A little over 4 weeks ago I couldn't have told you if this brave and precious little soul was going to live or not.
Her life was hanging in the balance, and the scales could have tipped so easily either way. She was so frail but for a tiny stubborn spark of life, but honestly I wasn't sure if it was enough.
Late afternoon, when the shadows were growing long and the chill was slowly creeping into the air I first gazed into Nicki's beautiful amber eyes. Dad laid her sniffling and shuddering slightly at my feet and told me he found her caught up in the fence and it looked like she had been there a couple of days unnoticed; her efforts to free herself had only made the damage worse as the wire had bitten deeper and deeper into her front legs, rubbing away the flesh and scarred her with two twin wounds down to the bone on either sides of her legs. He wasn't sure if she'd make it but told me to do what I could. Now it's important to note that we live in a pretty rural area and born from the fact that the closest vet is a four hour drive (but we since have gained a closer one who is an hour and a half closer) so we have to be a little self reliant when it comes to stuff like this and we have a pretty extensive animal medical box and over the years I have done a lot of consulting on the phone, I think I could make a pretty decent vet nurse ;)
Anyways, I gave her a shot of antibiotics, something for the pain and rummaged though my homeopathic kit for something to fit her symptoms (I'm a big believer in holistic medicine, but sometimes you have to use it in conjunction with conventional medicine) and began to clean away the mud and blood from her legs, it wasn't a pretty sight that greeted me. But I soon found myself giving thanks that it had only damaged the soft tissue and had just missed all the important stuff (a benefit for an artist living on a farm is that knowledge of anatomy comes in handy not only for drawing!) When I had finished cleaning and disinfecting her wounds I packed them with Manuka honey (I have had some really good results with this stuff) and bandaged them with bight and cheerful bandages. I also made a prayer to who ever was up there listening that however this went, good or bad, that she wouldn't suffer.
It was a pretty tense week with a lot of ups and downs but she hung grimly to life and as I tended to her I sent her as much love and compassion as I could. She didn't have the strength to stand, so we made her a soft bed of oldtowels to keep her comfortable. We had to turn her over periodically and massage her legs to try and keep circulation in her legs. We also had to monitor her pain with painkiller, and try to keep her as painfree as possible so she had a chance to heal.
At night we covered her with a warm horse rug and tucked her in with a hot water bottle.
My sister cared for her while as I was at work and I worried every time I saw her name on my caller id that it was was bad news.
Half of the first few days she refused to eat anything that I offered at all which was a concern, so I had to force feed her warm milk via a syringe, which she finally decided wasn't that bad and began to take without protest. I remember when she finally began to eat the wisps of hay I offered her, I whooped with such joy that my brother, who is normally quite oblivious to such things, stuck his head out the window and asked what I was yelling about.
I have been though this process with sheep so many times over the years with various ailments, and sometimes no matter what you do you can't save them, but when you can and you do, it is always such a blessing.
She was on her feet again by the 10th day which was such a miracle, and slowly she grew stronger and stronger until she was skipping and running around the yard with our 4 pet lambs and two other sheep who had also had miraculous recovery's in the last couple of months.
Living on a wool producing Sheep Station you get to see the whole circle of life and death up close and personal, and sometimes its just so damn unfair, like seemingly endless cycles of drought so bad that it seems that it will never end and stripes of green across the dry dusty country seems like a faraway dream. It breaks your heart over and over, but then there are times that little tiny sparks of life, tiny little miracles in the grand scheme of things just light up and warm your heart. You realize exactly why you haven't gone grown that thick skin and a hard heart.
Nicki is one of these little woolly miracles that I have been blessed with over the years: Andrea, Mildred, Sully, Moe, Iris, Buddy, Teddy Teabags (who memorably managed to heal after breaking his front leg in two places!) and so so many more. It never gets old that warm fuzzy feeling that fills up your whole heart when they recover. Its just the best feeling and makes all the heartbreak that you endure for them just a little more bearable..
Thank you for reading,
Love & Light,
Somehow Stars started happening!!!
It was sort of inevitable for me, but not everyone is into my whimsical stuff, so I'm going to try and balance it out with realistic paintings as well... hopefully?
It's the PLAN anyway...
I'm having a lot of fun working on this series in my spare time, and on a small note all original paintings will be available though my Etsy Shop soon.
(however feel free to contact me if you MUST have one of them now, I totally understand)
Let me know which is your absolute favorite so far!
Or what Aussie Animal you REALLY want to see me do (and in what style ;))
Look forward to hearing from you!
Only about two weeks left to enter! Get your skates on guys if you want to be in the running!
AND! Just so you know the $25 etsy voucher can be used on anything in my Etsy Store, and can even be put towards getting a gorgeous soulful portrait of your pet...
You don't want to miss out!!
I've linked both photos in this post to the giveaway FB post for easy access!
Hope to see you join & Good Luck!!
Sorry things have been a bit quiet on the blog lately as all my energy has been channeled into working on my social media pages! (If you haven't checked them out please do and tell me what you think! Pretty please?) I'm slightly more active on my mailing list (which if you are viewing on my blog, you can sign up to on the right ->)
Not only do you get a monthly newsletter, special offers, the first to know about up coming stuff and you get my blog (when I get the time to sit down and write one...) delivered right to the comfort of your inbox! A neat little freebie is currently in production as we speak, so stay tuned.. Pretty cool right? I'm thinking about doing a special contest JUST for my lovely subscribers..
(Blog readers please ignore me for a bit while I have a quick word to my awesome subscribers who will likely reading this in their inbox)
What do you think guys? Who has any ideas on what we should do? or what you would like to win for that matter: Gift voucher for my Etsy shop? Free shipping? A little sketch? Maybe a print? Let me know, you have my complete attention at this moment! (just so you know, there may even be a little something for the first person to respond..)
Anyways I have really gotten off track! So as the title says I illustrated a book cover!!
OMG I am so excited about this! I can't believe it!! This is something that has been on my vision board for a couple of years! I never dreamed that it was going to happen so quickly!!!!
Huge Thank you Susan Boyd!!
(guys please be sure to check out Susan's website she does some wonderful work, has great information to share with horse owners and has given a home to a whole bunch of stray, abandoned and rescued animals from cats and dogs to horses and birds. All profits sold from her online store goes to help feed and care for her animals and a portion also goes to help save horses from slaughter, a very worthy cause.)
The book is called 'The Good Foot at a Glance' (now available on Amazon!!) and is a horse owner's guide to the visual aspects of a healthy hoof. It was reviewed by Pete Ramey, Greg Sokoloski, and Nick Hill. (I'm very eagerly awaiting my copy!)
As a professional barefoot hoof care practitioner and as one who is seriously obsessed with the horses hooves this is such a thrill that I was given the opportunity to do this!!
The illustration was of course inspired by dear sweet brumby/Waler Grace who in my opinion has the most gorgeous and functional hooves ever! (what can I say? of course I'm a little biased ;))
So proud that my little dark horse could be part of this too! =)
Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride,
Thank you so much for entering, I had a wonderful time reading all the comments, you guys are so great and funny! I don't think my blog has ever seen so many comments!
SO drum roll please!
*drum roll............ rummages around in the hat and unfolds the paper very slowly *
Emma and Cody (AKA Squire Toad)
Thank you all so much for your support and I hope you will all join in for round 3
(date yet to be determined- popular demand will definitely be a factor in my decision. So if you want more, let me know!!)
Please feel free to sign up to my newsletter if you haven't already and be the first to know about upcoming events!!
Until next time!
Look out for my new blog post coming soon which will tell you why goats and art don't mix...
When my cats aren't happy, I'm not happy. Not because I care about their mood but because I know they're just sitting there thinking up ways to get even.
I'm giving you another chance to get a pencil sketch of your pet!
I'm back with another random draw in time for Easter!
I personally had loads of fun reading all the comments last time.
This really has the added benefit for me as I get to practice my speed art, pencil skills AND get to sketch gorgeous pets while I'm at it!! Very enjoyable exercise.
So if you weren't with us last time and you are now asking how you can join in?
By simply posting an answer to the question bellow.
The winner will be draw at random out of a hat on 2nd of April!
So make sure you tell all your friends, if I continue to get enough support I will make this a regular thing. Just a small note if you win and would like the original sketch, then I ask that you cover postage (if not I'll send you a hi res digital copy).
Now my question is: "What's in a name?"
Did you name your pet, or was it already named?
And how well do you think that name suit him/her?
Optional question: "what's the meaning of your pet's name?"
UPDATED BONUS: Sign up for my newsletter and get an additional entry!!
So for example:
Cygnet was originally named Starlight (she has a little snip on her nose that looks just like a star).
But I decided on the same day she arrived that she needed a new name to go with a new home.
So she became Cygnet- named with the Cygnus Constellation in mind, and she is slowly becoming a swan =)
Grace was a little more difficult to find a name for, we tried out soooo many but none seemed to fit her very well, and she was nameless for over a month before I realized that she was and is Grace.
While both Donna and Ruby already had their names which suite them very well.
Did you know that the meaning of Donna in Italian is Lady?
And Ruby goes with out saying, our little social butterfly is a total gem!
A huge thank you to those who entered and supported my Valentine's Day draw!
Thanks for the wonderful comments about your pets, quite a few made me giggle!! I had fun!
Without further ado!
The lucky random winner drawn from the hat is....
Congrats! Send me a picture of Frank and I'll get sketching!
Thanks again to everyone for entering!
I'm thinking I might do it more often, what do you think? (please comment)
PS: Don't forget to sign up to my newsletter if you haven't already!
You'll get access to all my newest blog posts hot off the press straight to your inbox, updates, special offers and more! =)
"Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
With Valentine's Day just around the corner lets take a moment to celebrate the beautiful animals that do us the honor of gracing our lives and walking beside us both physically and in memory. In their many glorious shapes and sizes: From the great and proud Clydesdale horse, down to a small guinea pig with its cute little ears and loud squeak! What ever form they take they play such a huge part in our lives and teach us a lot if we are listening, and they also teach us unconditional love. Having a bad day? They are always there for you. Need someone to talk to? They are there without a hit of judgement in their eyes. They are the ones who truly know and accept ALL of you.
This will be my first February in over a decade and a half without back up from my Zen Master/Meditation expert/Supreme Overlord of the house/King of Cats/sleep regulator/de-stressor/trusted judge of character/Therapist/friend, Livingstone, who crossed the rainbow bridge in May 2017 age 17. I still miss my oldest and dearest friend, our 17 years together was a serious love affair and I treasure times and the memories we shared; from that tiny little RSPCA rescue kitten that could fit in the palm of my 7yo self, to the gloriously regal Jeremy Irons type character of his later years.
So let us thank all the sloppy kisses and wet noses, the soft and extremely stroakable and soft fur. The horses, the cats and dogs, the birds and fish; all those who walk crawl, swim, fly or slither, Let's thank them for being them! And for so much more!
Give your animals a hug from me.
PS: And as a special treat for all you wonderful readers, lets have some fun and do a little anthropomorphizing with your animals!
"Which famous person do you identify your pet with and why?"
All you have to do is leave a comment bellow and one lucky person drawn at random the day after Valentine's day: I'll draw a pencil sketch of your pet! Make sure you tell ALL your friends! This should be fun!!
UPDATE: I'm extending this until the end of the week, so don't forget to comment!
Love came down at Christmas,
Hello my dear blog readers!
Firstly, I want to wish you all a very Merry and safe Christmas, and a truly awesome New Year!!
For me, 2017 has been pretty crazy and I know for a lot of other people it has been pretty full on, so I hope that 2018 is filled with many great things for you guys!
And for those of you who have supported me this year, it has been tremendous, I would like to say a HUGE MASSIVE THANK YOU!! I couldn't have come this far without you xx.
Secondly I want to share my 2017 Christmas card (painting) and WOW I am actually for once on time! Which is seriously amazing, normally I am struggling right at the last minute to get it done, it would seem that one of the unexpected upsides of working in a library is becoming semi efficient! *does a fist pump and crossed that off the very long list of 2017 new year resolutions*
Once again, it features my dear little Shetland pony, Ruby - Donna, Grace and Cygnet are a little put out that the little munchkin won out on this very prestigious honor for the second year in a row....
She did ask very politely... and if Ruby came up to you and tugged on your sleeve gently and asked, could you really resist this? --->
Anyways I hope you like it =)
I'm thinking of doing a print run of this, so if you are interested please, please let me know. It would look very cute on your wall.. ;) and as a special offer, if you send me a message or comment below that you want one, you are entitled to a 5% discount when they go on sale!
Also I will be definitely turning this one into a card and/or postcards so stay tuned, they will probably be available on my Etsy store some time mid January/February. I don't know about you, but I'm very excited!!
So before I wrap this up (yeah, the pun is totally intended!) dear blog readers I have a couple of questions for you and I thank you in advance for answering any of these questions!
Have a fantastic Christmas, which we hope is filled with much rest, magic and wonder!
Best wishes and warm holiday greetings to you & all your family from:
Siobhan, Donna -the sassy & savvy Coffin Bay Brumby, Grace- the shy & beautiful Waler, Ruby- the adorably small and bighearted Shetland, and Cygnet- the smart and rebellious teen, and the rest of the menagerie who are too numerous to list.. xx
“Coffee is a way of stealing time that should by rights belong to your older self.”
Can you believe its December already??
Wow, what a year. Not sure if I'm glad its nearly over or I want a do over..
Its been a very busy time for me, and then there has been a ton of stress and heart break.. The thing that hit me the hardest this year was losing my beautiful cat, Livingstone, my oldest friend who has been faithfully by my side for amazing 18 years..
There has been some really good stuff happen too. Just seem to be so busy that I don't even have time to daydream anymore!
But..that said, I'm pretty proud of myself for getting my art website launched (I have only been thinking about it for nearly two years.. but the good thing I guess about that, was I had time to really practice my craft so I can really showcase my art now. So, I think it happened when it was supposed to happen? Its a nice thought anyways...) and my Etsy store, AND an Instagram page, all the while juggling with a new job and various other life things which hasn't been easy.. wow that really does seem like a lot when I list it like that! okay I'm feeling slightly better about my achievements this year.. hmm.. wow.. okay.
Anyways, how did 2017 fair for you? Any highlights you are bursting to share?
If you are running late with your Christmas shopping or just can't find the right thing for someone special, I may have the solution to your problem:
I'm offering 15% OFF all prints on my Etsy store!
All you have to do to redeem is click this link! -> DARKHORSEPRINTS15
Only valid until Dec 18th
OR! Special #2
Delight all your friends and give them a pony this Christmas!
I have x4 'Can I have a pony' pack of 3 cards! for just $10AUD (plus P&H)
They are super cute and would make a beautiful gift all by themselves!
Each card is individually packed in a cello bag and bundled together with either a silver cord or red ribbon and decorated with a cute reusable charm.
Plus as an extra special I'll throw in a couple of really cute small Ruby magnets!
OR!! Special #3
Assorted Dreamingofdarkhorses Art Packs! $15AUD
Hurry I only have 4 currently available: (sorry pics coming soon)
Mares & Magic!
A Little pack of Magic!
Packed full of magic!
Each pack contains:
1 A4 print (see all my available prints on Etsy)
1 Card and envelope
A little blurb, and a cute charm!
Total value over $20!
In other news, I now have a Ko-fi page! I got curious after seeing loads of other artist using it and thought I'd try it out!
COFFFFEEEEEE... I love the stuff, it helps and inspires me to get stuff done.. (some days I would be totally lost without you... I'm actually practicing painting with it, gotta say it will make things easier for me and I wont have to worry when I accidentally try to wash my brush out in my coffee cup instead of my water cup.. yeah it actually happens quite a lot...)
So no obligations but if you want to, please click the button bellow and buy me a coffee! or if you just want to check it all out, that's cool too =)
So that's that for now, thanks very much for reading!
If you would like to comment or have something to say, please don't feel shy about leaving a comment, I'd love to hear from you!
2017 Summary of my art
Siobhan is a Visual Artist Connecting Animal Lovers with Customized & Magical Animal Portraits, and an optimistic realist with a day job.