A capacity crowd turned out for the opening reception of the late artist Lynn Carlisle's exhibit Sunday afternoon at the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum.


The exhibit features portraits of horses and dogs and is composed of the pieces owned by Carlisle's family and friends. The exhibit will be on display through Feb. 3.


Carlisle was shot and killed by her ex-husband, Craig Jarvis, on May 17, 2012. Donations are being accepted to endow a bench for the museum courtyard in Carlisle's memory.


Carlisle's impact and influence was far reaching as she was not only an artist, but a mother, friend, equestrian and Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum advisory board member.


“It goes to show you how many lives she touched,” said Suzy Haslup, who loaned the portrait of her horse Nipper for the exhibit. “We've never had a crowd like this before. She was a very active board member. We miss her. She spearheaded a lot of changes that we made, and a number of things we implemented. She was a very good board member and took it very seriously.”


The artist, who worked in water color and oil on linen, conveyed to the audience descriptive depictions through her portraits, and the viewers found that every detail in Carlisle's paintings are observed with equal interest.


“She was a beautiful and gracious lady, and her artistic creativity will now live on because of her work,” said Barry Bornstein, Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum advisory board member. “The advisory board felt that this would be a way to honor her memory.”


Carlisle's mastery of form and skillful interpretation allowed her art to depict images of powerful quality and telling details.


“We were very good friends,” said Linda Knox McLean, who had several paintings in the exhibit. “I get emotional thinking about her. I miss her a lot.”


A pursuit of creative excellence and zeal for life are among the things Jill Thomas remembers about Carlisle.


“She was a good friend of mine,” said Thomas. “I loved it when she came out to the barn, and we would talk about everything. Hark, her thoroughbred, was out there (Chime Bell Farm), and Tynan, her hunter. She just got great joy from the horses, the dogs and the art.”


An exhibition of the artist's work will be on display at the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum through Feb. 3.