Updated: Jun 21
Everlasting Shades of Amber
“When fiery youth and life is brief, questions and sadness remain. Yet in another realm, his spirit bids us To dance with tigers, and gallop joyfully into the unknown To keep our hearts open, despite the pain Know that love always is, and will come again.”
~ Kim McElroy
When a death is sudden there seems to be no reason, no meaning. The void is difficult to fill. Such was the case with the story of Shades. This beautiful young horse, who had known only loving care, left the earth suddenly and tragically just as he was beginning life with his new owners. He was young and strong and healthy, so the loss was unfathomable.
Mitzi and Lisa felt compelled to contact me to ask me to paint his beautiful spirit, to try to grasp the loss and to honor the love.
In meditating with Shade’s spirit, I had a vision of him playing in water accompanied by... a tiger! They romped and rolled in complete and utter joy. At first, I hesitated to suggest that I include a tiger in his portrait, but my experience of envisioning such an unlikely alliance was incredibly beautiful and powerful, and I felt there must be a reason why this vision had been shown to me. Mitzi and Lisa agreed the theme was unexpected, but they felt comforted by the thought of his spirit expressing such joy and asked me to proceed.
In composing the portrait, I found a perfect reference to a tiger running in water. I smiled when I realized what you'd think would have been immediately apparent, that the tiger mirrored Shades’ striking coloring.
Upon seeing the portrait, Mitzi and Lisa realized it was confirmation that Shade's was conveying a message of their spiritual connection. They revealed that the main feature of their property was a beautiful pond and that Shades was unusually attracted to water. So much so, that when ridden in the shallows he was inclined to want to roll. It hadn't occurred to them to note this synchronicity until they saw the artwork, for their pond looked exactly, in the watery colors and grassy curves, like the pond I painted.
The symbolism of tigers is vast and has differing interpretations. Water has many meanings as well. One thing is for certain. I have learned to trust that when something unexpected appears, especially in the presence of horses, there is a reason for it.