I have received several comments on how I do my research and where I get my information as well as how I get the images I need to draw and paint my animals for my blocks so I thought I would break this month's (March's) block up into sections talking about the research, showing the steps in the making of the painting and then the last entry will cover the beading and symbology for the cougar.
As I was playing with the idea of my Sacred Tree and I knew I was going to use my animal totems and animals that have personal meaning to me I decided to re-read the information that I had on them. I have Ted Andrews "Animal Speak" and have found it a really useful source. There are other good books out there on animal totems and "Animal Speak isn't the only one I have. For those of you who don't like to collect books as much as I do another very good resource is to go online and use your web browser and type in the animal you are interested followed by symbology (example: cougar symbology) and do a search. You will be amazed at how much information you can find that way. The same is true for all of the other symbology that I have used in my piece you can either look online or buy books. I have at least 5 symbology books and still spend time online adding to the research information that I have.
The first 3 photos are of my notebook that I am keeping for my Sacred Tree piece. It was an inexpensive notebook that I bought and started collecting the information I was finding for this piece. For each item I have blogged, the symbology for each animal or other item in the overall piece has a separate entry in my book. Luckily for me this notebook can be taken apart and the pages rearranged so that I could keep like things together or finding anything would have become a problem.
The first photo shows one of three pages of written notes that I have made of the cougar for all of the symbology information that I was finding, some of it is repeated from more than one source and they are not in any order. Once I get ready to blog I try to make some sense of order out of the notes.
The other question I got was about my visual research or how did I draw and paint the animals especially since I haven't seen many of them or didn't have my own photos of them. I would have liked to use my own photos but alas except for the Honu (turtle) I did not have any photos that would work. Once again I went online and did a search this time with what I was looking for and then images (cougar images) the number of images you can find is overwhelming but I would sort through and find some that gave me an idea of the look of the animal and the coloring. In the case of the cougar I also found a pice of fabric that had images of cougar heads so I bought some which came in really handy when I was having trouble getting the face of the cougar to look right.