I have always paid special attention to shadows, reflections, and hidden images… and I believe these elements of an image can reveal a subtle truth that reveals itself when the viewer is ready to receive their own unique message.
A friend began calling us “Clan Longshadow” after I sent her some photos of us in our field in the morning sun. I love looking back at this photo and glimpsing a moment in time. Since we aren’t shown in the photo other than in our shadows, it takes us out of who we were or how we looked, and reminds us to focus on nature and the experience of being with our animal herd.
“Shadow of a Dream”
“The love of horses knows not its own depth ‘ til the hour of separation.”
~ Author Unknown
Years ago I was inspired to paint “Shadow of a Dream” when I met a woman who wanted to commission me to paint her horse. I was drawn to a photograph she had taken that showed her shadow overlapping his in the snow. Later, when he passed away, she felt that her shadow in the snow represented their continued deep connection in spirit.
“Suspension… tension… a looming shadow suggests impending action… the stroke.”
This painting was inspired by a photograph I saw of a polo match. The photo was focused on the entire rider and horse, but my eye was drawn to the amazing shadow showing the movement and potential stroke of the mallet.
“Moment of Glory”
“His spirit shone from the tattered photo, a memory of a being full of life. I sought to transport him from his mundane paddock Into the center stage where all could experience his beauty”
~ Kim McElroy
One day I met an old cowboy at an Indian reservation near Albuquerque. When he discovered I was an equine artist, he retrieved from his wallet a tattered photo of a beautiful Arabian horse. The horse had belonged to a friend of his years ago, he said, and he always thought he was beautiful. It was amazing to me that he had carried it with him. I was struck by the beautiful pose of the horse, and the perfect shadow cast on the ground. He handed it to me and asked me to keep it, willing to let it got then, as if he could pass along the memory now to someone like me who could honor it. So I painted the young stallion in all his glory as if he had been a famous celebrity, as he deserved to be.
“He dipped his head and snorted at us. And then he had to bolt. We heard the miniature thunder where he fled; and we saw him, or thought we saw him, dim and gray, like a shadow.”
~ Robert Frost
When I saw this photograph of my favorite model, the Arabian Stallion Destiny’s Avenger, I knew I had to paint it. It seemed to me he was dancing with his shadow, like the vision of watching Fred Estaire in some movie from my childhood. I envisioned transforming his environment from a dirt pipe corral in the suburban sun, to the wild desert in the moonlight.
From the beginning, the creation of “Shadow Dancer” was a magical experience. Once in a while, a painting just slides onto the paper, as if it has always been waiting to happen. The result was somehow pure, without complication… the essence of the Arabian horse. So sure of himself and of his beauty, he dances with his shadow in the moonlight, in a unique vision of self-expression.
“To see the world in a grain of sand
And heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.”
~ William Blake
This painting was inspired by a gentle mare at a dude ranch that protected me from a herd of overeager 2-year-old colts. I had blithely wandered into their paddock and they thought I was the person who delivered grain and they were vying for a position near me – threatening to kick each other. I was new to horses and had no idea how to create space for myself. I backed
into some bushes and one horse chased the others away and then came closer. I realized she was the babysitter and lead mare. She looked at me tenderly and obviously understood I needed help. It was probably the first experience I had ever had of a horse offering me comfort. I photographed her beautiful serene face and vowed to paint her someday. I still have her original painting, framed in a shadowbox with a branch that mimics the effect of that magical time.