Earth-Centered Practices for Everyday Mystics, Healers, & Creatives

Sketch Journal: Crone of Hallowstide

in Art, Creativity, Wheel of the Year, Work in Progress

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.

color texture tests

This coming week, I’ll bring the sketch and the pastels / paints / pencils together.

Stay tuned!

(Ah, it feels so good to be a working artist again . . .)

Thoughtful, sparkling comments. . .

  • Carey Thu - Nov 10th 2011 8:04 am

    Joanna, wonderful, absolutely wonderful. I am really looking forward to seeing more.


  • Joanna Thu - Nov 10th 2011 8:17 am

    Oh thank you Carey, so much appreciated!


  • Cari Ferraro Thu - Nov 10th 2011 8:38 am

    I love seeing your process, Joanna. Artists love to peek in on that stuff, actually I think everyone does! The raw material. Thanks for sharing. I am glad you are doing this practice, you a a good inspiration for me.


  • Joanna Thu - Nov 10th 2011 9:04 am

    Cari, I know *I* love seeing works-in-progress! So interesting to find out the techniques used in creating certain effects. And *your* work inspires *me*!


  • Tracie Nichols Fri - Nov 11th 2011 8:42 am

    Wonderful Joanna! I’m so happy for your joy 😉 Thanks for sharing the gift of your unfolding creative process.


  • cate Fri - Nov 11th 2011 5:17 pm

    Like you, Sister Joanna, I am awakening very early and sketching or writing, sometimes both. I just love your new creation – she looks so wise and strong and fierce. Watching her unfold will be a joy.


  • Indigene Sun - Nov 13th 2011 9:00 pm

    This time of year always draw me to the Crone. You are always inspirational! I love that you inspire so many to reach for the ancestors and the crone; I am working on my Grandmothers of the Season series and coming here made me smile with joy at the collections of comments shared by all of us in our joy of you and the ancestors.


  • Joanna Mon - Nov 14th 2011 8:13 am

    Tracie, Cate, Indigene — thank you all so much for the creative encouragement! I love being part of a tribe of artists, whether our tools are paintbrushes, the camera or the flow of energy.

    Indigene, is your Grandmothers of the Season series posted? I would love to look at those! Will go peek on your site . . .

    Ancestral blessings to all,


    • Indigene Mon - Nov 21st 2011 2:12 pm

      I’ve only posted the Winter Elder, which you’ve seen, I am currently working on the Autumn Elder, I’m following the flow they’re leading. I will post on my FB page when I finish! I think the elders are calling us to pay attention and heed their lasting wisdom. 🙂 I love seeing your beautiful work and process, my tribe sister!


      • Joanna Mon - Nov 21st 2011 5:02 pm

        Wonderful! Can’t wait to see the Autumn Elder too. Many Blessings to you, tribe sister! 🙂


  • Ana Berry Tue - Nov 22nd 2011 6:16 am

    Love to watch the progression of your work!I learn soo much as an artist!I remember I wrote you a letter in 1985 0r ’86 and you were the kindest and most helpful person ever.I wanted to know about becominga full time artist,I always treasure your kind and thoughtful words!I am so glad I have your deck!


    • Joanna Tue - Nov 22nd 2011 8:02 am

      Ana, Mothgirl, how lovely to be reminded of our conversation way back when! Seems to me I have seen your artwork on Facebook . . . you go girl! Hugs and Blessings!


  • Winifred Tannetta Tue - Nov 29th 2011 9:12 am

    Hi Joanna,
    I really love sharing the journey of your creative flow. I was just reading your blog about the Crone image and Ancestor Time moving into Midwinter.
    Thank you for bringing us along on your Path. It helps me to keep my own creative fire kindled.
    Brightest Blessings


  • Joanna Thu - Dec 01st 2011 9:02 am

    Winifred, thanks so much for your thoughts and comments. I am all for kindling our creative fires! Hugs and Blessings to you and everyone at the Awen Tree.


  • Dawn Shears Tue - Jan 17th 2012 10:45 am

    Good for you, Joanna! Nice to see you exploring your art process…I too am doing a lot of paintings that come straight out of dreams and meditation…although, I DO admit that I still reference some photos for details….but the only time I’m tracing off photos is for the realistic energy portraits I’m doing of people…


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