In Greek & Roman mythology Actaeon was a huntsman which one fateful day found Artemis (Diana) the goddess of the moon and the chase (hunt) bathing naked with her entourage of naked nymphs in a spring.  He may or may not have enjoyed the view (which he likely did).  Artemis (Diana) on the other hand was not so impressed, immediately assumed he was a peeping Tom, and promptly transformed the young man into a stag, which was equally promptly killed by her hunting hounds… Well, mythology aside, the drama is always good for painting.

I actually got inspired to paint the stag after reading the book ‘Brendon Chase’, a story about three teen brothers that run away to Brendon Chase woodland to live off the woods.  In the book the elder teen dreams of being able to kill the elusive stag that he kept seeing fleetingly throughout his stay in the woods.  Sadly, at the end of the book he finally shots this magnificent animal and the meat is eaten on Christmas day.  I enjoyed the brothers in the story managing to live successfully of the woods, and indeed respecting the woods, and although there are now too many of us and too little habitat left for such lifestyle to be viable in most countries on Earth, respect for habitat and the way food is produced and consumed is a necessity.  There is far too much waste and far too many without food.  But it is not too late for reason to prevail.

By the way the myth does not specify if Artemis (Diana) and her entourage enjoyed a venison meal after the incident…

Actaeon, 2019

Actaeon, 2019 (Watercolour)