I haven't been around these parts much of late, but recently I got to see the original 'Monarch of the Glen' oil painting at Paisley Museum and I thought I'd share him here.
Painted by Sir Edward Henry Landseer circa 1851, our monarch is vital and arresting; not one of those disappointingly tiny real-life paintings like the Mona Lisa.
I mean yes she's impressive too of course, but it's nice to be able to take a step back and really see the image clearly, drink it in like it deserves and then step in closer to see the brush work and the cracks in the oil paint that mark the passage of time.
You can almost hear the rasp of his breath; smell the musky scent of his perspiration.
Sunlight catches the tips of his nostrils, the sheen of his flank and the tips of his antlers. He's a fine beast, proud of his reign over 'his' glen.
Elusive and alert, you'd never catch him in the same place twice.
Mountains and hills and bracken and woodland are his domain, come spring or snow. He's the boss of them all and nothing else matters but the next meal and evading predators.
Made famous through his connection with Dewar's whisky (and then the TV series 'Monarch of the Glen'), this royal heir to the Scottish Highlands is a symbol of strength and virility. I love the purple hue of the mountain backdrop too - Scotch mist at its best, hinting at crisp spring mornings or autumn afternoons with scenic views rippling into the distance.
Art inspired by local school groups was on display around the gallery, featuring their own interpretations of the stag. I particularly loved the poetry inspired by the painting, also by local school children.
Art inspires poetry and poetry inspires art. I love how so many genres of creative expression are linked and flow into each other seamlessly.
'The Monarch of the Glen' is particularly inspiring with just a central focal point of the stag. Something I need to remind myself often: less is more but in this case, it isn't less at all.
The best bit? I got him all to myself.
Just me and the museum attendant keeping watch.
Oh, and my newborn baby boy. He was asleep in his car seat, but one day I'll tell him all about The Monarch of the Glen.
Catch him quick - on until 11th March 2018 at Paisley Museum before he continues his royal tour.