I’ve been waking up quite early during these darkest days of the year, usually between 4 and 4:30 AM. I lay in bed for awhile, writing down my dreams, thoughts and inspirations that arise in these hours before dawn. I’ve been meditating on the season, and on the ancestors — my own genetic lineage, as well as the collective ancestors of the human race. The image of the Crone — she who embodies this season of All Hallow’s — came to me quite clearly one morning last week, she who is the Reaper and who intimately knows the pathways of grief and death. I was seized with a compulsion to paint her portrait.
And so I began. First, with a pencil sketch in my notebook, just of her face. I used no models, no reference photographs . . . the face emerged from that mysterious place where the heart of creativity resides.
As the week progressed, the composition came together and I added details in the background: a raven, spiderwebs, a moth, bare branches, a waning moon, the dying head of a sunflower, falling leaves, a wreath of rosehips.
I spent last weekend messing around with paints and oil pastels and ink and all kinds of delightful tools. I did some color studies and experimented with texture and layers of color and different mediums.
This coming week, I’ll bring the sketch and the pastels / paints / pencils together.
(Ah, it feels so good to be a working artist again . . .)