds artistic inspiration in the farm’s landscape and animals.

Her paintings include abstract landscapes, cattails, horses, and line drawings of farm animals. These sights are readily familiar to Waller. She has seen them at Blythewood her entire life. Now she is trying to capture them on canvas.

“I love being able to create something that is visual and colorful,” Waller said.

High school drawings were decent as technical pieces, Waller recalled. Her creativity was hampered by a lack of confidence. Two daughters, a 5-year-old and a 2-year old, gave Waller a new view of art.

“My [5-year-old] daughter and I will sit and do abstract paintings for hours,” Waller said. “I tell her there is no right or wrong way to paint. Art is so interpretive. One person could love something and another person may not.”

Tracy O’Connell talked Waller into taking her paintings to the next level: into the public’s eye. Five Points museum in downtown Cleveland is hosting the Holly Jolly Arts Festival Nov. 30 through Dec. 2. Excitement and curiosity seem to be Waller’s primary emotions for this weekend.

“Everything I am painting right now is really different. It is me trying to figure out what I like to do, as well as what other people are drawn to. This art show will show me what people are drawn to and if that jibes with what I like to do,” Waller said. “I am not a commercial painter. I am not going to paint a certain way just because it sells.”

Another highlight of painting is the lack of constraints.

“I can totally do it at my leisure. If I don’t feel like painting for a month, then I don’t have to paint,” Waller said. “If I want to though, I can paint four paintings in a day and get really crazy into it.”

A sense of gratification fills Waller when others appreciate her creations.

“There is a great sense of pride and excitement when others have an appreciation for my art,” Waller said. “It would show they valued the thing I worked on enough to place it on their walls.”

Waller works with her father three days out of the week in real estate property management and development. The other four days are spent on hobbies, like horse showing and painting. All seven days are spent being a full-time mom and wife. She said her husband has been very helpful in her pursuits.

“He is a wonderful husband. There is no way I could do any of this without him. He is awesome,” Waller said. “He is very hands-on and just great.”

She said her husband was instrumental in helping her achieve world champion status this past summer. He watched the kids while she showed a horse, WC Out of Hand, in the Three Year Old Park class. The event took place in the esteemed Freedom Hall at Louisville, Ky.

It was the second time Waller became a world champion in the large horse show. The first was when was just 14 years old. Her most recent win allowed her to check off winning as an adult off of her goals list.

“Any ribbon you get is a major accomplishment, but to win was major for me,” Waller said. “The childhood one came from [Blythewood Farms] being prepared for it. I did not realize the significance of the win.”

Ann Neil, Waller’s aunt, bred WC, World Champion, Out of Hand. Waller’s next goal is to breed and raise a horse to win a world championship either with her as rider or someone else.

“Who knows? That could be another 20 years,” Waller laughed.

The modern day Jane of all trades said there is no way she could choose between her job and hobbies. If given a choice, she said she would still balance them as she is now.

“I do not like to do the same thing over and over again,” Waller said.

Waller comes by her love for horses and artistic talent honestly. Her grandmother, Bess Neil, was an original owner of Blythewood Farms and a talented artist. She describes her grandmother as being an amazing woman. It would seem she does not mind following in such distinguished footsteps.