Freya’s Cloak

August 12th, 2007

So, Freya has been coming up a lot on this blog and a lot in my life. I mentioned before that Pilar suggested imagining Freya's cloak around me protecting me. I liked that image and started doing even more reading about this goddess. It was said that Freya had a cloak made of falcon feathers that allowed her to fly in the shape of a falcon. She is associated with fertility, the moon, water, wealth, creativity, the rune Fehu, and sexuality. Freya had two sacred gray tabby cats (a girl after my own heart!). Later those same cats were seen to be related to witches (the priestesses of pagan religions).  Cats were thought to be shape shifters and guards of the gate to the underworld, where Freya was known to go. 

I got this image of Freya looking over her shoulder and was very excited to bring her to life. Working on a cradled wooden board, I applied the gesso , sketched her in, and then began to collage her cloak. I put one of her gray cats at her side and another within her cloak. I put maps with her cloak, the blues of water, and drew in feathers.

I mentioned I used Maria's "Be Happy" necklace as a good luck charm on Thursday night. I was going to meet a potential customer and it went very well. I was anxious about it partly because of the creepy experience I'd had last week. I met this customer at a bookstore and when I pulled up to into the parking lot in front of it, a gentleman came out of the bookstore waving his arms, acting very strange and then pointed at me. I got spooked there for a moment thinking I'd been set up. But the guy left and I went in to meet this customer who was a real person and very kind. She was interested in the Memory Tree piece, which I made thinking about my grandmother's Alzheimer's disease. Her family also had experiences with this tragic illness. It was really touching that she found some connection to her family through this art piece. This is what I love about sharing my art. I love those connections that people can make. It doesn't need to be the connection I made. If I can find something universal that touches someone else's heart, it's the best feeling in the world. Maddie at Persisting Stars shared a beautiful passage from Nadeem Aslam's "Maps for Lost Lovers" and the last line struck me as what I hope for with my art.

All great artists know that part of their task is to light up the distance between two human beings.

I'm not claiming to be great here, but this is still the main reason I love to share my art. Isn't that beautifully said by Aslam? I think so.

I've been itching to make more works in encaustic (wax) and trying to find some class to get more instruction in the medium, but nothing has worked out. The timing has been off or not enough students to make a class run. Arg. I'm thinking I may just start with what I know thus far from an introduction I've had to the subject, which is enough to get started on a series I have in mind. I was concerned about the safety issues involved with working in this medium, but I do know the things not to do...I can't let the wax get too hot (or it can burst into flames...yikes!) or let it smoke (can be toxic). And I'd like to get started while I can still work on my porch with all the fresh air before it starts to get cold. It's still summer, but August is when you can really start to feel the turn. The days are getting noticeably shorter, there is a cool chill on some evenings. You can smell it.

Ok, and I'm off. Lots to do today and I got a late start. Ciao for now!

14 Responses

Hey Leah! Love this piece. I love the way you add all the details and textures. Speaking of goddesses, I don’t know if you’re familiar with the book and deck of cards called Goddess Oracle by Amy Sophia Marashinsky. It’s a cool resource for calling on goddess energy. You can select a goddess you feel drawn to and do the suggested ritual or you can pull random cards from the deck if you’re wanting guidance. It can be freaky how dead on the cards can be!

Oh, and you totally are a great artist! And I’m so glad that you share your work and your creative process here. Very inspiring.

Love this artwork – the cats, the moon, the cloak with maps – and also enjoyed the background on Freya it makes it all come alive.

Artists are communicators, so it IS great when our artwork strikes a chord with someone. I love seeing your work, it always inspires me to start writing a story!

i love that quote. That is just perfectly said. It is always a gift when you hear how your work has touched someone else.

Those are the main concerns with working in encaustics. If you’re outside on your porch, even better! Go for it!! I also buy my bars already made, why mess around with something that’s already made for me? R&F or enkausticos (i think that’s how they spell it, or it could be encaustikos) are the brands that i use.

Yes, I’ve been noticing the days getting shorter too. I wish summer could last as long as the cold winter snowy months seem to.
This is a gorgeous piece of art and I especially love her collaged cloak.
You are so talented and kudos to you for your kind and artistic reputation being recognized.

I love her cloak–the blue, along with the moon and the grey cat–wow!

Thanks so much for your kind words at my blog. It almost doesnt seem real that it all happened, and it is horrible that my sweet little girl goat had to endure that.

I will have to go read more about Freya–

Leah – this is stunning! I love the composition as my eyes move around the surface, always meeting her gaze. The cloak is so very beautiful. It is interesting (but not surprising) that your women resemble you, at least based on the picture you posted on your website. People often say that to me, and it really isn’t intentional. But, as I read the Aslam quote, I thought once again how much of ourselves we project through our art. It only makes sense that figurative art ends up having much of our own image in it. Your work is very touching and lovely:>

Leah, I love this piece too! I love how the cloak is sweeping and colorful, in contrast to the more neutral and subdued hues in the rest of the painting, and I love how the moon sort of frames her face. Lovely.

Thanks so much for the mention of my jewelry :-) . I’m glad it helped you prepare to meet with your prospective client. Any sale that comes from it, though, is strictly due to your unique and wonderful talent and presence. ‘The Memory Tree’ is such a beautiful piece!

What a beautiful piece, Leah. I just love seeing your work and hearing about your journey. Freya is a beautiful and powerful goddess. Ages ago when I used to do storytelling, she was one of the goddesses I told stories about.

And that is a beautiful quote. I read it over and over and sat and thought about it. Thank you for sharing, as always.

I love both the quote, and your depiction of Freya and her cats. Beautiful, Leah!

LOVE her cloak Leah!!!

Your name has been officially thrown into a hat! I’ll cross my fingers for you! xoxox ~Jes

Oh her cloak is wonderful wonderful wonderful! Love the piece.

I had the same problem – no encaustic workshops around here either. My online friend bridgette told me “be prepared to create a whole lot of ugly at first” and she is right! LOL. email me and I can send you some great links to other wonderful artists who share info. I love that about this art community.

I think you have every right to think yourself and your art great. I know I do.

When you have mentioned Freya on your blog recently, I’ve been thinking of Freya Stark, the great traveller. I just realized that you weren’t talking about her. Ha! I’m silly.

I can’t wait for the chill of cool mornings and evenings here. Hopefully it won’t be TOO long until we get them.


Karen Beth :)

It’s amazing to see how your art is reaching out. You create beautiful and unique things that really speak to us.

Oh, this piece is just gorgous! I love how you incorperated the collage into her cloak. I hope the visualization is working for you. : D I, too, am fascinated with the world of encaustics. However, I have never had much luck working with the medium. I am sure part of it had to do with the fact I had the wrong tools and the second part is I had no idea what I was doing. I have seen some awesome work with the medium. Please keep us all posted! I am sure you will create some beautiful work with the wax.

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