Morgan Horse Promoted Through Art

2WF’s The Sidekick Magazine
Meredith Sears, Editor

Morgan horse promoted through Art
How the recognition of a painting…garnered PR for the Morgan horse.  by Bj. de Castro


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I finished ‘Capriole, Vienna’, original watercolor in 1995, however…it wouldn’t be until  June of 2003 that the Limited Edition print of ‘Capriole’ would introduce me to Wendy LeGate and the Morgan Horse.  It was the birth of a different painting…one that would soon take on a life and destiny of it’s own…

Wendy LeGate is owner of OGO, Old Growth Oak Morgans, in San Jose, California, where she breeds the purest lines of the Morgan.   She purchased many pieces from me, before she approached with the proposal of painting something that she could use as a logo for her Morgan horse ranch.  I started to work and put 80 hours talking, researching and studying photos, before paint ever touched the canvas.  We wanted to incorporate the magnificent oak trees that make up the landscape and it was important to capture Wendy’s vision of her passion.   A passion that goes beyond admiration for a beautiful and magnificent animal.  It’s a passion that takes on a personal responsibility and dedication to the blood line legacy of the original Justin Morgan and Jubilee King.

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What neither one of us realized, was that this art piece would take on all the traits that define the Morgan horse and call them it’s own…then, return the honor with International recognition.  The history, legacy, strength, beauty and endurance of the Morgan was to be channeled through the passion of a painting… to the admirers, art patrons, editors, writers, collectors, breeders, galleries, competition committees, book publishers and to the billions of Internet web surfers.

This painting was a one year process-almost to date, from conception to completion. During the research phase of this piece, I learned about the Morgan horse, it’s history and it’s legacy.  During the painting process, I learned of its strength, beauty and endurance.  Most enlightening to me, however, was the lesson I learned during the collaboration process with Wendy.   Perhaps-only in the art world, have I ever seen such passion!  As an outsider to the Morgan horse life looking in, my very first and sustained impression was that of loyalty, love and extreme passion for these magnificent animals.{mospagebreak} 

I have always told my children, “There is an artist behind everything you see.”  This statement opened their eyes to the possibilities and avenues for their own artistic endeavors-as Fine Art wasn’t their thing, and helped them evaluate which industry would best fit them.  There is no industry that utilizes the visual impact of art more than in advertising and promotion.  Now, with the new world of the Internet and all it’s possibilities…key words are associated with all graphics and art.  Therefore, any web surfer can type in a topic of interest to them and not only find text pages, but also, images related to that topic.  As a computer geek and webmaster myself, I realized I had found a way to reverse the industries’ process to work to my advantage.  Instead of using art to grab the viewer’s attention to text, I used text to navigate the surfer to my art.    Through this endeavor, anyone with an interest in the topic of an art piece is directed to my website and my work.  However, no piece has garnered more attention than Oak & Morgan Stance.


If you do a search for ‘bjdecastro’ on the top 17 search engine companies-Google, Lycos, Dogpile, Altavista, Yahoo, Excite, Metacrawler, webcrawler, Momma, Netscape, Alltheweb,, Looksmart, MSN, Teoma, Redzip and Askjeeves, you will find a total of over 2,290 listings.  Keep in mind, there are many other indexes on the web-over 10,000!   Each pulling text and links with any reference to the surfer’s request to display as results.  Oak & Morgan Stance has not only harvested publicity for itself through this process…but for that of the Morgan horse community, as well.   Art patrons purchase the prints from the site, my online gallery reps. or eBay and promote; galleries promote through display of  the piece, competition committees select the work and promote through the contest; a book publisher found the work and now it is going to print an art coffee-table book; postcard sales are a huge market for me and the Morgan horse is being sent out around the world; editors have found the piece in their Internet and eBay searches, which garnered more articles on the Morgan-but the painting continues to give back…


Doing a search on Google for Laura Behning, editor and writer for the Morgan horse, you will find the article she wrote for Oak & Morgan Stance at the 4th or 5th position.  Wendy LeGate, Morgan horse breeder, will display through the piece at positions 1, 3 and 4.   Old Growth Oak Morgans brings the art work up at number 1 and Morgan horse art is at 2.  What does this all mean?  The more references to the topic on the Internet through a website, brings that site up in the rankings.  The net evaluators say the average surfer doesn’t go past the fourth page, so consequently, webmasters strive to be listed on the first one.  If you think of a funnel upside down, then the direction in which the surfers travel through these sites are what makes the search engines smile.  *The smaller end being the search engine.  So, with the Oak & Morgan Stance being an image and much easily incorporated into thousands of websites, you can see how it has garnered an enormous amount of traffic for the Morgan cause.  The visitor admires the painting, then reads the article by Laura Behning, then visits the site of Wendy LeGate, then follows the links to other sites-such as the Morgan Horse Association with all it’s links to other Morgan community sites.  Even if the viewer sees the piece in a gallery and goes to their computer to do a search on it…the result is the same.

Oak & Morgan Stance has only just begun to garner publicity and recognition for the Morgan horse, but has already established it’s association with pride and success.   It was selected by a Jury Committee for the 2004 International Art Contest.   It has topped studio sales on eBay and throughout the world eBay sites via prints and postcards.  It grabbed the attention of a book publishing company to immortalize itself and the Morgan in their next art coffee-table book of Modern Day Master Artists.   The piece was featured in the Art Fix magazine and an article was written by Laura Behning about the piece for the Morgan horse community.  There are over forty online galleries featuring and exhibiting the painting, with everyone of them containing the funnel of links back to the Morgan sites.

Besides any further publicity the painting garners, Oak & Morgan Stance will continue to spread all over the world from Canada to Australia in the form of prints and postcards in effort to honor the homes with the history, legacy, strength, beauty and endurance of the Morgan horse.

Bj. de Castro, one of the pioneering artists on the Internet, has many art-related affiliations, a membership of the former National Association of Fine Artists and is listed in the International Art Market Directory of Artprice in Paris, in the 58th edition of Who’s Who in America and the 22nd edition of Who’s Who in the World.  Her paintings are in private and corporate collections throughout the World, exhibited Internationally, and published in a book of Modern Day Masters.  This award winning California artist is based in Simi Valley, and represented by many galleries.