“Valkyrjan ~ of the Galdramerar”
Four Significant Winter Nights
I was contacted by Mali Klein (writing as Gabriel J. Klein in partnership with her son, Gabriel Stroud) who was in the process of writing her third book of the series: ‘Four Significant Winter Nights’. She was ‘looking for an equine artist whose talents include the ability to interpret the combination of breed bloodlines as outlined in the series + the necessary ‘magic’ to manifest the narrative descriptions of Valkyrjan, the greatest of the Galdramerar, the legendary grey mares favoured by the Valkyrs’.
This first work of art is a character study for what will later be created as the book cover for “Third Night”.
She described Valkyrjan as ‘huge, the combination of her bulk and majestic beauty are staggering, even breathtaking when anyone first sees her. Every muscle is defined under a smooth and glowing, silver-white coat. She has the grace of a mare in the body of a battle stallion…’
I read Mali’s books ‘First Night ~ The Gift and the Sacrifice’ and ‘Second Night ~ The Spear’. The stories drew me into vivid imageries of this world, and others. The characters seemed real and I met Valkyrjan and her kin, the Galdramerar, described at one point in the book: ‘By tradition, the Galdramerar are the ‘night mares’, the mythical horses that bear us beyond the limitations of the physical world we are familiar with during our waking hours… When we ride the Galdramerar in our dreams, we cross the obstacle of time and enter the dimensions where everything is possible, you might say where everything is real.’
As I read the stories, images of Valkyrjan began to appear in the threshold of my dreams. I envisioned her appearing out of the darkness and taking form. Then I went about composing pastel to paper to depict a mythical horse who is as real as flesh and blood, a spirit born of legend and emerging onto the paper. It was an artistic challenge that stretched what I knew of my skills and intuition.
Mali is better known for the Snow & Klein ‘Essiac’ book series but horses are in her blood and the Old Norse Rune Poems have been a passion for more than half of her life. She says: “Working with Kim was magical. We were immediately on the same wavelength visualizing the Galdramerar, combining her creativity with pastel and mine with words. The result is everything I hoped for and more, truly breathtaking. Wow!”
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Commissioned directly from Kim McElroy
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