Monday, January 31, 2011


"She Speaks Through Me"

Many of you have met Sherri Anderson. Responding to my call for help, Sherri was here this summer to help us unload and stack donated hay bales. And Sherri has attended our Gala. Many of you will connect to Sherri, however, as the artist. The woman who created the vase of Laddee that was in this year's Gala Silent Auction. Or the woman who works with glass. Or the woman who is a part of the Fall Artist's Tour. And who creates a special piece of her art to raffle for Refuge Farms during that tour. Spreading the word. Understanding the heart of us. And the horses.

Sherri has created a blog for us. You might remember that she is a Parelli student. And a spiritual person. She is tiny but huge in heart. And I am ever so grateful for her presence in my life. It was a calendar . . a Refuge Farms calendar that brought her to us several years ago. How she found the calendar? I think it was a spot on a news program. Honestly, I cannot remember that detail, but I am grateful just the same.

The two of us have spoken of Laddee for a long time now. When she first arrived. As she went through her surgery. During her period of "blooming". And then after her crossing. Just a few days ago, I emailed Sherri. Said that Laddee had been close to me for a while now. And, surprisingly, that her presence had not brought the grief and the tears that I had expected. But instead, her presence had brought a sense of calm and peace. I was leaning on her as I tried my best to close 2010 and the struggles and losses of that year. And as I battled the cold and the fears of the severe temperatures.

I asked Sherri if she would consider creating a piece to adorn Laddee's Memory Bed. Something that reflected her lovely side. Something that had some pink in it. And maybe a rose or two. Something that was soft and loving and comical and warm and gentle. Something to place on her and that would create a smile.

My email was created so as to not create too much pressure. Hah! My mind has a picture of this Memory Bed for this girl. A water fountain. Roses. Star gazers. More roses. Pink apple trees. And this piece of art. How would Sherri respond? Was she busy with commission work? Preparing for another show? Busy with her own life? And healing after her own loss of their dear Helga?

I needn't have worried. Her email came back to me with a willing "yes". She would work on something to adorn Laddee. It was cold outside and this was the time of the year she enjoyed spending in her studio most. She would "do something" and then let me see what I thought.

Only a day or two later, I heard from Sherri again. And email with the subject line, "She speaks through me". I knew exactly what that title meant and was joyful to open the email and learn that Sherri had spent time creating Laddee. My tears ran freely as I saw her sketches. Oh, my! It was Laddee! It was her! Standing on that wall looking out at me! Sherri even said, "This is almost life-size in my studio and I'm enjoying having M'Laddee around!"

I had no idea what Sherri would create. Would it be a piece of glass with colorful shapes? Would it be a prism-like piece? Would it be something with wings? I had no idea. But what I saw was her. It was Laddee. Sherri had spent time with her that day and this was the result of her initial sketches.

Her email told me that she was going to blog about the experience on her blog. She felt the experience was "blog worthy". And so I watched for that blog and read how she had felt as she created her art. It is that blog - complete with the sketches - that I now share with you. (

What will adorn Laddee's Memory Bed? I'm not sure yet. And I don't care. You see, I trust Sherri. I trust her talent and her heart. She knows my heart and my love of this mare. And she will create what it is that my heart needs to say. I know that. And I am resting knowing that whatever Sherri's creation becomes, it will be what it is that my heart struggles so to express. Sherri knows. And I know, too, that Laddee is guiding her.

Thank you, Sherri. I am beyond thrilled. I am grateful for you. Again. Still. A piece is in place in my inner self knowing that Laddee will be as beautiful after as she was during. Bless your talented, knowing, and giving heart.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Creative Process at Work

It's my favorite time of year for working in the shop. Too cold to do much else!

I got an email from my friend, Sandy, at Refuge Farms. She would like some art to commemorate her dear Laddee who passed last fall. Laddee was a special lady, indeed! (As is Sandy!) We had talked about having something made in her image months ago and it has been in my mind-- settin' to gellin'! I had been thinking about Laddee a lot before Sandy's call and when I told her we were thinking similar thoughts, she set me straight---Laddee is the one sending these thoughts! OK, I can work with that!

Laddee, the big Belgian mare used to like to threaten people with death if they got close. She lived a life we would only dream of forgetting. But through her life others have learned to live.

So the drawing began. I took out a big sheet of newsprint and vine charcoal to lightly sketch out the form. I had been thinking of how to do this for a long time and the drawing came easy once it was time to put the lines on paper. I tend to draw big and this time was no exception.

The drawing above was the first draft. Then I got to thinking about the rose feature and decided I didn't know how to draw a decent rose, so after some research, I printed out a rose to replace my weak one.

So the bed of roses is more meaningful to me as a way to portray her as a Lady, and one who deserves roses--pink ones at that, since she really was full of love. She just had to experience it from Sandy first.

Now with that in place I am inspired! So much so that I am rethinking the whole design. I think this sketch is a work in itself, but I went on to add another feature.

I have added an eye clipped out of a magazine. The imagery is gaining momentum in the sense of her story. The rose over her right eye is to symbolize the tumor that was removed from that socket. Her left eye was also blinded but in this image her sight has been restored to reflect her stored strengths on the other side.

I have many ideas of how to proceed with this image.....and it might take several versions in varying styles to satisfy my desire to make it right. It could be an oil, a pastel. I would love to try a watercolor. If I knew what I was doing, a computerized collage could be cool, too. But at this point, I'm still committed to a solid drawing.

I get a lot of ideas from my subconscious before sleep and before I wake up and from what I have been given so far I am inspired to.....get to bed!

Enjoy the journey of each and every day,
Sandy and The Herd and Sherri's M'Laddee!

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