Recently I created an “Earth Goddess“, following along with instructor Lily Sol in a Creative Bug “Daily Practice” class called “Goddess Sketchbook“. The practice is inspired by “feminine energy” and as you know, I’ve never really been too connected to feminine energy. Needless to say, this daily practice has been an interesting experience for me.
After creating our “Earth Goddess”, I did feel inspired. Although my collage “Mother Earth” creation looks a bit weird to me, people have loved it. Even grandson Carsen blinked in surprise and said “Whoa, look at that!” when he visited the studio and saw her. I suppose it’s the colors. Maybe it’s the cut-outs from the collage paper I made. Maybe it’s just the whole weirdness about her that attracts a viewer’s eye. I don’t know.
I know, though, that I was excited at the idea of creating a “water” goddess. I’m drawn to rivers, lakes, and streams. I love listening to the sound of a babbling brook or a waterfall. I was excited at the idea of using the element of water as my inspiration. Whereas with the “earth goddess” I’d mostly followed along with the instructor instead of freely doing my own thing, I wanted to make my “water goddess” more reflective of who I was and how I felt.
And that’s what I did. It didn’t take long, you see, for me to realize that Lily Sol and I were swimming in two very different directions. She loves mermaids. I don’t. I know a lot of people love fantasy, and I’ve seen some beautiful “fantasy art” that I’ve liked, but no… mermaids, unicorns, fairies and wings… those things just aren’t me.
“Sorry, Lily, I am not drawing a mermaid.” I actually said the words out loud. I was just going to create my own “water goddess” however I wanted. So, that’s what I did.
Admittedly she’s a bit messy, but she’s emerging from the water, so yes, her colors are a bit drippy here and there. At one point, I’d thought about working a little more to make her complexion smoother, but I decided to leave her as she is.
This “goddess” is so much different from what Lily Sol created that it’s almost hard to believe I was following her tutorial. Here is her “Mermaid Water Goddess”.
Lily loves mermaids. I don’t. She created one. I didn’t. Her goddess reflects who she is, and I hope mine does the same for me.
Did you take a look at the flower I placed on the head of my goddess? You’ve seen it before. It’s a lotus I painted with oil pastels as part of the 15-day floral challenge I did. At the time, I wasn’t too happy with the lotus, but when I saw it as part of my water goddess, I loved it. I printed the original drawing out on slightly heavier paper, then cut out the bloom for my goddess. I also used the lotus to cut out “drops of water” to scatter through her hair.
And the final, finishing touch was taking a real sea sponge and fashioning a green gown for my goddess. I liked it, and it did give her one more connection to the sea.
For me, this was a very successful project, in large part because I followed my own artistic voice. I didn’t want to draw or paint a mermaid. I simply couldn’t do it. So I had no choice but to trust myself, to make my own decisions about how I would create my water goddess. And, in the end, I was very happy. It’s a rare feeling when I can say, “You know, I like what I did better than what the instructor did!” So, I’m delighted that I had sense enough to not copy her mermaid but to create a water goddess that was truly my own.