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Blue Goddess finished

I received my Amharic translation yesterday, I felt so pleased, it was as good as I’d hoped. The words translate as “Blue Female God”. I know that this art piece isn’t similar to the ancient Ethiopian Orthodox art that I like so much, but it gives my work a connection of a sort. (I was going to visit Ethiopia a few years ago with my boyfriend, but our passports went missing while applying for visas so we never made it. I’d still love to go…..one day…)

Anyway, here’s a photo of the script and my finished “Blue Goddess”. I have another piece of scaffolding board ready to sand down and work on. I think that I may keep to a similar theme.
Blue Goddess with Amharic writing
Blue Goddess written in Amharic

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Blue Goddess

The “goddess” theme has returned again. I’ve been working on a “Blue Goddess” which is painted in acrylics on a piece of wood. I visited the Brighton & Hove Wood Recycling Project hoping to find a good piece of driftwood. I liked the idea of the wood having ‘come from the sea’, it makes me think of shipwrecks, figureheads etc. I really enjoyed rummaging through their wood collection and found a suitable driftwood piece, but it was a bit expensive for my initial experiment. I finally decided on a cheap piece of scaffolding board, liking the fact that it was cracked and had knots. Back home I sanded this down ready to paint.

Inspirations for Blue Goddess

I kept having an image in my mind of a face that I can only trace to Chagall’s paintings or rather, the women in his paintings. I’ve been inspired by other things too: Fayum Mummy portraits — because they’re ancient and painted on wood panels; icons; blue buddhas; blue ‘durgas’ and lots of other blue things. The wooden statue featured in the book “The Secret Life of Bees” by Sue Monk Kidd also came to mind, as it was bestowed with sanctity.

My Blue Goddess is not yet complete. I want to inscribe it at the bottom with the words “Blue Goddess” written in Amharic. I have no real reason for choosing Amharic other than I like the script and Ethiopian religious art. I’m hoping to hear back from someone with a written translation. If you can help with it let me know!

This is what it looks like so far – with a manipulated digital version on the right!

Blue GoddessElectric Blue Goddess

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Medusa

I continue to be inspired by Greek mythology. Here is my “Medusa”:

medusa

In Greek mythology, Medusa was a gorgon, a terrifying female monster of the underworld. Those who looked directly upon her were turned to stone. The hero, Perseus, slew the gorgon by severing her neck whilst looking at her reflection in his shield instead of directly at her and so avoiding being turned to stone.

Perseus gave the Gorgon’s head to Athena, who placed it on her shield as the Aegis.

Originally, Medusa was depicted as a grotesque monster but later on in the fifth century, vase painters and sculptors created her image as a beautiful but terrifying woman.

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Water2

…the dry stone no sound of water…..

…If there were rock
And also water
And water
A spring
A pool among the rock
If there were the sound of water only
Not the cicada
And dry grass singing
But sound of water over a rock
Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees
Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop
But there is no water…

Quotes from T.S.Eliot’s poem, “The Wasteland”.

This poem has meant a lot to me since I studied it at school. The recurring theme of water and lack of it, put simply, probably symbolises “faith” to the poet. I have been looking up the many and varied symbolisms of water, but first, what inspired me to follow this thread, was my “altered book” project.

I decided to make a visual journal or art book by using an old book copy of Marivaux’s plays that I bought from a charity shop. I decided to start with a sea/water theme as it is one I’ve been drawn to before with my mermaid collages and box etc.

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Water in dreams is interesting, it often represents feelings and emotions. Like the waters of the womb, it can also represent security, life and birth. The nature of the water can reveal your emotional state of mind. For example, if you dream of crashing waves or rocky seas, this may show that your emotions are out of control. A fast flowing river may show emotions that are rushing ahead too fast but if the waters are peaceful then so are you. I have dreamt of tsunamis, big seas and fish tanks!

A more mystical meaning of deep pools and lakes of water can represent the unconscious, or the “Great Primordial Mother”.

Here is a link to an interesting article, Water Symbolism:The Great Mother and Return to the Primordial by Krista Wissing.

There is good information about water symbolism at Professor Chris Witcombe’s site.

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I got on to reading about Greek mythology and water gods and goddesses. I stumbled on a passage taken from Book X of Plato’s The Republic, about the newly dead. In the last step before rebirth into their new, self-chosen life on earth, the dead must drink from the “stream of Oblivion”, Lethe, an underworld river. Those who were not “preserved by wisdom” drank more, and as they drank they forgot everything. But if they were initiated followers of the mystical religious movement called Orphism, they were instructed to drink just a little and then find and drink from the river of memory, Mnemosyne. In so doing they secured an end to the transmigration of the soul.

This picture is my own loose interpretation, “Drinking from the Stream of Memory”.

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Taking steps to paint 2

Perhaps I should call this blog “Flounderings of an untrained artist”. Anyway, I’ve progressed a bit with my painting. My boyfriend said the angels looked smokey so I’m calling it “Smokey Angels”.
smokey angels

The angel on the right needs a bit more definition. It’s a start.

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Outlined images

I have been looking back over my inspirations and the different phases I’ve been through in the past few years as far as my creativity is concerned. Recently I’ve felt like doing a self portrait image for a new start as I’ve seen similar sketches on other peoples’ blogs. I thought that if I did a self portrait, it may just be an outline with nothing inside it. This immediately reminds me of when I was in a training session many years ago with the brighton organisation, ‘Carousel’, that does creative work with people with learning disabilities. It was an art therapy session and we were told to do symbolic images of how we see ourselves using imagery, words or whatever else we fanced. I knew exactly what I wanted to do, an outline representing myself with nothing inside it but lots of colours and ‘life’ on the outside. It was unlike anyone elses.

nullI returned to this simple image when going through what I like to think of as my ‘goddess’ phase. I was initially inspired by an image Rainbow Bodhisattva by the artist Vijali Hamilton which she did on a cave wall in Show Terdrom, Tibet. In her words:

Shoto Terdrom is a place where Buddhist nuns live as hermits in one of Tibet’s most beautiful and sacred places. In a vacant cave, I carved and painted the Rainbow Bodhisattva, an androgynous figure filled with prisms of color, seated in the lotus posture. Her/his legs were molded from the red clay of the cave floor. Neither a Buddha nor a Kuan Yin, this is an energy body, symbolizing the underlying energy connecting everything, the level at which our inner space merges with the space around us.

Her work is amazing, check out her website here. I’ve always liked prehistoric cave art as well and venus figurines, so it wasn’t much of a jump to becoming interested in the ‘goddess myth’.

I read Anne Baring’s ‘The Myth of the Goddess’ and other related material and took note of women ‘goddess’ artists. I think that I was also inspired by statuetes of the Cretan Snake Goddess that I’d seen in museums on Crete. But my image morphed into a ‘buddess’ and from there into an epiphanic, outlined figure, sometimes dancing, sometimes an angel at one with a moon or other planet. It’s an empty simple figure but its whole.I don’t think it’s good art, but it’s what happened/s, it’s just purely work from inside myself, done in my own basic way.

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Taking steps to paint

I have got out a new canvas to begin a painting at last. I keep getting images in my mind and don’t want to hold back any longer. I did want to try new techniques, styles or improve my work somehow but it seems that the best way to progress is just to DO even if the result is not how I’d like. So I’ve been sorting through bags of cord, candlewick and leaves that I collected and pressed in the autumn and listening to Michael Nyman’s “Prospero’s Books” music while arranging them on the canvas, working on the floor as usual.

new-painting-in-process.jpg

It seems like my theme will be similar to my painting “Siren” with underwater figures (underwater ‘angels’), weedlike threads and a moon image. I haven’t finished with this sort of theme yet, it keeps recurring and I feel that it’s where I’m at at the moment. I’m curious about why I put the moon in so many of my pictures; it seems to feature in many of the artworks I’ve seen on blogs and elsewhere. Mine will be an underwater moon in this painting.

Continuing with water, I’ve decided to change my blog name; I like the title image and its associations.

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New year 2010

It’s been a long time since I wrote anything so I thought I’d start the year with the resolution of writing more. Last year was a difficult year despite my doing some interesting things; I just couldn’t engage with it all, perhaps there was too much happening or the timings of things was all wrong. Anyway, this year has begun OK, quietly and with the snow which, I surprise myself by saying, I’m enjoying.

I launched into printing and selling cards last year and that keeps ticking over. I did another design in the “Spirits of Nature” series, which I’m calling “Holly Man”. It’s a Winter/Christmas version of the Green Man and I’ve just used it for my website home page so far, but I’ll consider having it made into a card for next year.

holly man

I’m now keen to get back into doing some art. I stumbled on a whole series of blogs that I find really inspiring, namely ‘Contemplating the Moon’ and ‘Beyond Words’. Both women bloggers make visual books and diaries and this is something that I really want to develop. I’m a diary writer and have been since the age of thirteen but it’s been mainly words with just a few pictures and photographs. Now I want to add more art to my books which can mean experimenting with mixed media, painting, collage and even encaustics. The latter is an ancient technique involving painting with beeswax often pigmented with colour. Bridgette Guerzon Mills’ blog has been a great source of inspiration for this.

So this new year I’ll take quietly. I’ll experiment and be braver about writing even when things aren’t going my way. Watch this space and have a Happy New Year.

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