It all started when I was in art school and I would look at old picture books in the library. I became very interested in the photographs taken of the old west. I loved the mystery in these pictures. I tried to guess what each person was doing before the picture was taken. Who were they and what did they talk about? I starting photocopying the pictures and transferred them into my paintings. Here is one of William F. Cody aka “Buffalo Bill.” http://codyarchive.org/images/view/photographs/P.69.400 :
I found photographs of buffalo too and I became attracted to the image of a buffalo silhouette against the sunset of the plains.
I came upon this book and I was hooked, it was so interesting I couldn’t put it down.
“This book appropriately covers the subject of the buffalo as extensively as that animal covered the plains. Other recent accounts of the buffalo have focused on two or three aspects, emphasizing its natural history, the hunters and the hunted in prehistoric time, the relationship between the buffalo and the American Indian. David Dary’s treatment stretches from horizon to horizon. Of course he discusses the origin of the buffalo in North America, its locations and migrations, its habits, its significance and role in both Indian and white cultures, its near demise, its salvation. But more. Dary weaves throughout his fact-filled book fascinating threads of lore and legend of this animal that literally helped mold who and what America is.” retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/Buffalo-Book-Full-American-Animal/dp/0804009317
The beauty and symbolism of buffalo began to take a role in my paintings and drawings:
Self Portrait with Buffalo, pencil on paper 2001
Buffalo II, Violets are Growing, acrylic on canvas 36 x 24 inches 2001
It was the summer of my Junior year of college when I decided to work on The Diamond Tail Ranch, a buffalo ranch in Colorado. It was there that I could be around these magnificent animals every day. There were many incredible moments during that summer. I will never forget the day I hopped in the feed truck and we rounded up the hungry herd and dropped food out of the back of the truck as we drove 40 miles an hour… hundreds of buffalo galloped behind trying to get their fill. I learned to drive standard, I saw my first bear, and I also got to feed two babies every morning Annie and Jessie. http://diamondtailranch.com/
It was a summer I will never forget…
When I returned to the east coast I spent my senior thesis painting buffalo into my work, this one was done in pastels:
Here I used scraps I collected that summer from the ranch barn to incorporate into this large painting:
The experience and the influence of buffalo have remained with me. During those times and through the course of my life I have associated buffalo with meaning and symbolism.
-Abundance, Courage, Prosperity, and Good Luck of course… If I ever had a moment when I was going through a hard time a buffalo image or symbol would pop up out of nowhere. A reminder that I am on the right path. As I continue to grow into the person I am to become I regularly connect more things with this animal that relates to who I am becoming, if that makes sense…
A few years ago in 2010 I was feeling very lost and the most unlike myself I have ever felt in my life… ever have those moments? I wasn’t painting, I had left a relationship that wasn’t good for me not long before that, and I didn’t know who I was.
I decided to go to a healing where the woman leading the group had several decks of angel cards, animal cards, etc. It was a two hour event and we took a break after the first hour. She directed the group to stay in the room or go outside. I did not feel like socializing and at that moment I felt very alone and afraid. I stayed in the room by myself and waited for the healing to continue. I decided to play with the cards and chose one of the animal decks. I shuffled it several times, cut it in half and let it rest a moment before I picked the top card. I flipped the top card over and it was the beautiful buffalo represented looking right at me… I will never forget it, all of a sudden I felt like there was someone in the room… I quickly looked around as if to see if it was a trick that had been pulled on me. No, it wasn’t, it was real… I knew in that moment I could come out of that hole I felt I was in, I felt courage, and I felt peace.
I encourage you to find what has meaning in your life no matter what it is and embrace it. There is a reason you are being called to do something and there is a reason why the same signs keep popping up for you.
Have you seen my logo? Check it out it’s my initials and a buffalo. I want to thank Christopher Smith for his artistry in designing it. It represents all the amazing things that are in my future, courage I will need along the way, and the perfect guidance that I am on the right path.