"Sekhmet the Eye of Ra"/ November 2014

"Sekhmet the Eye of Ra"/ November 2014
"Sekhmet the Eye of Ra"/ November 2014 / Extra fine watercolor, 22 karat gold, lapis lazuli, Austrian crystal

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Touching Isis/ The Real Goddess Still Making Herself Known

"Auset/ Isis Queen of Magic"/ Oils & 22 karat gold

To millions of people "ISIS" is the name of a terrorist organization, thanks to the media, who have taken the name of one of humankind's first Mother Goddesses and transformed it into something evil. The ironic thing about this is that the Goddess Isis is the Mother of the human race, the Protectress of the oppressed and afflicted, the Savioress Who embraces the lost and the suffering. 

For thousands of years the Goddess Auset, Isis was adored by the ancient Egyptians, and well into the Christian Era was being adopted by entire civilizations throughout the known world. 

My icon of this great Goddess stands for the true and original Isis, Her universal compassion and tenderness. My work is a call to draw close to the origins of our inborn ability to love unconditionally and altruistically. It embodies the strength of the Goddess to overcome our darkness and inhumane impulses. My work is a call for the ripening of divinity within the human condition.

"Auset/ Isis Queen of Magic" (on 30" x "40" canvas) is my first icon using extra fine genuine mineral pigments as oils.  It also has the highest use of gold of any icon to date, together with Sterling silver and copper.  Its use of bas-relief effects is also the most prominent of all my work thus far, making Auset stand out, quite literally, very apart from anything else I have attempted.

The above picture was taken after the first session of over painting.  The body and face of the Goddess have been under painted using hydrated iron oxide (yellow ocher), the precise mineral compound used by the ancient Egyptians when painting the figures of goddesses (and females generally) in two dimensional representations. 

The cosmetic markings of the Goddess' eye and eyebrow have been made with real lapis lazuli from Afghanistan. Crown and jewelry are gilded with 22k gold, with some details in copper and Sterling silver. 

This is only the first layer of a several layer painting process. My method is to work from dark to light. After an under painting- during which I establish the base colors of each section- the first layer of the over painting seeks to lay down a primary tonal range from which I will, in further layers, work up to final shading, highlights and details.

The creation of this precious icon has dominated my life since the Goddess first inspired me to create it more than four years ago. The process of creating a work of religious and spiritual significance is difficult to describe. What I can say clearly is that for me it is a process of initiation that manifests half way between sheer ecstasy and violent terror. To realize an image of the Goddess means first to face Her directly, and one cannot be in the presence of the Goddess being attached to one's ego. 

Thus one is required to stand face to face with one's own innermost demons, attachments and desires...to enter and then pass away from these in order to give one's fullest heart to Her, to receive Her grace and omnipresent power. Only after having gone through this explosive process can the artist absorb Her greatness and observe Her majesty. 

When creating an icon, the iconographer must himself/ herself be a reflection of the very qualities he/she desires to portray through the icon. An icon, to become a true cult image celebrating the deity, must be created by hands that have realized first hand the very essence of the sacred vision being depicted in material terms. 

If the iconographer fails to realize these, then the icon cannot possibly come to embody these qualities. Artistic skill is not enough. The iconographer, of course, must possess superior training and must have mastered the forms and mediums being used. That goes without saying. That part is the easiest. Any art student with a brush can create a coherent image. What is significant about that? 

To create a living deity image possessing the actual, tangible qualities of the Divine is the most painful task of all. It requires a painful degree of self-sacrifice and discipline that cannot be ego-driven or self glorifying. It must also come from a heart possessed by utter love and devotion for the deity being portrayed. If this is truly realized, then all who gaze upon the finished icon will feel the power of the deity and will know that the image is alive.

I am Auset Great of Enchantments,

Within whose body the immortal Gods dwell,
Within whose womb the seed of the universe
Did spring.

There is nothing that exists that I have not
Touched with the grace of my fingertips,
Nor a heart that beats without having felt
My divine breath.

My image is that of Eternity,
My body the thread of the Everlasting.
The gods of all nations know me,
The Threefold Creator invokes me,
I am higher than the governors of the Earth,
And over the starry firmament from which
I have descended.

I am Auset Great of Enchantments,
Whose feet are planted in the Stars,
Whose never ending grace existed before
Time and creation existed.
I endure, and I am before the beginning,
And after the end.

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