The White Reindeer

‘Reindeer in the Snow’, (watercolour study), ©2023, Kat Healy

According to Sámi folklore, the white reindeer is often seen as a good omen or a spiritual sign, with their appearance in traditional art, poetry, and music symbolising purity, hope, and resilience.

Due to their rarity in herds, capturing a white reindeer was believed to bring luck, riches, and eternal happiness.

Though I’m in no position to offer you a magical white reindeer for the new year, I can share the above watercolour study I created at my home studio in November.

A textured piece on heavy Saunders Waterford paper using some of my favourite ‘tricks’, like salt, clingfilm and splattering.

Reindeers, I discovered, are a rather comforting subject to paint. I felt a genuine calmness while attempting to capture their soft yet hardy souls.

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Stories of the Blue Night

While scouring the net for reindeer inspiration, I stumbled upon this glorious poem by Nils-Aslak Valkeapää, a Finnish Sámi writer, musician and artist.

With its stunning free-form setting and flow, it’s as much of a visual delight as it is to read aloud.

"I have no beginning, no end"
                  and life dressed, showed off

                                    with colors




                        the North chose us

                        as did the reindeer

                        the fishes


                                they all decided

                        and we

                              were given the spring day’s marvel

                        the stories of the blue night

            the North

                          nurtured us


~ excerpt from 'Trekways of the Wind', University of Arizona Press, 1994


So, tell me, who’s ready to ring in the bells tomorrow?

Kat x

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