Someone posted a photo of a deer on Facebook and I thought it was lovely and that I’d like to paint it. When I came to my prayer time the image of a deer spoke to me in several ways, along with the the verses from Psalm 32 which were set for the day in the Celtic Daily Prayer. So I did this quick sketch in my bible.
I looked forward to tackling a proper painting using watercolours, to see how the the themes develop as I pray and paint:
God is often elusive – I rarely see deer, even on Cannock Chase where you have to drive slowly to avoid hitting them. However, they are there. And God is there. When we are quiet and still, that is when we become aware of God’s presence.
God is my shelter – like the trees shelter the deer, so God shelters me. He is my hiding place, he is my home.
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God (psalm 42:1, NIV). Although that psalm is one to use when feeling downcast, that is not how I feel now. I am in a good place and feel peaceful, not at all depressed or downcast. However, in the past I have been and this psalm has helped me to pray and call out to God. And he has always answered.
Deer are very observant and always alert. God is always seeing and his eyes are upon me. I don’t find that threatening or in any way disturbing, as perhaps I once did.
The psalm also speaks of God guiding me in the way I should go. As we consider the immediate, medium and long term future moving into the new normal we need all the help we can get.
This is the photo, used by permission of the photographer, Lyndon Hill. He does some amazing work.
I started the painting with a bit of trepidation. I haven’t done this sort of thing before. But I gave myself permission to not be perfect. If I wanted a perfect representation of it I would print out the photo. I also know that there will be parts of it that I will see could be much better. However, I wanted to do it as well as I could. I didn’t have a ruler so used a piece of lined paper to measure the various bits of the deer. Fascinating how many parts were the same measurement. The first step was to sketch in the deer as accurately as possible.
I started with the deer, doing the eyes and head first and then the trees. This is progress at the end of the first session. The neck is a bit thick and the body a bit short.
Today I finished the painting. It isn’t perfect, as I knew it wouldn’t be. But I feel that I have done as well as I can. And for a first attempt I am pleased with it. I hope you like it.