Is Wolf your Power Animal?

I’ve been working on a series of Power Animal paintings in preparation for showing at the Hiawatha Music Festival Artists in the Round art & craft show next month in Marquette, MI. Thought I’d try another Wolf! Read on below for insight into Wolf as Power Animal.
Watercolor Wolf

Wolves are one of those animals that humanity both loathes and reveres. I think it’s because they represent very intense energy, which can be extremely empowering to work with but also frightening, especially if you’re not prepared for it.

Like most animal totems, Wolf has multiple meanings. Today I want to focus on Wolf as Hunter and Pathfinder. Wolf represents following your intuition and inner guidance, and taking action on it. So if you are seeking your Purpose and Wolf appears to you, pay attention!

As you know, Wolves are predators, tracking their prey by scent as well as sight and sound. They are highly intelligent animals. A pack of wolves will work cooperatively to bring down prey much larger than they are. Deer (and anything in the deer family, including elk and even moose) are their favorite prey. Deer are excellent runners. Bringing down such large animals requires speed, stamina and strategy. Once they have selected an animal to chase, they pursue it relentlessly until it is exhausted.

Wolf as a power animal can help us discover our inner Purpose, and guide us on our path towards it. One of the keys to doing so is to tap into our intuition, or inner knowing. As a wild animal, Wolf has all its instincts intact. Wolf and Dog were originally one; dogs are simply domesticated wolves. (And there is good evidence that the process of domestication was likely initiated by wolves, not humans!) If you feel a strong bond with Dogs, but are struggling with some aspect of your life, you may want to invite Wolf to walk beside you as well. Its sharper, wild instinct may help you in ways that Dog energy isn’t equipped to.

Yes, that wild instinct can be scary. As we tap into our intuition, we may find that it leads us into unfamiliar territory. In fact, it may tell us to do things that feel positively terrifying! This can make you doubt your own instincts. And in some situations, it’s possible for instincts to work against you – especially fear. In the wild, anything new is potentially dangerous. So we have a built-in distrust of change.

Wolf represents the power of tempering instinct with intellect (and vice versa). When you make a decision based on instinct, check in with your intellect first. Ask, “what is the worst thing that can happen if I do this?” Then weigh the outcome against potential benefits. You can do the same thing with your logical decisions. Check in with your gut before jumping in. Learn to trust yourself. Like a wolf crossing a river in winter, you can tune in to those red-flag feelings that tell you to beware of thin ice.

 

In the painting above, I’ve tried to capture the Wolf’s intensity of focus. The Wolf’s direct stare can be frightening, but it is also compelling. Wolf can help us zero in on our Purpose, and pursue it without allowing ourselves to get distracted. As you work with Wolf energy expect your intuition to grow stronger. You will probably become more focused on your goals and more determined in your pursuit of them.  You may find that other people in your life resist this. Be sensitive to when they are being unreasonable, and when you might be getting a little ruthless or overstepping your role. If the latter, it might help to invite some Deer energy into your life.  Gentle Deer can activate your heart chakra to balance out an overabundance of Wolf hunting energy.  Or, focus on the nurturing side of Wolf for a while. Wolves are very family-focused. They spend a lot of time nurturing, playing with, and teaching their pups. If you’ve been working intensely for a while, try taking some time off to spend with your family, or seek out a teaching or mentoring role in your work.

Speaking of which, Wolf also tells us that we are stronger and more successful when we work together towards a common goal. Whatever your goal is, look around you. You are almost certain to find someone whose goals complement yours. Why not see how you can help each other out?

 

 

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Guidepost and Growing Pain(ting)s

he thing is, it’s the less-than-perfect days that make the perfect ones possible.

Like all the days you spend going to work and earning a paycheck. Not memorable, but they pave the way for a whole week or two of wonderful vacation experiences.

Or the day you spend cleaning and cooking to make your FABULOUS holiday party a go.

Paintings can do that, too.

Did you enjoy this post? Anne

Rainbow wolf paintingYou know how some days are masterpieces? Days you remember for the rest of your life?

And other days fall short of masterpiece status, but they’re still “keepers.” The kind of day you wouldn’t mind every day being like.

But most days don’t quite make it to that level. They’re decent, but you probably won’t remember them in a month unless somebody reminds you.

And of course we all have days we wish we could do over.

The thing is, it’s the less-than-perfect days that make the perfect ones possible. 

Like all the days you spend going to work and earning a paycheck. Not memorable, but they pave the way for a whole week or two of wonderful vacation experiences.

Or the day you spend cleaning and cooking to make your FABULOUS holiday party a go.

Paintings can do that, too. 

I call them “guidepost paintings.”

Or, when they’re the kind you end up painting over, “growing pain(ting)s.”

I think this one I painted yesterday qualifies as a guidepost.

Overall, it’s OK. I like some of what’s going on with the watercolor. And I think I managed to capture the “wolf stare” I was after.

Honestly, though, I wouldn’t feature it in my portfolio.

BUT…

Now that I’m done with it, and looking at it critically, it’s tickling something deep down in my brain.

Maybe it’s the title, that came to me as I painted: “Rainbow Wolf.”

Think I’ll take that idea and run with it.

If I’m lucky, maybe it’ll lead to some keepers!

What “guidepost” experiences have you had in your life recently? Where do you think they will take you?

Coming soon: my 36-page guidebook to connecting with your totem animals! Reserve your copy here.

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Wolf Howl – digital illustration

Wolf howling at the moon digital image
Wolf howl - digital illustration

Photoshop is getting a little easier. It helped to sit my 12-year-old daughter Clara down in front of it.

“What does this tool do?”

“Uh, I don’t know.”

“Why not? Oh, that’s cool.  How about this tool? What does that do?”

“Um, never tried that either.”

“How come? Oh, awesome, check this out…”

It was kind of embarrassing. I had really intended to show her some cool stuff but she ended up instructing me!  Just through sheer curiosity, Clara managed to introduce me to the burn tool, sponge tool and several other cool Photoshop toys.

I had already nearly finished this digital wolf illustration based on a watercolor painting from a couple years ago, so the new tools only got a mini workout here, but I’m definitely looking forward to trying them out more thoroughly next time!

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Wolf painting (digital image)

wolf digital image painting
Learning to manipulate the digital pen and work in layers in Photoshop...

I’ve painted this wolf in watercolor (based on a pencil sketch from a couple of years ago), so thought I’d give it a try in Photoshop.

It came out kind of looking like a piece done in oil pastels.  I do really enjoy the fact that overworking an area doesn’t mean I’m stuck with it! In this piece I learned how to use layers to build up an image…  very different than layering with physical paint because here one has the luxury of adding to or removing any layer at any time!  And of course adding another layer won’t muss up the ones beneath it.

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