Foxy

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I've been keeping a secret for weeks and tada! now I can finally share it! Meet Foxy!

This good-looking mare was an extra special Christmas present from a fabulous hubby (Mike) for his horse obsessed (aren't we all!) wife Morgan. Mike had to sneak around and get pics to email me of Foxy. In every pic her luscious forelock made me smile. She reminded me of the girls in middle school with those long silky locks!

I sat with her pics and starting thinking about colors. I fell in love with the background colors which like clouds allowed me to see different shapes and ideas. I can see a fern right now... do you see it?

As I worked on Foxy's artwork, I stopped to write down impressions and thoughts that came up. Before I finished her portrait, I whispered, "Do you have a message for me, Foxy?"

Here's what I got:
Adoration takes many forms. Celebrity culture and following gurus fuels idolization.

Stand with me instead.

Be the mirror for sunlight, green grass, and thundering hooves.

Meet Harry

Before I started the artwork of Harry, I did a meditation with him. Right off the bat, I wrote down spiritual, rays, and golden boy. I asked him about these words and I saw a scene with him bathed in a beautiful golden light. I asked him to give me more information and he told me that he was a borderlands horse. I didn’t know what that meant, so I asked him. He said that he had been to the area of overlap between our physical and non-physical world. He said that he felt very uncertain there.

In my mind’s eye, I saw him in three different worlds. One is the spiritual realm, which comes down from the heavens and showers him with rays of light through the colors of purple and blue. He feels those two colors represent his soul. Purple is the introspective color that allows getting in touch with deeper thoughts. Blue is the helper, the rescuer, the friend that pulls out all the stops for you. Harry has strong feelings about the color blue. He feels this color represents is horse guardian owner, Amy.

The strip of transition between the purples and the blues is the world of the unknown (ie the borderlands). He feels he has traveled to that world but wants to stay in the physical world for longer. He has more to teach. The golden world is how he feels now. To him the golden world is idyllic and pastoral.

I asked him if he had a message and he said he did. Here is what I got:

I am here as a teacher and student. I want to glow golden in my own way. Sometimes as I breath, I feel lighter and lighter.  I carried many burdens before but I feel them leaving me. I feel loved.

Meet Arria

Ellen described the centered moments of flow that she felt with Arria and I found myself remembering those feelings of grounding and partnership with a four hooved friend.

As I created this artwork, I asked Arria for her horse wisdom on how we can be in those moments of awareness and flow no matter if we’re at work or at play.

Here’s how the painting took shape:

The sky is starting to look a bit stormy and the small orange bird is looking for cover. Arria is standing in the last rays of sunlight before the ominous clouds move closer.

She is alert but still relaxed. Her mane becomes a feather as I paint it and the reds and pinks show her strength and feminine power.

She is strong, powerful, and all-knowing. There is a subtle meaning behind her feather and the bird.

 

The bird, through it’s connectedness to flight and different vantage point, brings a new perspective to Arria.

She calls in knowledge from those unlike her and learns from them. She approaches life from a beginner’s mind.

As I finished the painting, I wrote this (from Arria):

As the light fades and the dark skies approach gather knowledge from all sources. Embrace the unknown and feel your inner light. 

Build on your ability to look beyond the what is to the what can be. Call forth your birthright of determination and worthiness. Stand tall and show your talent in being you.

A Love Story

Sometimes I can’t help myself! I just start grinning ear to ear when I hear a love story. I had the pleasure of talking to Kathi about her love story with her beautiful Lipizzan gelding Cat.

I started helping out at the barn and I fell madly in love with Cat. I knew he was up for sale and that I was going to be so sad to see him go. I mean really sad.

One day I was in his stall scratching him and just loving him. My husband walked over and said, “Oh I see your cleaning your horse’s stall.” I was like, “Oh I wish.” Then he said, “No he’s yours. I just bought him for you.” I bursted into tears. 

June (the barn owner) said, “Are you sure? There’s a mare for sale that you can hop on right now and be riding instantly.” My husband told her that I wanted a beginning to end experience. 

Cat is my dear friend and has taught me more than I can put into words.

When I talked to Kathi about Cat, she told me about easily losing 60lbs after he was part of her life. She also started feeling much more settled in her life after her move from California. Her husband had told her that she had raised her kids and that now it was time for her.

That got me thinking about love stories.

Not the kiss face romantic kind of love story, but the love story that binds you to a place, an animal, or a person. I’ve talked to many people about horses over the past few years and the love stories they have told me come from a deep place. A place of indescribable joy and limitless love. When I finished the call with Kathi, I felt compelled to write what I felt from Cat.

Here’s Cat’s love letter:

I see you. Your pain.Your joy. My large wise eyes take you in. 

I know your tiny gestures. Your fingers tapping on your thigh. Your nervous head toss. 

The fine details are there. They complete you. 

I catch energy from the air. I know when it’s time to stay or go. 

Sometimes I don’t understand you but I try. 

You have joined my soul. 

Beau

I sat starring at Beau’s photo for over an hour. This 24 year old Thoroughbred had me stumped. I was having a hard time connecting with him. So I sat and waited for something to come. I thought of moonlight and that incredible early morning blue glow. I remembered watching the thoroughbreds in training at the Aiken, SC training track in that kind of light. The magic of the blue light along with the power and speed of the horses thundering by while most people were still in bed got me thinking.

Maybe Beau also liked the mystery that this light held?

So I started. I got apprehensive about the darkness. I like bright bold colours. As Beau’s portrait appeared, I got a strong impression of him. He had seen hard times. He wasn’t sure about people. He knew darkness more than light.

When I talked to his owner, Francine, she told me about how difficult he was and that he came to her farm for a ‘soft landing’. In the past few months, he had started engaging more with her. I got chills when she told me about her slow work of developing trust with him. She didn’t rush him. Their relationship was a delicate dance of not pushing him too hard but also making sure that things were safe.

I felt that Beau had a strong message. To me his eyes speak volumes of life experience. He holds mystery there. He is wise and is finding his way in being a true teacher. I want to share his message with you.

Beau’s Message for You

Stand in your darkness awake and aware. Know the shadow while you wait for the light. Feel for the new day while staying true to the night. Allow fears to come and go. Find a reason to trust and let it be so. Be the one that gazes through an inky black night with nothing to fear and nothing to fight.

Alfred

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Meet Alfred

Recently I got to meet Alfred. Not in person but in form and colour. He had a happy guy feeling about him while being alert and full of life. I decided to extent his forelock to look a bit like a feather.

I kept having the feeling that I needed a hawk in the painting. If you look at my other artwork there aren’t many birds.

This is where things took an unexpected turn!

When I interviewed Heather about Alfred she told me that she met him on the same day her mother passed away. She saw a hawk circling in the sky and just knew something bad had happened.

I didn’t know anything about her mother or her seeing the hawk as an ominous sign. As we talked, I got chills knowing that I had put a hawk in the painting. Heather hadn’t seen it yet. I told her that I had a hawk in it. We were both surprised at this synchronistic energy.

I feel like the hawk is her mom/guardian angel and Alfred is part of her circle of guardianship too. These beautiful beings are right there in every moment to support her.

Here’s what Heather said about Alfred:

“We made a quick trip to Gainesville. We looked at him and I loved him. My sister asked me what I thought of him. I told her he was a match made in heaven. He was everything I wanted. He was bay without a lot of chrome. He was calm, cool, and just everything I wanted but he was too much money.

My sister said that I had to get him but I couldn’t afford him. So she gave me some cash. He has been a dream since then. He’s a wonderful personality and will do anything you ask him. He loves peppermints and socializing with people. Last year, I ended up going to the Novice World Show and out of 96 horses we placed 9th! It was a huge win for us. I just love this horse.”

Scarlett

Play a little game with me! What do you think of when you read: craggy hills, castles, and stone circles? 

This is the kind of imagery I got when I started a meditation with Scarlett. I asked her about what this looked like and I saw a scene with a rocky outcrop, a village off in the distance, a browband/crown with a long flowing fabric. I asked her to give me more information and she told me that she feels her divine teacher from within is ready, willing, and able to come forth. 

So I gazed at her photo for a few more minutes (I have a special place in my heart for chestnut mares) blew out my candles and got to work. 

After the painting was done, I called Scarlett’s owner, AnnMarie, and we chatted about her journey with Scarlett and about her lifetime with horses. AnnMarie grew up fostering that deep primal love of horses. She cantered over jumps in her living room, earned money for riding lessons babysitting, and was obsessed with all things horse! 

Things really clicked when she told me that Scarlett was an Irish mare! Yes, I know!! That didn’t even occur to me during the meditation but now it made sense! While on a trip to Ireland, AnnMarie rode Irish horses and fell in love with their sensible but sensitive way of being. 

When she found Scarlett back in the US, she looked passed her small size and in-between growing stage looks. She said it didn’t help that Scarlett has a loose lip that hangs when she is relaxed. She was her special Irish lady!

She started Scarlett at 6 years old since she needed a bit more time to mature. As Scarlett learned more about the riding horse gig, she began to form a partnership with AnnMarie. The glimpses of her character, humor, spirit, and spunky self showed up

After I got off the phone with AnnMarie, I went back to the painting and it seemed that there was more. I know very little about Irish mythology but the phrase Triune Goddess popped in my mind. I had to look it up since I didn’t know what it meant. 

 

A Triune Goddess, means one and three all at the same time. This triple aspect of femininity is related to the stages of womanhood, namely maiden-mother-crone. I felt that Scarlett’s triple aspect revolved around her purpose, the promise of new beginnings-ripeness-wisdom. 

Her message is to always allow yourself to be open and willing to receive new lessons and know that those lessons (good or bad) will build a deeper understanding of the hidden depths of the horse/human bond. The key is to always allow yourself to ask questions and be open to the images or words that pop in your mind.

The Seen in the Hidden Self

Meet Roo

I had the pleasure of creating this artwork and chatting with June about her lovely horse Roo. I don’t know about you but I love finding out how certain horses (or other animals) ended up in our lives. There is always a special spark when a particular horse is ‘the one’.

June told me about expanding her search for a new partner out of state and how when she saw his delightful face on Facebook, she knew she needed to go meet him in person. Fast forward to now and June got her bronze medal in dressage on him. Her voice just fills with love when she talks about him.

But wait…there’s so much more!

One of things she said really stuck with me. She told me how important it was to be present and to give him time to think. I loved this as it speaks to the phrase that came to me when I finished the painting -­ The Seen in the Hidden Self.

By letting go and being in the flow with Roo, June can find that magic zone that defies mere words. The quiet but energetic place that is only seen when you peel back what is hidden within the self. In these moments, the horse seeks you and you are seen by him for the essence of you. Horses speak this truth and if we allow it, we can be welcomed in.

When I was creating this artwork of Roo, I felt strongly pulled towards colors that I normally don’t use and to use a technique that I haven’t tried! He got me out of my comfort zone.

To me he embodies the seen with his left eye looking straight in to your soul while his right eye is more hidden.

The curve of the background in the top left continues down under his mane. I like to think of this as a representation of his alignment with the natural world. The strands forelock that go down his face reflects a tribal look which speaks of his wisdom and desire of full attention when people are with him. He commands respect for partnership.

Have you ever had a moment that made you drop everything and take action?

For me, it was like there was a tiny bit of space in my thoughts that made me stop and take action. If you’re like me that isn’t always the case. Most of the time, I get into academic arguments with that little piece of clarity that pops up but this time was different.

It was February 2009 and I had just finished a workshop with Linda Kohanvo in Sonoita, Arizona. We had just spent days developing our leadership skills through working with horses.

On the last day I was rushed and needed to drive to Phoenix for my flight back to Vancouver, BC. I jumped in my rental car and roared down the dusty dirt road only to slam on the breaks halfway down the driveway. Without a thought, I turned back and drove straight towards the black stallion, Merlin’s corral. This is the black stallion Midnight Merlin featured in Linda’s books, The Taos of Equus, Riding Between the Worlds, and later in The Power of the Herd.

He stood there watching me as though he was actually waiting for me. I walked over, gave him a pat on his thick neck, and then just stood there with him. My mind was empty and calm. I had no idea why I was there but it felt right. I closed my eyes and felt a jolt of energy travel through my body. It was a feeling of aliveness that I sometimes feel numb to. I opened my eyes and stared into Merlin’s eyes. He was the teacher and I was the student.

One simple message presented itself to me: You matter.

I saw Merlin through images in my mind’s eye of his life and struggles with humans. It made me realize that he always knew that he mattered and that even in dire circumstances he held that belief. He knew he had a special something to share with the world even though there were times in his life that no one believed that he mattered at all.

He blinked. I sighed. I knew I had to leave. I grabbed my camera and took these photos of Merlin:

I kissed him on the muzzle and felt a pang of sadness as I left. Merlin and I shared space that is rarely acknowledged in our modern world. The space that is between the thoughts that is clear, vast, and profound.

About a week after I spent those precious moments with Merlin, he died.

I can remember the shock and sadness I felt at the news but I knew that his life did matter and his influence opened up new worlds to those who were able to listen.

After all these years, Merlin visited me in a dream a few weeks ago. I felt that I needed to give a concrete voice to the dream through artwork and sharing my story.

This artwork is my soulful thanks to Midnight Merlin and to Linda Kohanvo for listening to horses and giving us new ways to open our hearts and souls to other worlds.

I’ll walk you through some key elements in this painting.

I love the idea of a night painting but it’s hard to have a black horse with a dark background without the horse getting lost. I knew that his amazing eyes had to be a focal point with lots of shine. I really hope you can see this! Under his chin there is figure that has the plume of a feather coming out of his head.

At first I thought this figure was a court jester but that didn’t seem right. I feel that he is a warrior with a feather in his cap. There are many mythological stories with feathers being placed in a headdress or cap. This represents the warrior that Merlin was. Plus, I added a little white line near his eye to enhance his tribal look.

I added the birds on the branches as I felt that even though they are perched, they’re still ready to fly away at a moments notice. The impermanent of life is always before us. The full Moon has many meanings in different cultures but to me here it means wholeness and strength in the circle of life.

 

If you look closely at the top left, you’ll see the outline of butterflies. This is symbolizes our capability for transformation. Merlin embodied this in his life and was able to guide the transformation of others.

Above his head is a white cloud that to me looks like a horse whinnying. Do you see it?

It’s a little abstract.

 

 

 

 

The upper right is the Milky Way to show his connection to the otherworld.

What a Lippizzan!

When I first saw this photo, I knew I was in love with this Lipizzan stallion. I mean…what a looker! Plus his owner Sarah is an accomplished horsewoman and trainer.

 

I admit I was a little jealous looking at this photo and thought what a wonderful life M&M must have had since he was a little foal!

Boy oh boy was I living in my filter bubble. Seems like when I see incredible photos online, I assume that all is well in the course of that horse’s life. A total assumption on my part.

As I talked to Sarah about M&M, I was horrified to learn that he was kept in atrocious conditions until he was around 2 years old. He was part of a terrible case of large numbers of horse being neglected. Sarah adopted 67 of the horses.

Many of which had been locked inside a barn for years. It was hard for me to take it all in. The time, commitment, and resources it would take to care for all these horses was a huge undertaking. I was amazed that Sarah was able to do it!

Even though that event happened nine years ago, I could still hear the emotion in Sarah’s voice during our interview. This act of compassion and duty to those in distress is true courage.

Now on to M&M’s portrait…

When I began his portrait, I had no idea of the background story. From him, I felt a sense of red-hot fire! I knew I had to have a red background behind him.

On the left side of his cheekbone, there is a mountain range and an idyllic pasture. See if you can find it. To me this seems like M&M’s calm ‘in the zone’ side of his being. The colors that turn and go up towards his ear represent his alertness. When I stood back and looked at the linear brush strokes on his face, they reminded me of armor.

I loved the idea of the colors looking painted on the amour. I thought of war paint but I found that wasn’t exactly right. More like the layers to his personality and what he decides to show the world. On his neck the red/yellow combine and twist around into the more pink/purple tones. This shows that the fire is part of him but it doesn’t consume him.