The myths of many of the world's peoples overlap and intertwine, creating an intriguing web of variations on shared themes. Studying those centered on female deities offers a fascinating look at the way many cultures revered and respected women as integral aspects of nature itself. For over 30 years, the women's spirituality movement has been resurrecting long buried female deities, reclaiming their stories and, in some cases, rewriting them for modern times.
In this series, the portrait of each woman is just as important as the narrative content of the piece. I chose models from among friends and acquaintances who seemed to embody the characteristics of the deity to be portrayed. In addition, most of the paintings include artifacts and animals connected with the deity herself.
The paintings are done using a modified Venetian technique. Essentially, a ground color and turpentine are brushed onto the canvas, then a drawing is done on top. The next step is an underpainting in neutral tones. After this dries, oil glazes, that is, pigment and varnish medium, are built up in layers over the underpainting. In this way, light is reflected off the underpainting and back through the layers of transparent glaze. This technique mirrors the layers of time that have buried many of these myths and yet they shine through in modern incarnations.