“And thou who thinketh to seek for me, know thy seeking and yearning
shall avail thee not, unless thou knoweth the mystery; that if that
which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never
find it without thee.For behold, I have been with thee from the
beginning; and I am that which is attained at the end of desire." - The Charge of the Goddess-
Revealing the Goddess Within
I imagine every artist creates a self portrait sooner or later, despite their medium or any physical resemblance to the artist recognizable in the final result. After all, as we were manifested at the will of the Creator, we too are innately driven to recreate in our own image, whether by bringing children into the world, creating visual, written or musical art, or simply infusing our life and work with personal energy.
The paint is barely dry on this piece, and yet she has been in the making longer even than my Big Bang Goddess. She is, in fact, my first attempt in the acrylic medium and my first human figure if I don’t count the years of children’s stick figures followed by a lengthy period of cartoon like faces exploring the significance of eyebrow shape and placement to convey emotion.
The early renditions of this portrait were full of beginner’s mistakes; shadows inconsistent with the direction of light source, flat dimensions and skewed proportions. While I wasn’t exactly satisfied with the result, I was none the less proud of my attempt and oddly attached to her. My young daughter's astute observation that I'd painted a self portrait explained my attachment, even though I continued to deny the obvious.
About five years ago I accepted and embraced the possibility that she was me, more so, she was the Goddess revealing Herself as manifested in me. Then in my vision collage phase I decided the best way to express myself in this piece was plastering it with images and words to describe myself. This version hung prominently in my personal space, where I could study it and contemplate its message. I had no idea the piece wasn’t done or that it was becoming collaboration, with the Goddess muse shaping my vision of myself.
When I was ready to paint Her this time, I removed as many of the collage elements as I could, save for a few that I though significant. All but one of the images I’d left pasted on eventually loosened beneath the wet paint and had to be peeled off. It didn’t matter, my muse told me. The energy of the images and words remained. Even more, the energy increased with every brush stroke, directed from the Goddess within through the wand-like brush into the essence of the painting.
The basic composition of the piece is the same, yet the original has been completely painted over. Now it is not only a self portrait, but in its layers it has become a history of my transformation, of my spiritual walk with the Goddess. She is both a reflection of my physical form and a representation of the feminine divine manifest in me. She carries the confidence of the Crone, the passion, purpose and pizzazz of my MAD Goddess.
She is born of the union of Goddess and God, a child of the sun and moon, light and dark, life and death. The balanced energies of the universe are her sacred source – the words I’d clipped from a magazine and the one element that remained pasted to the canvas, despite layers of paint. As a final touch, I embellished the lettering with gold ink.
She stands before the Goddess, naked and vulnerable yet trusting the process, knowing that all manner of things shall be well for the Goddess is ever at work within all of us. In her Crone wisdom,she knows that all life experiences, both good and bad, shape us as individuals, determining who we show up as, what we bring into life and to what we give life.
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