My Samhain Project

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.

the rough out

the rough out



About Iolair

My name is Iolair. I am from Northern Ohio, but I'm currently in the Caribbean going to veterinary school. I have a fascination for nature and the Old Gods. My blog is an exploration into the winding path that I follow. Shamanism, herbalism, folk lore, and witchcraft of all kinds are just some of the topics that I love to explore. Always open to chat and learn all that I can. View all posts by Iolair

6 responses to “My Samhain Project

  • Rick Derks

    It’s beautiful Iolair! The fact that you made it yourself with such care I’m sure will only heighten it’s meaning to you. Really, really well done!

  • Liz

    It looks beautiful – and I hope you’ve bounced back after what was obviously a really draining work. I was pretty worried about you when you texted me.

    I love it. We need to talk soon, and have a real and proper chat, but I’m really glad you’ve gotten back to your art – it’s a gorgeous expression of your Work.

    • Iolair

      Thank you. I definitely have. It was draining, but very rewarding at the same time.
      We shall chat soon. I only have six more weeks before the end of the semester. I am glad to be back at it too. It provides me some spirituality and stress-relief all at the same time.

  • Artemisia Apollo

    I think its wonderful its simple yet holds a lot of meaning to you and the fact you made it your self makes it all the better 🙂

    • Iolair

      Thank you very much. My original design had some more, but then it seemed unnecessary once I had the skull and labyrinth. It felt “done.” Now i just need to put a wall mount on the back

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