Hello, my name is Ashleigh. I live in Nevada City, in northern California with my two furry Angel Doggies, Ely and Nanny. I have been painting since I was a kid, but in 2006 I was inspired to bring a spiritual focus to my painting – both the process and the paintings themselves. More recently, I’ve been inspired to paint animals with a spiritual focus; both pet companions and animal totems or spirit guides of all kinds, including nature itself.
About ten years ago, I started practicing yoga and meditation through which I started to feel a peace and joy that I never had before and it started to come through in my paintings. Before, my artwork was dark and lacked a clear purpose. The process of painting was scattered and emotional. As I continued with yoga and meditation, I brought yogic principles into my paintings and the process of painting. Now, I paint only what uplifts me, makes me feel joyful, and ultimately brings me closer to God. Even if I have a bad day, I paint to transmute emotions and find my center again.
I meditate before I paint to connect with the Divine and, in so doing, each of my paintings have been inspired or enhanced. A book that helped me with this and to bring an even greater spiritual depth and clarity to my painting was “Art Has a Hidden Message” by J. Donald Walters.
“… by art I mean not the arts – painting, sculpture, music, and literature – but that subtle attunement which is needed in every activity if one is to achieve the highest success.”
– Art as a Hidden Message by J. Donald Walters pg.39
Now I am focusing more on painting animals and spirit companions of all kinds. I have always felt very close to animals because of their sweet and genuine natures. I know many other people feel the same. I have two dogs and they truly live up to dogs’ reputation as loyal, best friends. They give me so much unconditional love and allow me to do the same for them.
In addition, I find animals in nature to be inspirational and conveyers of wisdom. When I am going through a tough time, I might see an owl that reminds me to be like it – unafraid and able to navigate through darkness. A squirrel might scurry across my path warning me to do something that will better prepare me for a challenge I am facing.
Painting animals gives me a way to honor their special gifts to me and to our world. Painting animals also provides a reminder of the love of a dear pet companion or important and needed qualities of an animal totem.
I hope you enjoy these paintings! I feel I am just an instrument through which these images come into this world. Each one, I feel, comes forward to radiate beauty, love, and joy and sometimes even a special message to someone.
Peace and Blessings. Om.