|Spirit Animal - Deer |
acrylic paint on watercolour paper 18 x 26 cm
I keep a little notebook in my handbag in which I write shopping lists and have started jotting down arty ideas that pop into my head so I don't forget them. A few months ago, around the time I was painting the giraffe against the starry night sky I had an idea to do a series of animals based on the Native American belief of Spirit or Power Animals and I wrote it into my notebook. I didn't want to start painting them right away as I wanted to do some research first, find out a bit more about them and what each animal represents. So I've spent the last few months reading about spirit animals. I bought a set of spirit animal cards with beautiful artwork on them but very different to how I intend to paint them so that there would be no danger of my being influenced by the style of these cards.
I've even listened to guided meditations which help you to discover your own spirit animal guide and was more than a little surprised when almost as soon as the meditation started a stag popped into my head and stayed with me for the entire guided visualisation. (Sorry if this is a little woo-woo and new age for some folk but don't knock it til you've tried it!) It was funny that the stag was my spirit animal as I had included a stag in my very first surreal painting which was part of my Reiki Master training back here which set me off on the path to more surreal paintings! Anyway, as the stag is my spirit animal I thought it would be fitting if I started the series with one of these stunning creatures which we're lucky enough to see out on the hills around us all the time.
I've always been fascinated by Native American culture and the way that they respect the earth and all it inhabitants. Animal Spirits are tied in with the Native American Indian belief in Animism which is a belief based on the spiritual idea that the universe, and all natural objects within the universe, have souls or spirits.
An animal spirit is believed to be a supernatural power that embodies the traits of the animal. The animal spirit is also regarded as a guide who might appear in dreams in the form of an animal. An animal spirit, or spirit guide, walks through life with a person, teaching and guiding them, and in some instances protecting them.
You can read about the qualities of the deer/stag as a spirit animal here if you're interested.
Because I'm planning to do a whole series of these (and there are a lot of spirit animals) I wasn't sure whether to do them on paper or canvas but decided on paper as I have a couple of pads of watercolour paper that are glued down on all sides with just a little gap to slip a knife in to separate the paper from the pad when the painting is finished (this means you don't have to stretch the paper beforehand and it won't buckle under the paint).
I had sprayed the acrylic spray paint onto the first page to see if it worked. It did and so I thought it would be good to use this as it means I can still work in acrylic but the paper is small enough to fit in the scanner which means I can get much better reproductions than trying to photograph it which is good if I wanted to make prints (I have an idea of turning these into spirit animal cards if they turn out to be any good) and also it means that they won't take up as much space as forty odd canvasses would!
Anyway, let's see how the rest turn out before I get ahead of myself but I'm quite pleased with this one for starters and I'd like to say a massive thank you to a very talented photographer I discovered on Instagram recently called Bryan Buckley who has taken some fantastic photos of Scottish stags and very kindly gave me permission to use one of them as a reference for this painting.