Artwork has always been an important thing to me. It is a mode of expression, and even a form of meditation. I have several sketchbooks on my shelf that are nearly full. I have been very busy recently with school, work, testing, and my applications to vet school, so my artwork was kicked to the side. It killed me, but I have to do what I have to do in order to fulfill my dream.
About a week ago, my sketchbook called out to me. The poor thing was lonely and in some need of attention. So i sat down and looked through my artwork and what I had done. I finished a greenman that I had started over the summer (photos of him and others will be coming as soon as I remember to take them. I tend to get behind on photographing my sketchbook.) Then inspiration struck as I thumbed through the pages and had to start drawing. My notes are covered with variations of my idea until I got the chance to draw something concrete in the book. After a couple days of meditation on it, the drawing was complete. I was unsatisfied however. I felt that it was not done despite my inability to think of what to add.
I found myself very interested in wall plaques and other deity representations that I would like to hang above my altar. Then it hit me earlier this week what I needed to do. My design was incomplete because it was supposed to me more than just on a page. A quick trip to hobby lobby yielded me a basswood plaque and some black acrylic paint. I (very badly) neglected studying to draw out my design on the wood and get it just right. I then let it sit for a day to make sure it was what it should be. Then last night I set about the painstaking task of making my altarpiece to Cernunnos.
It proved to be much more of a challenge than i had anticipated. I ground up various herbs super fine and then combined them with the paint along with some other things to make a magical brew that I was very happy with. I mixed with with a cinnamon stick (more out of lack of anything else to use than anything.) It was at this point that I realized I was without any brushes except my prized watercolor brushes that were a gift from my grandma. I chose the stiffest one and after thoroughly apologizing to it for its misuse, I set to painting my design in magic paint. I should let you know that when it comes to artwork, I am severely obsessive compulsive. I have been known to throw out whole work because of a pen or brush slip. Not once, not twince, but three times, my brush ran from my hands and left black spots on the plaque. I gritted my teeth and continued because I felt that I had to. It took a couple hours and my fingers were cramped from using the incorrect brush and my back was very angry from leaning over my work. When I was almost done, I got a bloody nose that dripped right onto the stag skull. I nearly cried and threw it all, plaque, paint, herbs, brush, and water, across the room. My obsessive compulsiveness was throwing a tantrum, but something told me that I had to continue. I had to finish this. So I shoved some paper towel up my nose, dabbed the worst of the blood off of the plaque and endured.
I finished the painting and sat back, exhausted. I feel like I put my soul into this work. I was sore and tired and I wanted to be done, but there were still pencil lines. So I snapped a quick picture and then went out on the porch with some sandpaper and worked out the pencil and the most of the blood and extraneous paint that I could. In the end, I felt very satisfied and promptly collapsed on my bed, while texting my working partner about my experience.
He now rests proudly on my altar. I am going to do some more sanding on Samhain night and touch up the paint some. Overall, I am satisfied. I feel like this was a test for me, a test of focus and endurance and I passed. Honestly, this was a very intense experience and even thinking about it now makes my heart flutter excitedly.