As a few of my faithful readers are aware, my very good friend Linda's horse Shorty has been diagnosed with cancer and given six months to a year to live. Being quite heartbroken by the news, and feeling horrible for my friend, I got to thinking.....
I had found Karen McLain's blog a while ago and had contacted her regarding pricing and information in order to find out about getting an oil painting done of my horse Jackson. Since I always seem to have other things come up monetarily, that had been put onto the back burner for awhile. After Shorty's diagnosis and with Christmas coming, the wheels in my head started to turn. Wouldn't it be great if....
So I contacted Karen once again and explained the situation with Shorty, and that I would like to commission one of her oil paintings for Linda to have to commemorate their life together. I was having computer issues at the time so I went to a friend's house and shot her an e-mail to please call me. She called me back the very same day and we went from there. The whole experience was wonderful and Karen was a superb communicator throughout the whole experience.
Karen wanted to know everything about Shorty. From personality, age, to what disciplines he has been ridden; there wasn't much she didn't end up knowing about him without actually getting to meet him herself.
I told Linda about the gift. Why not keep it a surprise you ask? I thought long and hard. If my horse had cancer and someone was having a painting done for me, I would want to pick the details out myself. Did she want to be in the picture? Would she want a close up or him running in the field? Halter or no halter? After her partnership with him of sixteen years, there were things I needed and wanted to know so that the finished product would be special. Although I love Shorty too, I have only known him for two years and he is not my horse. I wanted a masterpiece, and in order to make that happen she had to know. She told me that it didn't really hit her until a few hours after I had told her, and then she cried.
Last evening I was finally able to see her face as the letter from Karen was read to her (she tried to read it out loud herself, but....tears...), and she saw the painting for the first time. I had already looked at the painting and read the letter, and I CRIED when I saw such a perfect rendering of Shorty. Even though I had very carefully looked at Karen's paintings on her blog, you worry when giving a gift that is so important. That your expectations won't be met. That the horse you know won't be the one in the painting. I need not have worried. As soon as I saw it I gave a HUGE shout, "She got him! She captured him perfectly!" And Linda thought so too. His soul shines through; this is not a generic horse painting. She had also seen Karen's work on her blog, but she commented, "This is her best yet!" Of course it is... :). I wish I had captured it all on video. Her face was a Christmas gift to me. She got a bit teary, but her best friend Lorri was sitting across from us wiping her eyes copiously for all three of us.
Thank you Karen. Your painting was a beautiful way to thank my friend for all she does for me and Jackson, show her how much I love her, and to thank Shorty for being the amazing horse that he is. Folks, you will not regret a painting from this amazing artist!