The healer, or Shaman, is represented throughout the mythologies of the cultures of the world with animal symbolism. Kieron (or Chiron, as he is known astrologically) is the wounded healer, a centaur, half man, half horse. The Medicine Man, wearer of feathers, takes on the qualities of the animal skulls strung round his neck. I painted this picture, and was struggling to find some expression of what I knew it said. I wanted to be truthful, and incorporate into its title a sense of renewal and healing, of strength and honesty gained. Nothing descriptive was coming to me, so I set off across the fields surrounding my home in England, on a cold, bright December day, for a long brisk walk. Returning home, coming up a hill, I spotted a muntjack deer on the horizon. We don't do big in England. This tiny delicate creature was about hip height, the size of a large dog, shy, easily spooked. We froze in unison. I hardly dared to breathe. Curious, it picked its way towards me, lifting each minute hoof into the air, pausing, stamping it down. It was exquisite. It came to within about eight feet of me, ears semaphoring, neck craned. Wild, beautiful, free; I felt honoured by its innocent acceptance of me within its landscape, for I could hear the sounds of distant gunshots as the local farmers culled their fields of pests. Eventually, it lost interest and bounded off, as if on springs, across the fields, the white flag of its tail flying. The grace of that encounter felt very, very special; that little creature, so perfect, so purely instinctually trusting, made me smile, and kept me smiling. I knew what to call my painting.
Solvent paint, powdered pigments, solvents on aluminium; 2009