My artwork is deeply inspired by nature and animals. Come to think of it, it always has been. Lately, as often as I can, I will go out in my kayak on a peaceful morning at the lake and just look and listen. If I am quiet, I see small things that I might normally pass by and I can get closer to animals. I remember slowly moving towards a young, bright orange deer, who kept dipping his head under the water and happily munched on some reeds. He didn’t seem to mind that I was ten feet away. Another time I sat in a bay with Kent while two eagles swooped above. At times like this, I feel like I am recharging and gathering energy and inspiration for new artworks.
Along with animals, my dreams are also a large source of inspiration for my paintings. Bears were a reoccurring emblem in my dreams as a kid/teenager. Over the years, I probably had several dozen. It really intrigued me and led me to thinking about Spirit Animals.
Some people say that it is representation of the traits and skills that you are supposed to learn or have. Consequently, your animal is not something you pick, but is something that chooses you. Deep in my subconscious, I think there is a bear roaming around.
The dreams most often began with me looking out the cabin window towards the lake and the point (the edge of the rocks at the end of our little bay).
My heart would sink when I spotted that dark shape, slowly lumbering towards the cottage. It was never a surprise, because I knew it was there anyways, but I rushed as fast as I could, shutting all the windows and locking all the doors. I would find a hiding spot in a closet or under a bed. Sometimes I would hurriedly leave dishes of ice cream and chips, hoping that it would fill the bear’s belly and he would no longer be interested in devouring me.
Within my dream-induced panic, I’d be waiting and wondering which window he’d be peering in, but was pretty sure he knew exactly where I was.
These dreams happened every few months and they followed the same plot. Me spotting the bear, locking up the cabin, hiding, and feeling a sense of dread. Sometimes the bear broke into the cottage, and growled and pounded at the bedroom door, but I usually woke up before actually facing it.
One dream was different. I went through the usual routine of spotting the lumbering sillhouette in the distance, panicking, racing through the cottage and waiting for its arrival. This time, despite having all the windows and doors shut, it appeared right in front of me in the living room. It looked right at me. I waited, fearing the worst. It slowly turned and vanished. It left me with a feeling of “is that all I needed to do all this time? I just had to look at him?” After facing this bear, I have not had a bear dream since. A few times it has been replaced with a wolf, but never a bear.
I have often thought of these dreams and wondered what they meant. I know that it has something to do with how I need to face my fears. But is the Bear my “Spirit Animal”?
I looked up the meaning of Bears as Spirit animals. It is representative of “inner strength, fearlessness, and confidence”. It is also a guide to take a leadership role in your life.
Maybe the aspects of myself that were lacking are the ones that the bear represents. I did this painting to represent the bear and the qualities that it possesses. In hanging up this painting, it will be a reminder that I need to find my own inner strength and confidence.
I have started painting a series of Animal Spirit paintings: 8x10” Acrylic on canvas. I want to see which animals you would want to see paintings of.
Please leave a comment on my blog or Facebook post, saying which animal you think is your “Spirit Animal”. If I get at least 25 comments by Friday, I will draw a name from a hat, and the winner will get a painting of their Spirit Animal!
You may want to check out some of these websites to read about the meanings of different animals: