CONCEPT- Completion of the Deer Series

Spring has indeed finally sprung forth, which means it is the…Native American New Year! This is Deer time…the season for the emergence of new life- seed time indeed. As for the completion of the Deer Series, I decided this would be a logical time to wrap up this longstanding affair….my mixed media composite Deer series, that is. I still have plans for future deer paintings and deer sculptures. The deer signifies newness, new knowledge and the parallel stage of a newborn baby. This series shows the deer as a magical, almost mystical creature.




In 1996, inspired by stories I was told about members of the deer clan and how they are messengers for others, I  started exploring Deer imagery in my photo collages. Then later the Deer mixed media composites came into being.  I also used to know a hunter who brought me deer meat on several occasions shortly after I moved down to Carrboro, NC. He talked about his thoughts on deer hunting and its therapeutic value. I listened and “went there” in my mind. Not too long after that, I found myself illustrating his anecdotes and calling it “DeerHunter: Contemplating the Sins of the World”, to use his exact words.


…coming soon…the entire Deer Series of 14 works!!!


My digital collage method is a slow “trial and error” process of contour cutting and mixing and matching hand rendered art with photographic elements. After that I spend a lot of time positioning and repositioning within Photoshop. It’s like a refining process where layers of meaning filter through to convey my message. This approach also allows me to explore my design and color options in a fluid way. When I’m working, my ideas tend to branch out in such a way that certain figures or elements get repeated and recombined in other pieces. You can see this clearly in the deer series.

The deer is a universally sacred being in American Indian cultures, and around the world for that matter. Throughout indian country in north, central and south America, it is considered a spirit ally of the shaman. For the Tuscarora of North Carolina, the Deer Clan is at the top of the clan totem system. Historically, the deerskin trade was of paramount importance, as was (and still is) the wearing of the deerskin dress. Originally the slang term “buck” (one dollar bill) meant one deer skin.

The deer figures represent the idea of transport on the physical plane within the realm of the living body, but with the ability to bounce between theparallel worlds of earth and sky. In certain images from this series, the deer is seen surfacing from swampy southern woodlands, emerging in its full form from the obscurity of darkness.

Venus, the morning star, is also known as the deer star. In some of the “Deer Messenger” pieces, the morning star is substituted for eyes to show the parallel cosmic world. The double helix on the forehead represents the duality of opposites, the good mind versus the bad mind, twin forces who continuously fight each other.

…coming soon…the entire Deer Series of 14 works!!!


 Deer Messenger 10
Deer Messenger 10

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