Painting process for…’My Spirit Guide’ February 4, 2018

In the summer of 2016 I worked with a shaman for a few months , as part of an emotional healing process. I had some wonderful experiences and one of them was finding out that my spirit animal is a lioness. I could feel her presence, very calm and yet very assertive.  She seemed detached and at the same time present and confident.

I decided to paint my lioness and explore the relationship we have with our spirit animals. I had everything planned out, how the lion’s paw touches the leg of my ‘angel’ the figure that appears throughout the Quest series (and represents us in the most open and vulnerable state. She has angel wings but she is not an angel, the wings only represent our own spark of divinity).

The concept was very clear in my mind. The figure will look away from the viewer however she will look through the eyes of the lioness.  The gentle touch between the two will somehow merge them and the presence of the lioness would be the focal point.

I worked on the painting for a couple of months and was pleased with the development.

Even though I start out with a plan, I am open to different outcomes. I don’t set rules, I have an idea and as I progress I never know which turn I will take. I put my music on and sometimes I slip into a state so detached that my hands are painting but I don’t really know where I am.

One afternoon as I was working on the figure, I had an urge to paint over the lioness. It was strange so I stopped for the day to see how I feel about it the next morning. Next day I was surprised to find out that I still wanted to paint over the lioness. She had the exact expression that I wanted, she was present and kind but somehow I still had this urge to cover her up with paint. So I did.



The following  morning when I came into the studio I looked at my painting and I had an instant feeling of loss. My lioness was gone. This whole painting was about her, she was the main subject I wanted to depict, her calm and assertive glare was no longer there and I was missing her. She was trapped underneath a thick layer of paint.  I started looking through the work in progress photographs and time lapse video I had made during the painting process and I felt confused. I didn’t know how to move forward so I took a few days off to take my mind of it.

Then one morning, I just went into the studio and applied the last layer of paint. The colors had warm yellow tones, just like the lioness did. In the space where her gentle eyes were before now only a warm ray of yellow light came through. I stood back and looked at the painting . It was finished and then, in that moment,  I understood.

My intention was to explore the relationship we have with our spirit animals. Sometimes we would meditate and feel their presence, we might even think we see a glimpse of them with our inner eye. But most of the time we just know that they are there, in another dimension, vibrating at a different frequency, hidden underneath a layer of oil paint. Even though we can’t really see them, a color, a ray of light or a shape might remind us to have faith that we are not alone. That our angels, our guardians, our protectors or spirit animals are here with us.

When I let go and follow the guidance, the painting process unfolds in unexpected ways. It teaches me lessons I need to learn or reminds me of things I need to be reminded of.

I know that the exploration of painting spirit animals will go on for a while. I feel that other expressions of the lioness are waiting to be born and I’m curious of how the third painting of her will unfold.