“Animals resonate with my core,” explains painter Rebecca Haines. “I am impressed by their presence, their appearance, their mystery and their message. Animals are a constant source of wisdom, wonder and spiritual awareness.”
A selection of Haines’ oil paintings focusing on a variety of animals, including deer and coyotes (some of her favorites), ravens, owls and rabbits are on exhibit in “Animystic,” which opens on May 24 at Pippin Contemporary.
Haines, who was born in Wyoming and started drawing as a young child, has been infusing animal imagery into her work for more than 15 years. Her fascination with painting animals began when a friend lent her a book about the spiritual nature of animals and people’s connection to them.
“That book inspired me to start experimenting with animal imagery and explore the diverse cultural associations attributed to creatures since the beginning of time,” Haines says.
Photos of animals may initially inspire the creation of new work, but Haines only uses them as a springboard for her original ideas. Paintings are never planned out in advance but rather develop after Haines either applies some paint or lines to a panel.
Eyes are a focal point in her work. “I’m comfortable painting eyes, since I used to paint eyes quite a lot when I created photo-realistic portraits early in my career,” she adds. ‘Once the eyes are in, the actual animal is there. Eyes bring the animal to life.”