Monday, May 31, 2010

WIP "The Gifting"

I had this plan to do the three fates of Greek mythology one at a time. I was going to start with Clotho, the fate that holds the distaff and begins the weaving of the fate of each human. I am intrigued by the fates, and other web/weaving goddesses like Ariadne. They are often connected to the stars and spiders. Also the word faerie is derived from the Latin fata, or fate. It has been speculated by many that actual faeries were "people" with the gift of second sight, or the ability to see the future.
I wanted to do my Clotho in a very modern way or another one of my "pop surrealistic" goddesses. I started to work on the pencil sketch on a larger size (for me) 24x36 canvas.

I struggled with her face a little more than usual. Something about her really bothered me. I decided to give her my bangs for some reason. I almost think she looked too much like me and that was what was bothering me. I erased her face more than a few times and finally decided to just let it go and she would evolve once I started painting.

I sometimes do my sketches with a water soluble graphite pencil that does not need to be fixed before you add the acrylic paint. It ends up just blending away with the paint. For this painting I used regular old graphite and sprayed it with a fixative before I painted. I thought I wanted to leave a lot of the graphite lines showing, but now I am wishing I would have put a light coat of white gesso over it to dim the pencil lines a little; you live and you learn I guess. Here she is with an added hand:

I have drawn a barn owl in the background that I planned to be bringing her the beginning of the thread. I wanted it to be as if she was chosen by nature to have the gift of sight. As I am looking more and more at it though, I am thinking about making the thread that the owl is holding a snake instead. I guess I haven't quite gotten over my snake obsession yet. Here she is with some background color:

I finally started to like her face and her general look. I am not really sure if she is still Clotho, maybe just an ambiguous woman being gifted by the Otherworld. I still feel for some reason there is more of me in her than normal.

This is the last photo I took of her. I have since added a delicate off the shoulder blouse on her. I hardly ever dress my girls so I thought I would play around with some fabric. I need lots of practice with fabric folds. I am excited about this one now, I wasn't at first. Funny how your work can evolve sometimes into more than you expected when the idea was first birthed.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Well, at least I think I am done with her. I worked and worked on her, and changed elements on it over and over. I think I am fairly happy with how she turned out, but my self critic was out in full force with this one towards the end.

I wanted to go into some of the symbolism and my reasoning on this one. Tiamat is usually drawn as a three headed dragon, but I wanted to do this with my own impressions on the myth, and not rely on what I could read in Wikipedia. In the Sumerian myth the generation of creator gods that Tiamat is a part of is referred to as the "Ancient Ones". I believe that these Ancient Ones might have been another race, maybe like the Elven or an Elder race. A less fanciful idea is that they were a matriarchal people that were overtaken by a more warrior-like Patriarchal people. Again the passage that inspired the piece:
"Know that Tiamat seeks ever to rise to the stars, and when the upper is united with the lower, then a New Age will come to the Earth, and the Serpent shall be made whole again, and the waters will be as One."
I believe that this passage is talking a lot about humans having the ability to walk in both worlds, or uniting the spiritual and the material parts of ourselves. This is what we are all asked to do right now. I personally find it a very hard task. I seem to swing from one world to the next, and can not remain in both at once very often.
The stars represent the spiritual, and the lower world is our lower selves, or material selves. Tiamat seeks to rise to the stars, but is held down because the serpent is not one. I represent the serpent in this painting with a coral snake in an ouroboros style. The ouroboros is a well known symbol of the goddess energy. It's mouth represents it's positive active energy, and it's tail represents it's passive negative energy. When it bites it's own tail it is neutralized, it becomes the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I used a coral snake here because they are venomous. When it reaches it's tail it will be one, and neutralized. The masculine aggressive energy neutralized by the feminine.
There are many myths all over the world of an ancient race of wise people known as Serpents or Dragons. I believe this is why Tiamat was called a Dragon, she was part of these ancient wise people that possibly disappeared when the Patriarchal societies took over. Also, the ley lines that run under the earth are often referred to as Dragons. We must be able to converse with these Dragons under the ground and with the stars above to bring on the New Age. Many of those myths that talk about the ancient wise serpent people talk about them retreating underground, like in the myths of the Tuatha de Danann. So maybe they are or were physical beings that went "underground", or maybe they are the Dragon energy that runs through the arteries of our great Gaia. It is something I ponder a lot.
In the painting behind Tiamat's masculine side is a pair of ducks. Ducks represent an energy that lives in water, on land, and in the sky. They are showing us how to walk in both worlds. On her feminine side there is lost of plants and Earth energy. It is the energy of the Earth that helps us connect to the Feminine energy needed to neutralize our abundance of material energy.
Tiamat has three eyes instead of three heads here I suppose. The third eye of course is an Eastern symbol for obtaining inner vision and wisdom. The mist surrounding her represents the veil that surrounds us all and keeps us from seeing beyond the physical world. She is also rising up out of the ocean, or the unconscious. This is what the goddess has been doing for sometime now, rising out of the depths of our unconscious. Tiamat is one of the most ancient goddesses known. When she has fully risen out of our collective unconscious, a New Age will truly be upon us.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tiamat WIP

I was totally struck by a quote from the ancient Sumerian myth and decided to paint Tiamat. She is the creatrix goddess of the Sumerian cylce. She is connected to serpents and dragons and was killed by her own grandson Marduk. Possibly this is another myth symbolizing the matriarchy being destroyed by the patriarchy, but like most ancient myth, the symbolism is multi-layered. Here is the quote that I couldn't get out of my head:
"Know that Tiamat seeks ever to rise to the stars, and when the upper is united with the lower, then a New Age will come to the Earth, and the Serpent shall be made whole again, and the waters will be as One."
I will go more into my interpretation of that when I have completed Tiamat, but for now I will just post my WIP pics. You will get to see how nuerotic I can be with my backgrounds with this progression.

The above image shows my graphite underdrawing. It is just a rough sketch and the painting usually morphs into something a little different looking than the sketch.

Here I have started to give her a little color and decided to go with black hair again.

More color added. I was thinking I wanted a drippy background here, but was really feeling unsatisfied with it. Basically, at this step, I had no idea what to do with the background. I like to paint the women sort of realistic with a lot of detail and make them the main focus. I like my backgrounds to be more abstract, but I never really know exactly how they will turn out. It is a lot of trial and error.

At this stage I decided to forget the drip, and go with a solid dark blue background.

At this stage I added some kind of circle thingys with drips. I am not sure really why except they look kind of cool. I will come up with some esoteric meaning later maybe. I do plan to paint yet another snake around her in an ouroboros style. I guess the circles will reflect that. I am feeling the power of this goddess and having a great time working on her. Hopefully I will have her done and posted by the end of this week.
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