Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Girls and Horses

Yes. I was one of those girls. Horses everywhere. My walls were covered with posters of horses, my shelves crowded with plastic horses (each with its own name and familial relationship to the others), I drew horses all the time, and when my best friend and I played, we were horses. I wished on every star and dandelion that some day I would have a horse of my own -- and I actually got one!

What is it about girls and horses?

Here's what I think. The medicine cards teach that horses are about power. As young girls growing up in the 60's and 70's we struggled to find our own power. We knew it was out there, and certain factions were encouraging us to find it, but we weren't welcome in sports yet, it was assumed we weren't good at math, and our Barbie dolls still had dream dates and weddings, but no careers. (Take note younger women -- you are reaping what your mothers and grandmothers sowed.)

When I was pretending to be a horse I was independent and powerful and usually wild, or at least "high-spirited". When I was drawing horses I wasn't worrying about what society said I should look like (oh yes, I drew lots of really skinny, big-boobed girls too...) And when I was riding my horse it was one of the few times I was really on my own, just the horse and me in the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains.

Creating this piece was one of those spontaneous words-as-elements things. In this case the words came first and the images formed around them. I love to use old topographic maps in my work (a backpacker's best friend) and the blue and gold seed beads carry the motion I was trying to convey. The words are tricky to see online -- but if you click on the image hopefully the larger image shows the words better.

I think of this piece as an affirmation and encouragment for me to go ahead and live. Get dirty, take risks, break the rules, work through the fear, be uncomfortable, trust your vision.

And people wonder why girls love horses.


Shawna said...

Horsey girl.

Did you paint that horse? It reminds me of those cool Japanese caligrapher paintings of animals. My mom has a beautiful bunny, but your horse is awesome. I think I've seen it, n'est pas?

Why aren't you up here right now?

Lisa Sloane said...

Yes - I painted the horse. I really wanted an asian brush-painted look. I used acrylic paint on a natural fiber paper.

Thanks so much! It's nice to know I achieved what I was after!