Art By Shalley

Using Art to Heal

Inner Strength

Below is a description of the process I used to paint the above painting.

                                         Background information provided by client:
    "My love for this animal really began with a dream a couple of years ago. I dreamt of a black stallion. He was not very big, and a bit shaggy. His mane and tail are long and he has dark, sparkly eyes. He is running, gamboling really, on an open plain, with Western looking mountains in the far distance behind him. As he ran, he tossed his head and swished his tail, and he laughed out loud. He exuded strength and independence and daring and joy at his freedom. When his hooves hit the ground, little bubbles rose from the grass, and when they bursts sounds like the laughter oif babies or small children came from them.
    It was his attitude--fiercly independent, free spiritied, strong willed, daring, courageous and his motion that attracted me. Sometimes in my dreams he gallops at high speed toward me and then comes to a quick halt just before he reaches me. He sort of paws the ground, looking at me consideringly as though trying to decide if he should come closer, but then he laughs and gallops away again. It's as though he wants to be touched but is hesitant at the same time. It's as if there is an innocence, a vulnerability about him, that he carefully protects. I guess he is, after all, wild. He is the wind, the mountains, the sky."

                                                                Artist's process:  
    Sometime prior to the week of September 15, 2008, I become aware that the energy of the presence of the Black Stallion had joined me. On 9-17-08 I re-read the background information sent by the client.
    Around 2:00 a.m. on 9-20-08 I begin painting the background, painting a light to medium sky blue color over the entire canvas. I go back to bed and dream: "two guys tell me to add a color to the painting. I or they do this, but it doesn't give the effect deisred. I tell them to show this to the guy who told them and say "it's too heavy." They then show me how to remove the effect. They put the brush into this circular contraption and twist. The color comes out, but doesn't disturb the background's original color."
    That evening I continue painting the background as instructed in the original dream (see Home Page). I do the first meditation/shamanic journey. I meet the Black Stallion. I see him grazing on a grassy plain. He looks up and notices me but continues grazing. I approach Black Stallion and attempt to enegage him in conversation, explaining that I have come to visit him on behalf of PG. He looks at me but says nothing. He continues to graze. I just stand with him while he grazes, honoring his space. He doesn't seem disturbed that I am there.
    On 9-21-08 I continue painting the background. I start around the color pallet from the blues moving toward the earth colors, adding various colors. Interestingly (in light of the dream above) when I add the color Red Oxide I immediately get a negative response. It is like my body is pushed backwards by a force. I certainly didn't like the effect of the red oxide and so I removed it. I then completed the background.
    During these days I viewed hundreds of images of the Black Stallion in various settings and postures. Then on 9-21--08 I receive an image from the client that she had found that she felt captured the attitude of the Black Stallion that she had seen in her dream. She states that she doesn't want me to copy the image but just sent it to show the attitude. I then surround my easel with the image of this Black Stallion and several others.
    The background is complete. I begin to stare into the background and then I see the image of the Black Stallion and begin to block it in. Surrounded by the images of Black Stallion and the client's descriptions and the image of my shamanic journey I continue to paint Black Stallion over the next several days, little by little letting him emerge as wanted. On 9-30-08 his presence was complete.
    I then did another journey to see if there was a message or anything Black Stallion might want to say or imply. In this journey, I found the Black Stallion once again grazing on the plain with tall mountains behind him. This time as I viewed the scene, I notice a woman standing in the field, looking at Black Stallion. (Reminds me of a horse whisperer.) As I watch, Black Stallion slowly takes a step toward the woman. As he takes a step toward her, she also takes a step toward him. Slowly they approach each other until they are standing face to face. Without saying a word the woman embraces the neck of Black Stallion. He shivers slightly but doesn't attempt to move. They stand there embracing. The scene is quite powerful. No words are spoken. From my reading and research on the horse, the Black Stallion, and horse medicine we agree to call this painting "Inner Strength."






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