was created as a self portrait.
When growing up, I often thought of myself as this amazing, ethereal animal, soaring
in the sky. When I was in the cloak of Spirits mask, I felt empowered,
I began seeing Spirit when I was about 12 years old. He was proudly
muscular, with a thick, arched neck, and a mane and tail so full and
wavy, that groups of hair up to 3 inches across would flow as one.
His mane would caress the tops of his legs, and his tail was so long
that it could only remain off the ground with the help of the wind
behind him. I would picture him in a lush and green mountain side,
a strong and free Spirit, a ruler of the land around him. At this
time, he was a simply powerful horse, realistic in form, though mystical
in spirit. I have always thought of him as that mystical, spiritual
being. Eventually, his dominant characteristic became his calling
My very first painting was of Spirit, and at that time, my sophomore
year in high school, he was a glowing Pegasus. His wings bowed upward
with the pressure of his weight against the wind. I fell in love with
the feeling of painting the moment my brush stroked the canvas for
the first time. Creating a painting is a sensual experience. The canvas
gently bows under the pressure of softly bending bristles full of
glistening paint. The colors randomly fill in, and slowly, the forms
begin to emerge. Magic happens.
I was so proud of that painting when I finished. I had carefully outlined
Spirits form with rings of glowing white, each one softly becoming
a shade darker, until they faded completely into the midnight blue
background behind him. A dark orange moon cradled his shoulder, with
Spirits wing softly responding to his circular form as he swooped
beneath it. I gently placed the painting on top of the cabinets in
our high school art room, randomly placed among about 20 others that
surrounded the room, just under the ceiling.
Unfortunately, after a couple of days in the classroom, the painting
disappeared. I havent seen it since. My heart was broken, and
in a way, it still is... In my senior year, my anger over Spirits
disappearance was portrayed in his second painting. This painting
was much larger, measuring 4 feet tall by 9 feet
wide. Spirit had shifted course in this painting, and was flying directly
toward the viewer. Anger filled his eyes, and the deep orange moon
in the background had turned dark red.
I went off to college the summer after doing that painting, and left
the painting with my high school art instructor. It was to be hung
somewhere in the school building. I put horses in the back of my mind
while at college, with the thought of Industrial Design, and particularly,
automotive design, becoming my all consuming life. After my first
two years in art school, and not finding my calling, I finally realized
my true self.
I quit school for a year and begged for a job taking care of horses.
Though I had no prior experience with horses, I was eventually given
a job at the Bloomfield Open Hunt Club as a groom. I had appeared
for a second time, at the right time. A groom was needed, and I was
accepted on a trial basis. The pay to start, was $5.50 an hour, but
I earned more at that job than at any other job I have ever had. Earnings
in the form of time with the horses, learning their form, feeling
their presence and having a heart full of the pleasure of pure and
honest work, gave me more than any monetary value ever could.
After a thorough year of experiencing the world of horses first hand, I knew I had to return to school so I could one day afford to have a horse of my own.
I eventually switched majors from Industrial Design, to Illustration, and at times, had the opportunity to paint horses for my assignments. At that time, during college, I had learned to use photo reference for my drawings and all of my paintings of horses
were created using photos. I attended events whenever I could so I could collect reference, and I had an endless supply
of paintings that wanted to be painted, and horses that wanted to
After graduating, I was free and had thoughts of doing equine artwork
professionally. I had joined the Michigan Equine Artists group,
and participated in renting a booth at the Novi Horse Show Spectacular
in Novi, MI in November of 2000. For the show, I decided to do a large
and spectacular depiction of a dressage horse. I wanted a dramatic
proportion to the painting, and settled on a 2 foot tall by 7 foot
wide canvas. I had chosen the photograph that I wanted to use for
reference, and after preparing the canvas, I stood in front of it
with a stick of charcoal to sketch out the painting.
I felt a sense of reserve for a few moments, while holding this photograph
in my left hand. But I promptly began sketching the new painting.
After sketching for a while, I didnt like it, and quickly smeared
it away with my chamois. The movements with the chamois felt soothing,
and a new form was created. I set the chamois down, and started sketching
again with the charcoal. A gently arched head and neck appeared, flowing
down along the canvas to the right. A gracefully powerful left leg
lifted itself into view toward the left, and Spirit was born again.
I didnt know that I was going to paint Spirit then, and was
surprised to see him. I had never forgotten about him, but had just
placed him on the backburner of my mind for more than 7 years.
I was so elated when I painted him, for I had reclaimed a piece of myself. I was that very horse I had shelved for so long, and for me, the painting embodied a power of Spirit - of personal growth. I felt it represented me as I was growing in this lifetime. And for the next couple of years after, I continued to see it this way. That is, until I realized how we are all one, and we are all rising in consciousness on this planet. I had this realization that Spirit Rising was about more than ME - it was about US - about humanity, as we rise in our evolution!
Years later, in 2005, Spirit emerged again, this time, in a triptych. Three horses rising, fully in the sky. Again, I was overjoyed. Like no other experience I have ever felt, I was blessed, and euphoric, to channel this message from the horses. They are showing us who we are, and that we are all rising! This series of the Spirit horses has been my ever loving joy to share with all, and I know for so many, it touches you deeply. Thank you so much for witnessing the beauty of these messages. I am here for you. I paint for you. I give thanks for you, and to all the beautiful horses. They are an inspiration for my life and my continued Rising in this consciousness.
I hope the same is true for you.