The past few days, I have barely seen the sun around my home. The middle of November is usually a cold time in Germany, a time when the sun stays hidden behind thick grey clouds, and the trees sway gently in the mists. Nature is becoming more and more silent – preparing for a long night’s winter. There is a melancholic beauty to this time of the year.
Funnily, this is the time I feel most inspired to paint. Maybe it is the play of contrasts, the synthesizing of opposites that makes me crave for bright colors and light. Remembering the golden days in October when the sun illuminated the autumn leaves, I smile. All these memories flow into the painting that has been patiently waiting for me to return to my easel.
This is the painting of the Lionheart. A painting about a brave heart allowing itself to shine from within.
About the Lion
I’ve wanted to paint lions for a long time. They are part of a larger series of spirit animals that flow into a future card deck. The lion can’t miss in this collection -its energy is so potent and valuable for us.
The majestic vibrant mane of the lion made it a natural solar symbol for many cultures around the world. The lion became a symbol of courage, strength, and fearlessness, as well as the power of Kings and entire Nations. Their medicine can support us a lot in banishing fear of creative self-expression – it invites us to be brave and honest, to live in integrity and take responsibility for our lives.
Lions roar loud enough to declare their presence and claim their territory. But they are also known for their watchfulness. The lioness will stalk silently when she needs to sneak up on her prey.
I wanted to contain both the lion and the lioness in my painting, because their energies are quite different. To me, the lion appears more like a guardian spirit and a shining star. The lioness acts as a huntress and protector.
The lion cub also found its way into the painting. To me, it stands for a curious, playful spirit that wants to explore the world. It sets out on a journey of discovery while sunflowers line its path – a symbol of optimism and vitality.
To sum it up, the piece became both about childish play and reclaiming sovereignty - honoring the child and the adult within. It became about summer and autumn – about following the sun with a joyful heart, and letting go of what’s no longer needed (the autumn leaves falling from the lion’s mane)
The heart in the center is a symbol of abundance and courage. It is an invitation to show ourselves authentically, and to allow ourselves to be fully seen – in our strength and our vulnerability. We cannot have one without the other.
Some seed questions guided me throughout the creation process:
How can I keep the child within alive without avoiding responsibility?
How can I protect and nurture the soft side in me so that it can flourish to its highest potential?
How to keep the inner fire burning when everything around us feels draining?
When is the time to roar and claim our space, and when is the time to remain watchful and stalk silently?
About the Creation Process and honoring flow
On these grey November days, I immersed myself in the lion painting and the lessons it wanted to teach me.
The most important lesson was the creation process itself. The lion painting needed a lot of space and time to rest before it could evolve into its final version.
There were quite a few blockages on the way – and to be honest, the process has been frustrating at times. There was this subtle feeling that something wasn’t quite right – like the energy in the painting was somehow disturbed.
After a few days of rest, I realized that it was about the bright sunshine rays in the upper right corner of the painting. I have spent a lot of time and effort to paint the brightness – just to realize that they drew the attention of the viewer away from the lions.
This sun, no matter how beautiful it was, interrupted the flow of the painting – so finally I decided to overpaint it and let it go, in spite of all the efforts and the fact that I liked it very much.
The lesson in this process was crucial: sometimes, it is important to step away and let go of some things we got attached to – even if the thing itself is bright and beautiful. It is important to see the bigger whole – and to honor the overall flow of a painting. Sometimes, less is more, too much is too much (a lesson that repeats itself for me all the time!)
After I covered the sun, the attention returned to the lions’ head and the blooming heart in the center– the lions themselves became the shining sun they were always meant to be. :-)
Painting "Lionheart", Acrylic on Canvas, 50x70cm, November 2021
Original available, contact me for inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org