Like wanting to hang on to the last stolen minutes with a lover, I don’t want to say goodbye. I want to stay, in the comfort of their presence, staring into their eyes, gaining comfort from their connection………. So it is with a form of sad regret that I have to say farewell, and walk away with a lingering glance, and to say to myself that I can do no more. That’s it. It’s finished.
But the sadness of that part is replaced with something else. A feeling of creation. Of a maternal pride in the beauty of birth.
The birth of a painting.
Its taken me two months in the creation. From the first formed ideas rising from the request for a painting of seven Goddesses – Astarte, Diana, Isis, Hecate, Demeter, Kali and Innana. But the guy who has requested it knew at the time that he was asking a big thing of me. He KNEW it was going to be difficult, a challenging painting, something that few artists could do. He knew that he wanted a woman to paint it for him since only a woman could put the feminine into it, and it is SUCH a feminine painting. He tells me its taken him years to find me.
I’m glad he did.
It took me almost three weeks of research to find out about them all…. their characters and personalities:
Kali is the Indian goddess associated with eternal energy, the bright fire of truth, her three eyes represent the sun moon and fire with which she can observe the three modes of time – past, present and future. She is a gentle mother and fierce warrior, a manifistation of the divine mother. She destroys only to recreate. She destroys sin, ignorance and decay. She is beyond time and space. She is the death of death. She is also associated with intense sexuality, she is the Hindu goddess of creation, protection and destruction.
Innana is the ancient Sumerian mother goddess who combines earth and sky. She is powerful, self sufficient, passionate. She is a representation of the many facets that go into being a woman and the myriad roles they play, as well as a guide to the dark places of psychological and spiritual death and disintegration. She is a goddess of sexual love, fertility and warfare. Associated with lions, she is courageous.
Demeter is the Greek goddess of grain and fertility, she is the pure nourisher of youth and the health giving cycle of life and death. She is the bringer of the seasons, the goddess of harvest. Nurturer of mankind, goddess of compassion, a kind goddess grieving for her lost daugher Persephone causes winter each year. Great joys and sorrows are her reminder.
Astarte is the ancient Phoenician great mother goddess, Queen of Heaven. The guiding star, she is the goddess of love and sexual desire. She is pride in feminine being, a celebration of the abundance that comes from the energy of a woman in touch with herself and her body. Associated with the moon, she is a beautiful and dangerous goddess. She is both life and death. She has inner strength, wisdom, independance and spirit that gives birth to our creativity and encourages us with our successes. She is both the maiden and mother goddess and personifies the passion of life, the beauty of mother earth and the sacredness of all being.
Isis is the ancient Egyptian goddess, ideal mother and wife. Patron of nature and magic, and giver and sustainer of all life, saviour of all people, goddess of medicine and wisdom. She is considered the goddess of rebirth and reincarnation, protector of the dead. She represents total feminity, she can overcome death itself but is not above grief as one of her tears shed while Osiris lay dying caused the Nile to flood. A wonderful image of the goddesses ability to give and restore life she underscores the depth of emotion that even a goddess must feel.
Hecate is a Greco-Roman goddess associated with magic, witches and ghosts. She is Queen of the Night, honoured and feared as the protectress of the oppressed and those who lived on the edge. Guardian of the household, she is protector of everything newly born. She has power over storms, lover of solitude, a virgin goddess, beautiful, shining and luminous. Walking the roads at night visiting cemetaries, a will o the wisp, she can see into the past present and future. Spirit of black magic with the power to conjure up dreams, prophecies and phantoms. She is goddess of trivia. Farsighted, a protector of women. Familiar with the process of death and dying as well as new life, she reminds us of the importance of change and helping to release the past.
Diana is goddess of the light, perpetual virgin of the hunt, an emblem of chastity. She has strength, athletic grace and beauty. She is associated with wild things and especially responsible for anything young and vulnerable. Goddess of solitude, comfortable with the wilderness, she represents the mystic primitive identity of the hunter and hunted. She is a moon goddess, she stands for the virgin, a self sufficient goddess who lives life on her own terms. She is related to all phases of female existence. She is part of our primitive, instictive nature, she is the midwife and protector of the divine child within.
So………… after finding about about each of them, I had to then create them as recognisable images, because the instructions from the client was for them all to be easily known from JUST their faces, since that was all he wanted me to depict. Mmm….. difficult.
But, after drawing out preliminary drawings, I could see that each one had their own personality. My decision to do the painting in oils was a good one, as it meant that I could make any subtle changes that were needed to show each goddess, and to pull them all together within the image, since it was about ALL of them, not one being any more prominent than another. And oils is easier to paint in to achieve that effect.
Doing the watercolour practice painting ensured that the background pulled them all together, and I used that as the basis of the idea for my oil painting. Since then, I’ve been working on it, building up each face, pulling the whole lot together. Parts have gone really well, other parts have had to be worked at. Isis’s teardrop is the most clever thing I’ve ever painted. It LOOKS like its standing out from the painting, it is exquisite in its simple perfection.
I’ve also incorporated earth, air, fire and water within the painting. They are as much part of the painting as the goddesses are.
There are some artistic tricks within the painting – the yellow paint around Kali is “Indian yellow” which I thought very apt! Isis is connected with lapis lazuli – otherwise known as cobalt blue – and that is what her face is painted in. Innana is connected with lions and her face is painted in a suitable lion colour. Hecate is luminous, and favours offerings of garlic hence her face being the colours of garlic, and the number three is also associated with her so she has three white lines flowing away from her.
So now you know all that, you can tell who is who from the painting, can’t you?
I just hope the client likes it!
Oh, and its title? “Goddesses of the divine feminine”
Postscipt: I’ve just seen the client and he’s just seen the painting, and he LOVVVES IT!!!!!! YAAAAYYY!!!!!