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. I pivoted my design for business to advocate for horses and nature and benefit the humans who love them. After 30 years of designing corporate brands and marketing materials to elicit specific feelings and responses, I now design art and children’s books to inspire empathy, mindfulness and inner stillness.
I credit my muse and first horse for this creative turnaround. I was compelled to rescue and heal him, but in truth, he was the best possible teacher to transform my human awareness and my art. What a ride it's been!
Because my horse was an orphan foal, raised in isolation, he lacked the normal flight response instilled by a mother. Most horse training methods use a one-way conversation approach that depend on a predictable flight response, but with my horse, brought out only his defensiveness and resistance. The best I could hope for after watching fatigue and hopelessness finally drain the light from his eyes, was his 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 allowing him a voice in what we did together, and staying out of my future-oriented agenda mind, I could become aware of 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 react to the energy I was being shown and 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, their magnificence lies in the energy, attitude, expression and movement they share to communicate their experience in each moment.
Now I see communication and metaphor throughout all of nature. Awareness of my horse's moment-to-moment communications helped me appreciate nature's endless detail and patterns. Colors, textures and lines soothe my mind chatter like nothing else. This taught me to seek 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...