I recently met a black panther living in the Amazon rainforest during my afternoon meditation.
He conveyed a feeling of aching and longing for home as he had been taken to another country and was very unhappy. It was a strange conversation, a much different reaction compared to others who approach me after I offer an invitation asking animals wishing to have their portrait, and messages for humanity, to please step forward. As his image appeared, I felt his sorrow as he paced. I wanted so badly to return him to the Amazon. Before closing in gratitude, I promised I would create him in his beloved home and hopefully convey his message to the world regarding poaching and trophy hunting and donate the funds.
I began the portrait, “Welcome Rain,” by searching for reference material resembling what he showed me during the communication. A lush screen of glossy plants close to water, with him seated quietly and happily within. I purchased several stock images and used them as reference. I made a few sketches until I had it as close to what I saw in my meditation and began.
I blocked out the canvas much like a painting, marking the horizon line, and working background to foreground. I chose dyed silk for the sky and water and dyed silk floss to hand embroider the water. The confetti sky was created with snips of satin with a tulle overlay to softly diffuse and blur it.
Next, I began working on the plants behind the cat choosing fabrics for their interesting qualities and patterns. I love to fussy cut all the dramatic parts, allowing all colors and shapes to come together.
I marked each plant and thread painted the sections using Aurifil 50 wt. threads. I added darker fabrics for shadows on the foliage. After completing the background, I carefully marked the panther’s anatomy with a yellow Sewline™ pen and began to sculpt in the lights and shadows using over thirty shades of threads.
An embroidery hoop helped me to focus on small sections and kept the fabrics smooth. I carefully added details to his eyes, nose and mouth before embroidering his body. The eyes truly are the window to the soul and I felt him sighing once completed.
After I finished free-motion embroidery on the panther, I selected bright fabrics for the foreground. Using my plant photo references, I cut and pinned the fabrics slowly starting with the plants furthest away and moving towards the front.
If you look close you will see I used a heavier 12 wt. Aurifil thread for the veins and highlights of the leaves. This allows the details to really “pop.”
Finally, I added his whiskers in Aurifi 12 wt. grey and my signature in a bottom right leaf. Now he is ready for mounting and I have selected an elegant black ceramic frame.
As an animal communicator I have learned to distance myself from pain and suffering. It is not with indifference to their plight. It is in order to remain healthy and have the energy to continue to offer aid were I can.
We must rise above the suffering to help as many as possible, it’s a commitment I’ve made with the animal kingdom.