I am basically jumping all over the place when it comes to my artwork. One day I’ll be following a tutorial, another day I’ll be taking a break and doing my own thing. Even when it comes to tutorials, I don’t follow one particular artist but am currently following at least three at the same time. This gives me the chance to diversify and not get too stuck with one style of a particular artist for too long. The other day, I was on Day 10 with Alena Hennessy’s “30 Days of Grace”, a spiritual approach to intuitive painting.
Creating Your Own Goddess
To help us discover the empowered woman in ourselves, we are to create our own goddess. Some of the choices Alena suggested were High Priestess, the Muse, the Healer, the Warrioress and the Divine Mother. I chose the Warrioress. That’s because it represents strength, perseverance and ferocity and a fighter for truth, wisdom and justice. Yup, that’s me; looking soft on the outside and tough on the inside! And don’t let my fluffy and kawaii drawings fool you…
To get further in touch with the warrioress in me, I took a step further and researched about a few Warrioresses in Japanese history: Empress Jingu (AD 201-269), female Samurai Nakano Takeko (1868) and Tomoe Gozen (1157-1247) to name a few. I was amazed. Then I thought it would be an idea to add a bit of Japanese flair when creating my Goddess-Warrioress in my painting!
Choosing colours that represent our goddess, I went for red, yellow, blue and gold using Golden Fluid acrylic. They were colours I spotted on the photos of the Warrioresses as noted later on. Interesting enough, red is not a colour I would choose for a background but because I’m going for a Japanese theme I thought I would give it a go. I left some space in the middle to paint the face which was in light pink.
Painting the Warrioress
During the pre-Edo era, women typically wore their hair loose and long. Having a hairline that dipped in the middle of the forehead like a heart was considered attractive. From the old paintings of these Japanese warrioresses, I notice that some also have a little bun on top of their head.
As such you will see why I used red and blue in the background. Gold and yellow I added as it symbolizes auspiciousness. I made my Warrioress a bit anime-like with the big eyes to stick to my style of work. Normally I never add lips or nose but for the purpose of this painting, I thought it would worth trying. It worked rather well! I lined the hair with black acrylic marker then filled it in with Payne’s Grey ink. The eyes were drawn and filled in with acrylic markers. So far so good!
Alena then gets us to adorn our Goddess with various mediums especially collages. And of course for this purpose, I used some pretty origami and washi paper! How could I not? For fun I also incorporated some bits of Japanese-language newspaper as well as some pretty rice cracker wrappers. You may be wondering why I added some necklaces which is not really traditionally Japanese. Actually, I came across one Warrioress, Empress Jingu featured in a 1 yen banknote from Meiji 11 (1881) in which she is wearing some jewelry. For those, I used some pearly Nuvo drops and metallic markers. And here we are!
Doing this painting was indeed an interesting but fun experience. It was also a wonderful opportunity for me to research more about heroines in Japan, thereby discovering more about my own country. I never even heard of them until investigating! With this, I even got to integrate my painting with Japanese traditions like using origami paper collages and drawing a Japanese-style warrioress. Thank you, Alena, for not only letting me getting in touch with my “fighter” self but also finding out more about my heritage! By the way, I also love how I could combine this with Japanese-style anime…