Scott Ewen has always been surrounded by art and artists.

His uncle is sculptor Bill Binnings; his mother, writer and poet Pamela Binnings Ewen; his grandfather, a successful business owner in the shipping industry, always encouraged an appreciation of the arts. Ewen himself studied film and photography at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and in his 20s and 30s, played music professionally. When the first of his two children was born in 2000, he gave up touring and took up painting as a more family-friendly path for his talents. 

“I picked up painting because it was something I could do at home while taking care of my son,” he says.

For a time, Ewen’s work was almost exclusively figural. But he eventually began exploring a more surreal, poetic style that he describes as stream of consciousness.

“I realized I never was all that committed to figurative work,” says Ewen, who grew up in St. Tammany and Houston and later lived in Boston, San Francisco and Austin before returning to his Louisiana roots. “I started to gravitate toward work that is more of a metaphor for life.”

His atmospheric landscapes of wild unspoiled areas like Honey Island Swamp and Pearl River, places he’s loved since childhood, look at what he calls “the spaces in between things.”

“I try to find the beauty in the mundane,” he says.

He is also drawn to the majesty and symbolism of equestrian subject matter. Though thrown from a horse and injured as a child, he began photographing and painting horses when his daughter took up riding lessons and art buyers immediately responded to the imposing images.

“Horses represent time for me,” he says. “I often render them running. It’s a metaphor for life, always moving forward, big, powerful, unstoppable, free.”

Ewen’s training is obvious in the way he depicts equine anatomy and volume and many of the pieces are life-size. But their impact also comes from the inspirational, optimistic messages they convey. The artist, who is currently working on a series inspired by the balletic pageantry of the dancing horses of Andalusia, Spain, sometimes weaves words and phrases into his paintings.

“It’s like poetry within the paintings,” he says. “I’m getting back to storytelling and narrative painting.”

Ewen’s works are included privately and publicly displayed collections, including University Medical Center in New Orleans and The Southern Hotel in Covington. Other works can be seen at the Madisonville Library and the Women’s Pavilion at St. Tammany Parish Hospital. The artist is represented by Saladino Gallery in Covington.