What This Goddess Taught Me

Today I’m sharing my “Rainbow Goddess”, the third of the goddesses I created while following along with Lily Sol’s “Daily Practice” class at Creative Bug — Goddess Sketchbook: A Daily Practice Inspired by Feminine Energy.

Let me begin by reminding you that I’ve never felt strongly connected to feminine energy — whatever it is. I will say, however, that I enjoyed this month-long course, and I think I did learn a lot, not only from my “Rainbow Goddess” but from my Earth Goddess and Water Goddess, as well.

Each of the three goddesses we created was different, not only in spirit, but in our approach to the creative process. Different materials were used, and different techniques were taught. Accordingly, the three goddesses are very different from one another. Here is a look at the trio I created through this daily practice:

Without a doubt, the Earth Goddess is my favorite, even though throughout the creation process I was unsure of what I was doing.

I liked the creation process of the Water Goddess, because I remained true to what I wanted to create rather than merely following along with what the instructor did.

And then there’s the Rainbow Goddess. She taught me a lot about the power of color, and I did have fun creating her. She became a disappointment, however, for, shall we say… technical reasons? Take another look at her.

Rainbow Goddess

You can see the splotchy colors. This was not intentional. The initial drawing was done with oil pastels, and I loved that part of the process. I was pleased with my initial sketch for this goddess. Next we would be using watercolors to create a “wash of color”, and I was excited about that, as well. Using watercolor over my oil pastels became part of my “style” while doing floral challenges recently. I love the look of watercolor and oil pastel.

What happened here, however, is that Lily Sol introduced another step in the process, one that I don’t normally do. After completing the initial oil pastel sketch, she used a spray fixative to “set” the oil pastels. Then, once it had dried, she applied the watercolor.

I did the same, using a spray fixative by Krylon. Lily Sol uses Sennelier D’Artigny Oil Pastel Fixative. It is, as the name says, designed specifically for oil pastel. The fact that it’s made by Sennelier is also key, here. Sennelier has a reputation for manufacturing the highest quality pastels — both oil and soft. Of course, Sennelier also has a reputation for being costly, and this fixative is no exception. A 12-ounce spray can sells for $22.52 at Amazon.

Now, you know me. Ordinarily when an art instructor uses something I don’t have in my studio, I rush to Amazon to place an order. I didn’t do that this time.

  • Placing an order would have meant waiting a day or two for delivery, putting my project on hold.
  • I thought $22.00 for a spray fixative was a bit too much.
  • A quick bit of online research showed that Krylon’s spray fixative is a recommended alternative to the pricier Sennelier. (Best Fixative for Pastel)
  • I had a can of the Krylon spray fixative sitting about 10 feet away.

I used my Krylon, allowed it to dry, and then tried using watercolor over it. The results, as you can see, were not good. I don’t know if the results would have been significantly different with the Sennelier fixative. To me, it seems that trying to use watercolor over any fixative would be problematic, and I immediately regretted following Lily Sol’s instructions. She didn’t seem to have problems like I did, so I’m not sure if the fault was the Krylon spray, my application technique, or something else. All I know is that I could not get a smooth, even coverage with watercolor on the page.

Here I’ve taken a very “up close” photo of an area so you can get a better look at the splotchiness.

I guess it’s interesting in its own way, but it’s not the sort of effect I wanted. Not only did the oil pastel resist the watercolor application, the whole page resisted because of the fixative.

I was disappointed, to say the least. Once this happened, I felt the whole project had been ruined. I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to complete it. Now, I could have started over, I suppose, but I chose not to. I was nearly at the end of the “daily practice” series, so I went ahead and completed the rainbow goddess — more or less.

The “less” was skipping Lily Sol’s “gown collage”. I’d gone ahead and painted the “gown” area of my goddess using blue stripes of watercolor, and I decided to let it stay that way. It might have been fun to find something colorful to cut and paste, but I didn’t.

The “more” was adding a “fruit crown” to the goddess. When Lily Sol started talking about making a crown of fruit, I rolled my eyes. I nearly skipped that part of the process, too, but after I did a quick search for images of fruit and found a mouth-watering display, I shrugged, said, “Why not?” and started cutting and pasting.

 

Surprisingly, collaging the “fruit crown” turned out to be the most enjoyable part of making this Rainbow Goddess.

On the following day, Lily Sol added a few “embellishments” to her Rainbow Goddess, and I considered a few things then shook my head. My goddess was complete just the way she was.

Now, if there’s any one thing I have learned about feminine energy through this process, it would be this: Be forgiving of mistakes. Don’t concern yourself with little setbacks. Accept what you create and appreciate your art.

In retrospect, I did enjoy creating each of these goddesses, and at a future time I might create more. I’d like to create a Fire Goddess or a Wind Goddess. At some point I might want to re-create my “Water Goddess” using the same collage techniques I did with the Earth Goddess.

To sum it all up, this Rainbow Goddess — and the entire “daily practice” series — taught me many things. I learned that sometimes it’s good to follow an instructor’s suggestions, but sometimes it’s good to do things my own way. I learned several different methods for creating “goddess art”. I learned techniques for making my own collage paper and then cutting and pasting elements from it. I learned that using watercolor over a spray fixative isn’t something I want to do in the future — unless I’m looking for that splotchy, mottled effect! I learned that simple collage can be interesting and fun, as long as I don’t take it all too seriously.

And, yes, I learned to be patient, to be more accepting, to love myself and my art in a more unconditional way. That’s my connection to this feminine energy. I like my goddesses. I’m glad I worked my way through these thirty days of daily practice.

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