Western Elk, 4"x6", Ink, Graphite & Watercolor on Watercolor Paper
Northern Buck, 4"x6", Ink, Graphite & Watercolor on Watercolor Paper
Eastern Elk, 4"x6", Ink, Graphite & Watercolor on Watercolor Paper
Southern Buck, 4"x6", Ink, Graphite & Watercolor on Watercolor Paper
The Four Directions I embarked on an exciting journey with my family throughout the United States to travel in our converted Ram Promaster. Before leaving on this journey, I worked on "The Four Directions" in my studio in Cave Creek, AZ as a precursor to what was about to unfold.
The Deer, Elk & Outdoor Connection As you will see the subject matter is both Deer and Elk- animals I have always associated with my love for the outdoors and well... When you decide to go all in and travel the country primarily boondocking, living in approximately 72 square feet with your wife, son and two dogs while spending a lot of your time in the woods... needless to say you certainly need to have an idea of a direction or plan for where you are headed.
My Own Direction Was In Question I won't sugar coat the deeper connection to this project as I myself was searching for direction... In November 2021 my wife Kristen and I were expecting our twins Oak and Koa to be born and unfortunately my son Oak could not survive the contractions during labor and as a result passed on within an hour of Kristen's emergency C-Section. To top it all off Koa had to get emergency transported to the downtown NICU, where he remained for 17 days, as he was born with paralyzed vocal cords which caused his airway to prevent him from breathing and feeding properly. It was a long road ahead on multiple avenues.
(I am so grateful that today Koa has had a miracle of a recovery and can now live like a normal kid, many thanks to the help of amazing medical staff and an incredibly supportive community- many of you!)
So Why This Series Then? Well, my new family experience left me a bit dumbfounded, speechless and frankly directionless... You see, art has always been my way to process anything and make sense of my life on the canvas. Therefore, I focused on the Deer and Elk. Why? The Deer and Elk are a symbol of the outdoors for me but they are also a symbol of peace, elegance and power- all the attributes I needed to cultivate most during what was the most difficult time of my life. They became the symbols I could look to when I needed a direction, symbols that would always be there for me when I felt like I needed a support anywhere I looked.
The Life Lesson I Learned I decided to create this series and share this story for a lesson I learned through my experiences... Life is... short and delicate. But- That fragility of our electric heartbeat is what keeps life itself so beautiful, intriguing and mesmerizing. If we as people can cultivate peace, elegance and power within ourselves, then we too have the ability to bring that beauty of life to someone else through our stories, experiences and wisdom... There are few things in this world that will matter after we are gone, but the beauty of the gift we have been given, is that we have the free will to choose how we spend our days. So as we walk forward, into the unknown wilderness that is life... We have the ability to choose- peace within our hearts, elegance within our step and power within our words as we travel in whatever direction our destiny leads us to.