Monday, 11 January 2016

Spirit Animals - The Deer

Stag+Deer+Spirit Animal+Power Animal+Surrealism+NicseARTh
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. 

close up stag+spirit animal+NicseARTh+surreal art


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.

close up stag+spirit animal+NicseARTh+surreal art


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. 

close up stag+spirit animal+NicseARTh+surreal art


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. 

stag+spirit animal+NicseARTh+surreal art+power animal


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.

16 comments:

  1. Oh Nic we are so on the same page! I am fascinated by the Native American thoughts and beliefs and have animal spirit cards and a book on Native American animal totems (which I refer to frequently). I also keep a book nearby called 'Earth Medicine' by Jamie Sams. Your paintings are brilliant and I think a card deck is a super idea!

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  2. Beautiful...I agree that this would make a fantastic card. The idea of animal totems is facinating. I read up on it a few years back as I seemed to be using dragonflies so much in my work. Now like you it seems to be the stag. I love the little touches of pink and magenta on his antlers. Truly wonderful Nic

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  3. It is stunning Nic. You are possibly one of the most unique Artists I follow in your style... Just stunning! I love how the night sky and his body are kind of... one? Just wonderful! :0)

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  4. Hi Nic!!!!! Long time, sorry! This looks fantastic, it stood out on my sidebar and forced me to look at it. Your style has evolved so rapidly. I loved it before, but I think the move to Scotland was like a change of gear; at this rate goodness knows where you'll end up.

    I'm hoping hanging off the West Coast of Wales in splendid isolation will have the same effect on me as being right up there has had for you

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  5. Wonderful work Nic, love your deer and the great background. Thanks for the explanations about the spirit animals too. Looking forward to seeing more! Happy PPF, Hugs, Valerie

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  6. Beautiful deer. Love the idea of spirit animals! Can't wait to see what other ones you paint! Happy weekend to you!

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  7. So stunning Nic...wow I love that you are starting this series...hopefully we all learn more. Our new P.M. is dedicated to making sure our indigenous people are properly heard and seen which has not be in the case in the past!. He even has a tattoo in that regards...we could all afford to learn more...Your stag is precious... love it so much!!

    Hugs Giggles

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  8. Amazing work Nic! I am always thrilled about your fabulous animals!
    Happy PPF!
    oxo
    Susi

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  9. Your stag is wonderful on so many levels.
    We have much to learn from Native Americans and their strong connection to the earth.
    This journey you are on is very special.
    Thank you for the warm welcome to PPF along with your nice comment over at my Magpie's Nest.
    oxo

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  10. This is an amazing post! I went to every link. Fascinating and your glorious stag is stunning. I really love your use of color in your animals. It is strictly your style and just beautiful. Happy PPF

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  11. lovely irridescent colours and textures

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  12. Wow, it must be amazing to see these animals in real life around you all the time! I'm also fascinated by the ways of life and beliefs of the native Americans. They had so much respect for nature, we should all take them as an example ... It's a great idea to make a series of spirit animals, the first one is already a beauty!

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  13. Love your paintings! Stag is one of my spirit animals as well. Wolf is the other. :)

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  14. Oh I love this proud deer. The other day while driving I slowed down to look at a beautiful deer much like the one you drew. He walked right up to my car! I rolled down the window--he was so close. I feel like that was a special blessing. Thank you for posting this. Love. Glad to find you--I am new to blogging and always glad to find new art friends. Happy to say I am a new follower. xo Dea

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  15. i came over from ppf and wanted to tell you that i really enjoy your pet portraits

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  16. Very powerful! Very ethereal. You're work becomes more uniquely your own and vibrant with each painting.

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Your comments always colour me happy! Thank you for popping by.

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