Dive Deep – Talking to the Animals in Your Art
May 29th, 2009
I've had certain animals pop up in my life during different times. Sometimes, I'll actually see them everywhere (as I did with crows for a time) and other times I'll dream about them, draw them in my sketchbook, or see their images all over the place. If they start showing up in my art, that usually grabs my attention. I may just enjoy their presence in my art or I may do a little research on what they've meant as symbols in other cultures. Reading about the symbolism of animals can be a fascinating way to dive deeper into explorations about what these creatures may mean in your life.
I just finished up this underwater painting called, Dive Deep, which I'm really loving. The image came to me intuitively, but as I painted it grew and changed. A whale appeared, as did an octopus. Even though only the whale's tail is showing, I imagine this woman is swimming with the whale.
Today, as I snapped a couple pictures of the painting, I felt a strong urge to look up whales in the book Animal Speak. I got all teary with the synchronicity of the first line summary of what whales represent: "Creation, Power of Song, Awakening Inner Depths." This touched me in ways I can't quite explain, but I can say that the piece about the power of song is resonating so strongly with me as we move into the month of Sound for the Creative Every Day Challenge. There's something here for me around the power of your voice, communication, giving voice to your soul.
In Animal Speak, Ted Andrews writes about whales, " By drawing upon your own creative instincts, you can sing forth your own song."
This reminds me that even though you can get all sorts of fun, juicy information from books and other sources, when it comes to looking at animals that show up in your creations, it can be just as, if not more juicy to look at what these symbols mean for you. You could do some dialoguing in a journal and ask your animal symbols something like, "Whale, what are you here to teach me? What is it you want me to know? What do you represent in my life?" Write freely without judging and see what comes up. Alternatively, you could simply explore their meaning by allowing these animals to enter into your art and express themselves in that way.
The octopus in this piece came as a surprise to me. I later read that the octopus is related to the image of a spiral (I'm so drawn to spirals) and is also connected with the moon and astrological sign of Cancer (which I am.)
I love the way synchronicities pop up when I allow images to come from my intuition. It's a beautiful thing. Essentially, this image is about diving deep into the dark places. It's nice to have some animal guides to help me along.
Are there any animals showing up in your life or artwork right now? Do they have meaning for you? If you asked them what they're here to teach you, what would they answer?
p.s. I was recently interviewed for Chris Guillebeau and Zoe Westhof's ebook, The Unconventional Guide to Art and Money which explores how artists are making a living online. Check it out for yourself right here!