Integrity

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She is quiet, clear, intention

She can be calm, yet fiery

She can be graceful and explosive

In her delicacy, she is strong

In her complexity, she is honest

She connects on her own terms

My wish is to be worthy of her.

 
 
~ Kim McElroy 
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Reference photo for "Integrity" commissioned art portrait 

This painting features two beautiful and rare creations of nature. A horse named Vixen, and a waterfall called Horsetail Falls. I chose the theme of Horsetail Falls was because when I was commissioned by Suzanne to paint her horse Vixen – a rescued elder mare, I discovered she had a unique temperament. When I photographed Vixen at liberty in an arena several times over the course of a few years, she only rarely looked at me, so out of the hundreds of photos I got of her, only a few were of her connecting eye to eye with me.  When I commented on this to her owner, Suzanne said “yes – Vixen only connects with me eye to eye occasionally and when she does it is always a profound moment”.  

When I meditated with Vixen’s spirit for her portrait, I saw a waterfall, and that was all.  This was in contrast to Suzanne’s other two horses who had a lot of symbolic visions to express for their portraits.  After looking at hundreds of stock photos of all types of waterfalls, none of which were the right feeling, I googled the term “Horse Falls” just to see what would come up, and Horsetail Falls was what appeared.  When I read that this falls  is an event that only happens for a couple weeks in February, only if the conditions are right, only if there is enough snow pack that year that melts in time, and only lights up only if there are no clouds during sunset… then I knew this was the perfect combination to depict Vixen’s elusive spirit. The photograph of Horsetail Falls that I used as a reference was used with generous permission granted from photographer Frank Leonard.

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Reference photo "Horsetail Falls” by Frank Leonard

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