There aren't many equestrian art galleries around, but if you don't mind driving to Norco--a horsy community just outside Orange County--an extensive horse-themed display covers the walls of a new Sizzler restaurant. The permanent display was created by artist Penny Corradine of Los Alamitos and interior designer Sharon Roy of Brea, who were commissioned to create an equestrian decor for the dining room.
The project, which Corradine completed in less than three months, includes more than 40 pieces of equestrian art. Each scene depicts quarter-horse racing, either as a scene from a race or as a portrait of a prominent race horse.
The restaurant's entry is highlighted by a large stained-glass window featuring Gold Coast Express, who was 1986 World Champion racing quarter horse, and two murals that are 5 1/2 feet high and together span 19 feet in length.
One wall features other recent world champions and highlights First Downs Dash, last year's world champion. Another wall is dedicated to quarter-horse trainers and jockeys.
Corradine used a variety of materials: oils, water colors, acrylic paints, conte crayons and prismacolors and hand-colored photographs.
"The biggest challenge besides working in so many media was finishing in time for the restaurant opening," said Corradine. "The murals especially put pressure on me. They're done on canvas first, then put up on the walls after (the customer) approves them."
Jack Williams, who was one of the restaurant's owners and is a prominent Temecula quarter-horse owner, commissioned the art from Corradine because he felt that "Norco's awareness of itself as a city of horse enthusiasts deserves special treatment. Norco's association with horses is a unique community asset."
The display is at the Sizzler restaurant, 1750 Hamner St., Norco. For more information, call restaurant manager Richard Buoscio at (714) 734-1787 or Penny Corradine at (714) 598-2892.
Several of her hand-painted jackets, some of which feature polo scenes, are displayed at Ortega Tack in San Juan Capistrano, where they sell for $295 each. Ortega Tack is at 31654 Rancho Viejo Road, San Juan Capistrano, (714) 661-3661.
For information write: Kit Gustafson Power Limited Edition Prints, 20119 Amapola, Orange, Calif. 92669, or call (714) 997-8056.
Darlene Sordillo, an author of two books on horse training and competition, covers equestrian events for The Times. Her column appears every Saturday. Readers may send horse-related news to her at: Orange County Life, The Times, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa 92626.