In the Looking Glass

There are many elements to my nature
The yin and the yang in balance.
I walk with my spirit beside me
Reflecting me–guiding me–
In spirit we are closer than touch
Yet I may not always appear thus
If you are still, you will feel my presence
In the wake of the butterfly’s wings.

~ Kim McElroy

I am often asked to paint horses that have crossed over. In the case of Marissa, her time on this earth was short, and her time with her person, Grace, was even shorter, yet time is relative – for her presence in Grace’s life was profound, and her departure also had its own lessons.Grace shared with me that one of her most special memories was riding through a field with Marissa and being surrounded by Viceroy butterflies. After Marissa’s death, friends saw a butterfly in her empty stall. Then later when Grace stood grieving at Marissa’s graveside–a butterfly appeared there and seemed to beckon her. Grace felt that the butterfly was directing her away from the grave, and her sadness was somewhat lifted by the timely appearance of the beautiful guide.In painting Marissa’s portrait, I sought to find something unique from the few photos that Grace had taken. In one photo, I was struck by the juxtaposition of the image of Marissa in a mirror. This unique photo provided the opportunity, not only to show both sides of Marissa and her beautiful markings, but also to share the message Grace felt the photo captured. She said, “it feels like she is walking with her own spirit”. Grace had titled the photo “In the Looking Glass”. This title, like Alice in Wonderland, was reminiscent of the other realms that seem to exist beyond our own. The butterfly–a powerful symbol of transformation and rebirth–completes the message of hope and trust in Universal wisdom.

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Grace’s comments:
Kim’s painting of Marissa means so much to me. Her painting of my mare is very accurate and has beautiful detail.  I lost Marissa in 2005 to colic. The feeling of loss was devastating and I was heart-broken. I look at this painting every day and now I feel that Marissa is not so far away. The reassurance that the portrait provides is somewhat indescribable. Kim is an amazing artist and is able to capture the essence of the horse. Marissa was such a sweet mare, with a kind eye and willing disposition. Kim is able to depict those qualities in her work. She painted Marissa looking back at me with her soft eye and her mirror image looking forward into the freedom of infinity. This is a depiction of Marissa going happily forward into the beyond with no regrets or earth-bond worries, an image that is quite healing to me.
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