MAGNIFICENCE & MINDFULNESS
I'm an advocate for horses and nature through art and a children's book.
"Please, puhleeeze can we find some horses?" This was my routine request when my family went on vacation. Being with horses, surrounded by mountains and trees, was my happiest of all happy places. I looked into each horse's eyes to check on his or her spirit, hoping to connect in some way. I savored every moment with horses and lost all track of time. These experiences continue to shape where I live and how I spend my time.
I’m Michelle Twohig, a veteran graphic designer and now advocate for horses and nature, creating art to benefit those who also find their happy places in and around them. After 30 years of designing corporate brands and marketing materials to evoke specific feelings and responses, I now design art and children’s books to inspire peace, joy, empathy, mindfulness and inner stillness.
I credit my muse and first horse for this creative turnaround. I was compelled to rescue and heal him, not knowing he was the best possible teacher to transform my awareness and art. And what a ride it's been!
My horse was an orphan foal, raised in isolation and lacking the normal flight response instilled by a mare. Most horse training methods use a one-way conversation approach that depends on a predictable flight response from the horse. But with my horse, that approach triggered a lot of defensiveness and resistance. Eventually, fatigue and hopelessness drained the light from his eyes, and he offered minimal compliance. This was not what I wanted, and taught me empathy.
Eventually we found our connection in a method based on a two-way conversation. By adding patience and allowing him a voice in what we did together, I learned how it felt to be him, with me, in each moment (and how quickly that could change). I learned to model the energy he needed rather than resist the energy he was showing that I didn't want. The better I learned to gauge that, the more interested he became and the more he was willing to engage and trust. This taught me the benefits of mindfulness.
His remarkable change in attitude inspired me to create art of horses at liberty, expressing themselves as naturally as possible. For me, a horse's magnificence lies in his energy, attitude, expression and movement--everything they share to communicate their experience in each moment.
I see a level of communication and metaphor throughout all of nature. Awareness of my horse's detailed communication helps me appreciate nature's detail and patterns. Horses and nature soothe my mind chatter like nothing else, taking me to a place of inner stillness.
I hope my art of horses and nature offers you a feeling of mindfulness, relaxed attentiveness, inner stillness or rejuvenation and emotional renewal—all the things I associate with happy place feelings.
Please take advantage of my free tips to create an on-demand happy place in your home. After creating my own home haven, I can promise you you'll love the difference it makes inside your home—and inside you.
P.S. Each purchase from this site will benefit a horse rescue or nature conservancy organization. If any of my ideas spark an idea or a question or a special commission request, please click the button below and let's...