“Listen for me in the star’s song
When you are still enough to feel my soft presence
Fall into the deep night of my eyes
And remember the experiences we shared
In our soul’s own time
We will walk together again
Among moonbeams and stardust
There is much to share…”
~ Kim McElroy
I was inspired by Marina’s deep love for her special dog Montana. Though at first it seemed there were limitations to the choices of photos to use for her portrait, I have learned to trust that I can work with what is provided. The photos gave me clues, but having never met Montana, my challenge as an artist was to look beyond the starkness of the flash photo, and recall in each stroke of pastel the softness of what her fur looked and felt like, the joy of her dog’s smile, and the depth of her soulful eyes.
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I had the great pleasure of meeting Kim McElroy several years ago, after being a fan of her work for a long time. She immediately impressed me with how friendly she was, and easy to talk to. A few years after that, as I was considering hiring Kim to do a portrait of my horse, my dog Montana (my soul sister) passed away. It just so happened that at the time of Montana’s death, I was in the midst of planning a visit to Kim’s farm.
Meeting with Kim and Rod after going through such a difficult time was incredibly healing. Kim’s ease and genuine concern made it possible for me to open up to her about the depth of my relationship with Montana, and this led me to realize that the portrait I really needed to commission was of her, not of my horse.
Kim’s process of obtaining information about Montana allowed me to process a lot of my own feelings, and share with her more than just pictures of my beloved friend. Kim certainly knew what questions to ask and how to gain information about Montana’s personality, so that she could provide a more accurate portrait.
After submitting the photos that I had, I realized what a tough task we had set for Kim. We had very few photos with anything close to an ideal pose, or even ideal lighting, etc. I trusted Kim’s sense as an artist, as she chose a picture with a pose that I wasn’t entirely sure about. Kim asked if she could surprise me with the background, to which I readily agreed.
I can say, the resulting portrait is absolutely stunning. When I saw it for the first time, it was like Montana was right there in the room. My husband and I were speechless, we just couldn’t believe that Kim captured her so completely with so little to go on. After showing the portrait to friends and family, no one could believe that Kim had never met Montana before. In fact, through much of the process, Kim didn’t even have a good sense of Montana’s size! This should speak to her incredible talents.
The background was perfect, somehow Kim tapped into how I see Montana’s spirit now, up in the stars. And the pose is fantastic as well – if you saw the photo it came from, you would be amazed.
I heartily recommend Kim McElroy as a portrait artist, and I would without hesitation commission her to do another portrait again. I found the entire process to be excellent. Kim is not only a wonderful artist, but she is a wonderful person as well.
I would also like to note that, after having the portrait in our home for a few days, I had a very powerful dream about Montana, in which I felt her presence come back home. Thank you Kim, for helping me to find her again.