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Wildlife Artist Eric Sweet

“My relationship to the animal spirit is the driving force behind my work and my sole motivation.”

I’ve always felt a deep spiritual connection to animals. My love for all things wild is expressed through these animal paintings. For me, nature has always been the gateway to spiritual and emotional peace. My relationship to the animal spirit is the driving force behind my work and my sole motivation.

In a world of concrete jungles I can momentarily escape the madness into the wild and connect with nature. Animals for me have always been a safe haven—gentle spirits that are in tune to the spiritual frequency we all yearn for. When I look into the eyes of an animal, whether it’s a bird, squirrel, or elephant, I feel the universe, and know I am connected to something greater than I can comprehend.

My watercolor paintings are loose and spontaneous, painted with large washes and splatter, exaggerated color, and smooth gradations. My approach with watercolors is interpretive in nature.  Put differently, these paintings take into consideration my interpretation of the animals spirit, not necessarily their true appearance. In the end, these paintings capture the animal spirit in a unique blend of realism and impressionism. For me, watercolor is the most exciting art medium. Many people think watercolor is the easiest of mediums to learn; but, that couldn’t be further from the truth! I believe it is the most misunderstood and most difficult medium to master. It requires patience, practice, technique, a lot of paper, and a love of experimentation. One of the many reasons I love watercolor is because of the quick nature of the medium. You can create an epic painting, filled with movement and life, in a relatively short amount of time. 

Less often, I use black oil paint in a dry brush technique. These paintings are created on stiff bristol board with small detail brushes and are the most realistic paintings I create. With that, comes a deep appreciation for the form of each animal, and really allows for a deep connection.

Finally, a truly expressive approach is taken to create a one-of-a-kind oil on canvas. These works are highly saturated and painted in a thick impasto manner. Layers of paint, applied thinly to quite thick, make their home on the canvas. Unconstrained exaggerated colors combine to make a surreal and abstract rendition of the subject. My fingers, brushes, and palette knives combine to create an eclectic composition of texture and feeling. The result is lifelike, in that you are immediately aware of the subject, but possess an incredible abstract texture that takes the viewer into a world of imagination.

All of these paintings are created to celebrate the diversity of life and the pure souls they all possess. I love transitioning between these different approaches; it really makes me appreciate the animals in very different ways. I hope you find a style you love!

*Volunteering at the Carolina Tiger Rescue in Pittsboro, North Carolina.

“I care not much for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.”  -Abraham Lincoln