helenic: (Default)

Right, so, that drunken painting session? We were in the kitchen, I was adding spirals to the mermaid's tail, [livejournal.com profile] cyrus_ii was doing something arcane with a coin and an electric file (actaully it might have been a mini angle-grinder, I couldn't quite tell) and [livejournal.com profile] romauld was smoking. I stopped working on the mermaid but wanted to keep painting, so [livejournal.com profile] romauld asked if he could suggest an image for me to paint. I said sure. He started to describe a scene, but I was slightly too tired and slightly too drunk to follow what he was saying and remember it well enough to reproduce it, so I got him to slow the description down, and I painted what he described at high speed, as he described it. I haven't done ten-minute paintings since the last time I went to a life drawing class. Here's what we came up with between us:



Brief: A rolling landscape in the foreground, green and summery. Midsummer sunrise on the horizon. On the crest of a hill on the right, an oak tree in full leaf. A lowing stag silhouetted against the dawn.
[livejournal.com profile] romauld's comment: The tree was meant to be much smaller, and also silhouetted. The stag is good though.
My comment: OH GOD NEVER LET ME DO LETTERING. EVER. Especially when [livejournal.com profile] cyrus_ii is around and could have done it instead. ESPECIALLY WHEN I AM DRUNK.

four more, each one drunker and more inept than the last! )

helenic: (Default)

Called Candid Arts this morning about the October art and design fair (a big event, not the same as the weekly markets) to ask if they had any spaces left for volunteers. They said in general, they weren't offering free stalls to volunteers, but rather a 30% commission on sales instead of an up-front fee. I'd be happy with that, but sadly they don't think they're offering any for the first weekend of the fair, which is the one for painting/fine arts and therefore the one I'd be interested in. The others are all design, textiles, jewellery etc. They said if they did decide to offer any stalls on that basis they'd bear me in mind, but they don't think they will. I suspect they've got enough people willing to pay that they don't need to.

I am hungover today. Last week, when I realised that I hadn't had a day properly off since Glade - I've had days not working, but they've all been spent moving house and going to weddings - I promised myself I'd take two days off after the art fair to watch films and sleep and recover. This morning, I realised that I just can't afford to. Once I've got some paid work lined up, or I've sold a painting, then I will stop. Until then, I can look after myself, but I can't take two days completely off. So I am not in bed, I am pottering and drinking tea and planning, answering my modelling emails in the hopes of booking a shoot or two, and scanning in new artwork.

I went round to Straylight last night to see people, because I wanted chats and company and wine. The Snug is a fantastic work space, productive and private, but not terribly good for socialising or relaxing, yet. It was lovely to see people - the usual suspects, plus a cute pagan historian from Yorkshire called Lizzie, whom I may have rambled at drunkenly, and also [livejournal.com profile] sashagoblin, which was a lovely surprise. I got there late and she left before she turned into a pumpkin, so we didn't get as long as I'd have liked, but I am looking forward to seeing her again at Planet Angel next weekend. Which I am facepainting at, again - hoorah! :)

I really, really needed a drink, so Chris very kindly bought me a bottle of white wine since I couldn't afford to buy anything myself. Which I then proceeded to drink all of. I ranted about the art fair, and then started talking enthusiastically about my pagan card/calendar ideas. Somewhere along the line, asking Chris if, in theory, he could help me with the symbolism for some of the festivals I'm less knowledgeable about turned into me spreading out the whole of my DruidCraft tarot deck in order on the bed in three concentric circles.



Inner circle - Major arcana. The journey of the soul through initiation and rebirth. Spirituality, abstract concepts. The inner universe. Faery, the non-physical realm, the innermost (and outermost) ring of druidic cosmology, outside time.

Middle circle - Court cards. The self, facets of identity. People, personalities. The human realm. Relationships, interaction.

Outer circle - Minor arcana. The physical realm - real life, the mundane and day to day things. The external world, the measurable universe as it exists in time.

What you can do is spread them out in a wheel so that the Ace of Pentacles is the Winter Solstice, the Ace of Swords is the Spring Equinox, the Ace of Wands is the Summer Solstice, and the Ace of Cups is the Autumn Equinox. The minor arcana then create the wheel of the year, with the four major pagan festivals falling on the Sixes. The court cards for each suit are spread out evenly around the four quadrants/seasons, with the Princesses aligned with the Aces. Then the Trumps are spread out with The World/The Fool aligned with the Winter Solstice, and The Wheel/Justice aligned with the Summer Solstice. You can then read symbolic correspondences between all the cards in terms of where they fall in the pattern. It was AWESOME. Things fit in really cool ways.

It's not completely perfect, but that has only inspired me to make it all fit even better when I design my own tarot deck. I was hoping that the seasons would be immediately visually obvious from the colouring on the cards, and they aren't, although the trees on all the cards are mostly at the right time of year for the seasons they fall in. I want to design a deck which is coded chromatically into this pattern, and I'd want to add an extra ring, for the four-part goddess/lunar cycle and how that fits in with the wheel of the year, with full moon falling on Beltane and new moon falling on Samhain, and I'd want any moons appearing on the cards to be in the right phase for where that card is in the wheel.

Oh, it was awesome though. We got very excited, and I made LOTS of notes and now have at least eight designs in mind for each of the festivals, and several for some of them. I am going to aim to produce a set of Yule cards in the next couple of months, and then work on the rest over the next year. So this is going to be a general eclectic Wiccan/druidic print set, but I have so many ideas of other themes I can do. Like a Heathen set, and a fairy set, and a goddess/lunar set ... I am very excited :)

Anyway, by the time we'd finished with that I was drunk and giddy, and proceeded to get drunker and giddier. At some point in this process art happened. This resulted in OMG SPONTANEOUS SPEED PAINTING with Chris dictating images and me getting what he was describing down on paper as fast as I could. I had to get [livejournal.com profile] cyrus_ii to help with the people because I am rubbish at figures from imagination. And of course the drunker and tireder we got the worse the paintings got. But! So cool! I want to do more painting like that.

helenic: (moon : mirror)

This is the first in a series of Goddess paintings. It was originally intended to be an icon for my altar, but it's not quite right - and nor is the second one, which is still unfinished - so I'm going to keep trying until I hit on what I'm looking for.

The process by which I created this painting was a new one for me. It grew out of a religious ritual, at the end of which, still in a meditative, trancelike state, I called on Dana (the primary goddess I honour) and started to paint, letting the awen speak through me. I didn't evoke the goddess during the ritual - the intention was to centre myself, do some personal magic, and then open myself to the power she represents and let it manifest through the painting. I didn't expect anything magical to happen with the first painting, but it's the start of a longer soul-work. The eventual aim is that I'll be able to get myself into a headspace where she can be revealed through what I'm painting. I anticipate that quite a few paintings will be finished before this starts to happen, but in the meantime I'm painting personally significant, positive artworks which are finally starting to get close to the pagan iconography I've been talking about for a while now. Commisions and seasonal tidbits are all very well, but my art, the art in me that feels like it means something, is a revelation and exploration of a panentheist divine, but who is revealed most powerfully through the inspiration process itself. It's an exploration of the divine in myself and how it relates to the divine in the world. It's magic realism, playing with various mythologies and symbol sets. It's invocation through imagery, the divine made very real, very physically manifest in the object of the artwork. I'm not sure what else it is yet. But anyway, this is the first one.




Drawing Down the Moon
Oil on Canvas, 12" x 12"

(click for full-sized version)


So. This was started freeform, in a vaguely ecstatic meditative state, charged up with power from the ritual I'd just performed. I started it without any plan or ideas, and in fact for the first two hours or so I very deliberately kept my eyes unfocussed (I've used this unfocussed, high-energy, trance-painting technique before, most memorably with my nude portrait of Kristen). I went back to it a few days later and started fleshing out the details, keeping my mind blank, letting the forms and the colours speak to me. This is the first painting I've done by myself which was as spontaneous and improvised as the K~nesis paintings were. It's an artistic method I pretty much entirely learned from working with Kristen, and I'm indebted to her for that. I wanted to see if I could harness some of that particular creative energy and apply it to my own art; if I could manage to create unplanned art without tapping into Kristen's extraordinary creative energy.

This is also the first painting I've ever done without any reference to source imagery or photos. Even my most unique and imaginative solo work has, historically, been informed by huge collections of source imagery, whether they're photos taken by me, by others or even persuading people to model for me. This is the first time I've broken away not only from my training that had me knowing in exact detail what I was going to paint before I started, but also completing the work without referencing anything outside my head.

It's been a fascinating experiment. Encouraging in some ways - I'm glad that my abilities as a figurative painter aren't restricted to copying from photos or life, even if my anatomy knowledge does leave something to be desired. Technically, I'm pretty pleased with this painting - it's a strong composition, the details are polished, the figure looks human, the symbolism is moderately clever, if totally unsubtle. As a test of my abilities as an oil painter, it's a good start.

But. Can I just say. You know how when I first started getting fired up about pagan iconography and one of the things I was saying was that I wasn't going to do any bog-standard wishy-washy BLUE FUCKING GODDESS PAINTINGS?

YEAH. SO. ABOUT THAT.

It turns out that when you turn my intellect off and tap directly into my subconscious, what you find is that I HAVE AN INNER BLUE FUCKING FLUFFY WICCAN FUCKING DOLPHIN. Lady Frieda Harris, eat your fucking heart out. Could this be any more derivative? My god. Um, I mean, goddess.

Ahahahahaha. Oh, I love it. I love it just as much as I think it's the most hilarious, ridiculous, mockable thing ever. AWESOME.

The title of this piece is, in case you couldn't tell, ironic. In my heart it will always be my Inner Fluffy Dolphin Painting.

Oh, and it's for sale, although I don't have time to put it on etsy tonight. It's small, but it's taken me a couple of weeks on and off, so I was thinking maybe £250? I don't know though, if any of you want it, make me an offer. There'll be prints as well at some point, when I get round to sorting my vast backlog of print orders out. Until it sells I'm hoping to hang it in the Pembury along with the rest of the stuff I'm working on at the moment.

Or I might just have to keep it, as a reminder to myself to never take myself or my art too seriously. Ever.

April 2016

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