Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dark Rider 2011

This past April, a good friend of ours was mowing his lawn, getting ready for a family get together with his wife, and three of his four grown children.  It was a beautiful day, sunny without being too hot.  He came inside, complained of some pain in his shoulder to his wife, got a drink of water, then went back out, started to mow again and dropped dead. 

I did this painting the afternoon of the day we found out that our friend had died. It's about his death,  that Dark Rider that shows up to escort us to the other side, whatever that is.  The crows underfoot, supporting the horse and rider.  The sky, dark and swirling with small bits of yellow shining through.  The rider, calm but stern, the horse with his large, kind, human eye.

I've since wondered what our friend's last thoughts were: were they about a pesky section of grass that kept popping up as he was mowing, or was he thinking about his life, his family, perhaps what they were going to have on the barbecue later that afternoon.  His daughter told us that when she saw him laying on the grass and ran to him, he had a smile on his face. He was 53.

Two and 1/2 months later, in July, another good friend died suddenly, this time of an aneurysm.  Talking on the phone to a good friend, someone he deeply loved, he experienced a terrible headache, then dropped the phone as he fell to the floor.  She was able to call 911, and they took my good friend to the Hospital where he went in and out of consciousness, dying early the next day.  I didn't do a piece about this friend's death.  My grief was too large.


  1. Your new Blog is wonderful! Major congratulations! Now, tell me again how you find the TIME for this... (It's a rhetorical question.)

  2. I concur - how do you find time? But then again we found time to read it. It'll be a nice way to keep in touch....I am very sad to hear of
    two friend's passing.

  3. Thanks so much for doing this, Holly. It's a wonderful way for us to stay connected to you, your art and your stories. So sorry to hear about your friends' abrupt departures. Life is so vulnerable, precarious, and precious huh? Always thrilled to see your work and experience you - one way or another.

  4. Meeting the artist like this, at her painting, reading her thoughts and sharing her feelings she has experienced while creating...
    I consider it a generous gift to us.

  5. Wonderful to see more of your work. I am particularly intrigued by what the horse is looking at and that the horse and rider are looking at different things

  6. Love your blog, Holly -- thanks for letting me know about it.

  7. Beautiful piece. I am so sorry for your many losses.

  8. i love this piece, Holly.
    It's perfect in both intent and application. That's NOT a crit - just my observation. As one who has attemtpted to paint a response to grief and understands how difficult it is, I applaud this effort - it's both beautiful and heartbreakingly real. Only YOU!

  9. Heartfelt and beautiful. Like so many of your works. Great idea to do a blog. Thanks for taking this project on. Good luck,

  10. Holly, thank you for sharing the personal image. I lost my mother in June after a long term terminal illness. The art that is surfacing is an unfolding of our contract and the healing process I am now undergoing. Congratulations on your new blog. I look forward to continuing to visit. I will add your link to my blog list. Love, Sheri

  11. I think the work is really great, but NOT one for the wall. It captures the emotion of loss so well, but I think that too many people carry devastating loss, so it would be better in a book on bereavement as an illustration. Please show us some happy works because that is the only way forward from loss - hope ! Great work of art and don't let what I say stop your work in any way.
    Anonymous Artist.

  12. Just a personal note/brief add-on.
    I went through producing works of art to defuse hopelessness after loss, and found that it made a lot of people uncomfortable, and some, kind of shied away from me because of it, as it brought up for them a rekindling of their losses. Therefore, being honest,I have to say also, that I realized I was being self-indulgent expecting other people to share my grief in this way.
    I truly believe, that you really must consider
    your audience with this kind of work, as it's very personal. I had to give you a reason for the previous comment left by me, but I wish you every good thing Holly, as I try to critique with honesty. Please feel free to disagree.I am simply playing devil's advocate, as no-one else has.
    Anonymous Artist, who has experienced much loss.

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.