Skip to content

In search of the Goddess within

Before I paint someone it helps to know a bit about them. Just so that I have a better understanding of the essence of that person, to be able to incorporate it into the portrait. I don’t need to know all the tiny details of the persona, just the bare facts will help. For anyone really. Male, female, young, old, mortal or immortal….

Immortal? You ask. Certainly! A beautiful Goddess, no, more than that – seven of them!

So when I’m asked to paint a Goddess, I need to know abit about her.
When I’m asked to paint seven Goddesses, for one painting,  I need to know about each one. In some detail.

I always say that nine tenths of painting a picture, no matter how complex it is, is the thinking that goes into  it. The subject, the composition, the techniques to use, the medium, the size, the story behind the image, the whole ambience I’m trying to capture within my painting. So, seven Goddesses needs a lot of research, because I don’t know much about any of them, infact I’d only heard of three of them when I was asked to do the painting……

MMm…..some background details are needed, I realised. Start to find some more about them, to be able to capture the essence of each one… but that has made me realise that I need to read up even more on each of them, as being a Goddess is obviously a very complex thing. You’ve got a lot to be Goddess of, I’ve found, and some of them have varied and diverse connections…….

Take, for example, Hecate, the goddess associated with witches, ghosts, magic and crossroads (why crossroads I wondered, why not just roads?), torches (why torches specifically? why not just “fire”?), dogs (what’s dogs got to do with anything to do with magic, witches and ghosts?), doorways, yew, garlic, aconites,  raisin cakes (what the ?!!) masks, candles, owls, bats, trivia, sheep – particularly black female lambs apparently, snakes, boars, willows, sapphire, silver, dark moons, and specifically the number three (what a weird mix THEY all are!).

I haven’t found out much about Demeter yet, she is the Goddess of grain and fertility, ploughing and harvest, the bringer of seasons – and all of that sounds very nice and gently rural and buccolic – especially when I consider Kali!

There’s Isis – a moon goddess of medicine, wisdom, motherhood, fertility, children, reincarnation.

And Astarte – goddess of war AND fertility, love, sexual energy and desire (how on earth are THEY connected?).

And Innana – source of the earths wells, springs and rivers, she is the goddess of sexual love, fertility and warfare (ah, there’s starting to be a pattern here!) associated with lions, mating and fertility of humans and animals, and with rain and storms.

Then, there’s Kali – who seems to a bit disconcerting to me -she’s associated with eternal energy, time and change, war, death and destruction. But when I mentioned to my spiritual healer friend that I found Kali to be very dark, she told me that Kali “is actually a really nice goddess even if she DOES have the ability to be a bit stroppy”. Mm…… “stroppy” eh? She seems more than “a bit stroppy” to me!

But my favourite is Diana – the ancient lady of the beasts. Mistress of wild things, especailly anything young and vulnerable, goddess of solitude, the wilderness and the great silences of nature, she is a moon goddess, a self sufficient goddess who lives life on her own terms. She is especially a goddess of women, and all the phases of womanhood, she stands for the part of us that is at home in the wilderness, in our primitive, instinctual nature. Goddess of the hunt, associated with wild animals and woodland, swelling on high mountains and sacred woods, especially oak groves.

Mmm….. I can really relate to the goddess Diana already- I can feel what she is. I can feel her force. I’ll start with her, and see what I can see of her face, and then I’ve got to draw her and capture that essence in paint. Easy, eh?! 🙂  And that’s before I start on the others – particularly Kali!!!!

25 thoughts on “In search of the Goddess within”

  1. Lucy Felthouse

    The crossroads thing could be because in some cultures they're seen as the intersection between the living and the dead. People can contact spirits from there, and supernatural events take place.

    Also, in British folklore, criminals and those who took their own life were generally buried at crossroads. This was because the villagers wanted to bury them outside the village boundaries, and also in the hope the many roads would confuse the ghost/s. Many haunting stories happen at crossroads for this reason.

  2. Jackie Adshead

    Lucy – Ah, THAT makes a lot of sense. Thankyou for enlightening me! I'm learning a lot from doing this research and it's all absolutely fascinating!!

  3. I've had ghostly goings on in my house, felt like some thing/some one was touching me, voices, the feeling I'm not quite alone… I'm not scared at all. I know there's been a death in the house hundreds of years ago.. other spooky things have happened to other members of the house hold.. knock 3 times if you can hear me hehehehe

  4. Jackie Adshead

    Anonymous – Mmm… that would be an interesting subject to paint! 🙂

  5. Yes it would. I was playing my piano one day, I thought some one had walked in and was watchin me play. I didn't look round until I'd finished, there was no one inthe house but me… I also have a frind who had a hanging in her house, that's scary 'cuz the spot where the person died has a chilling atmosphere about it.. maybe I should get a medium in, see if they can find anything

  6. Jackie Adshead

    Anonymous – Mm… perhaps I could paint you playing the piano whilst depicting the chilling atmosphere with the ghostly presence watching you as part of the background, just a hint of something, just there, watching, and waiting …………

  7. And what music would I be playing? Moonlight Sonata first movement? Or the funeral march?

  8. Jackie Adshead

    Anonymous – I've got the music, as on a cd, but if you're referring to the musical notes on a sheet, then no, I haven't! Do you know it?

  9. Can't say I have but I'm sure I can find the music..there's only one slight problem….

  10. OK Saint Saens 'The Florence Duet!' So that one's out the window, I only have one pair hands. Any other bright ideas?

  11. Jackie Adshead

    Anonymous – I don't know "The Florence duet" is it creepy enough for the painting?

    Or……can't you play "Danse macabre" by ear, so to speak?

  12. R….ight, OK well I live in India so I'm not sure how you going to take a photo of me tickling the ivories…

  13. Jackie Adshead

    Anonymous – India, really? I thought you lived a lot closer than that……..

    You'll have to take your own photo then. By ear if possible :))))

  14. Closer ? How very interesting. I lived in England when I was just a boy. My father died, so I moved back to help the family business.

  15. Jackie Adshead

    Anonymous – Oh really. And what business would that be? Piano tuning?

  16. My family run a small business in textiles. Keeps food on the table.. pays the bills. We're not big. My grandmother is ill so we have to earn enough to pay the medcal bills. I like art but my passion is the piano. When I lived in England I had the oportunity to play… I have loved it ever since then.

  17. IVF Clinic India

    Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Comments are closed.