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When Art Imitates Life

or Vice Versa


Rhythm of hoof beats Whisper of wings Freedom fills your souls. Fire horse… swift and bold Air eagle… intent and graceful Impart your strength, Show us your courage To rise about earthbound doubts Spirits take flight, and carry us To the plains and the skies Of possibility ~ Kim McElroy


One aspect of being a creative person, is to wonder about life and what it all means, and then have the desire to put it into a tangible form and share it with others. I have always found that when I am able to express a feeling or experience in my art, not only do I receive more clarity about it but it resonates with others about their own experiences.


"Spirits Take Flight" was the second piece in my Kindred Spirits Series depicting horses and wild beings as one. I had been considering doing a work of art of an eagle and a horse for some time, but this work of art was soon to become more than a creative challenge, it was going to become an aspect of the guidance I needed to change my life.


At the time I was considering moving into a new life, one that involved leaving behind what was familiar, and disappointing a loved one. It was a time of challenge, heartbreak, and empowerment. I needed all the help I could get.


I had made the decision to move out of my mom's home. I was very close with my mother. After my parents divorced when I was fourteen, my mom sold our elegant family home in Long Beach, California, which had been built by my great aunt in the 1930's. Mom had lived there as Auntie Florence's companion, and when she passed mom inherited the home, raising a family and living there for over 30 years.


Leaving our home in Long Beach, California was a huge change for both of us. We moved to Bainbridge Island, Washington to start a new life. After high school, I didn't leave home like most young adults. My art college was just a half hour away, so I lived at home, and when I graduated, my mother and I immediately went into business together with my art. It was a perfect arrangement. She was my best friend and my greatest ally. I was her dedicated daughter. Our business gave her a purpose that suited her love of working with people.


Eight years later I realized it was time to live independently. But my mother had a deep seated fear of being alone. Even though I was just moving a few miles away, she felt I was abandoning her. I struggled to reconcile my decision with her heartbreak. In time, I realized I couldn't put off the decision any longer. It was time to leave the nest.


I found a beautiful little apartment with a view of the water, and moved my art studio to a rented room at a friend's home. At the time I was creating "Spirits Take Flight". I thought I was creating the art for others. I didn't realize there was a reason I was painting it at that time for myself too. But the art knew, and my heart knew, and the spirits of the eagle and the horse knew I wanted to run and spread my wings and take flight, and leave behind my earthbound doubts.

It was exciting to be alone in a new apartment of my own. One morning in those first days, I gazed out the window at the beautiful water view, and I saw the shape of a large bird of prey alight on the fir tree at the corner of the property. I got my binoculars out and I was amazed to see an eagle perched on the large branch in a precarious and unusually low position just over the road below. With her brown coloring I thought she looked like the golden eagle I was creating in my painting. But I knew golden eagles don't live in Washington state. Actually, she was a juvenile bald eagle. A young eagle starting her own life in the world, just like me.


I grabbed my camera, thank


ful that I had a telephoto lens, and walked outside to admire her. The significance of her appearance was very apparent. Here she was at my new apartment, showing me that I had made the right choices. This place I had chosen for my new nest was now blessed, and I felt a glimmer of hope that my wings could carry me into a new life.


The eagle on the tree outside my new apartment


These revelations infused the art I was creating with even more power. Now it was more than a work of art, it was a confirmation of my life's path.


"Spirits Take Flight" expresses the unique aspects of two totem animals that symbolically represent freedom. Horses provided mankind with the four legged power to carry their riders to new horizons. Eagles soar from on high, offering a new perspective. In the Koran, great horses have the power of flight without wings.





When I look at Spirits Take Flight in my personal collection, I remember the time when I had to take a leap of faith, and it reminds me that when I am seeking answers, all I have to do is keep looking inward, go outward, and look upward.


“At the moment of commitment the entire universe conspires to assist you.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


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"Spirits Take Flight" is still my favorite Kim, and so glad that I had your permission to be able to use for so long as my business logo.

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