Painting Mary Magdalene

One of the fascinating steps that led me to create a trip to France to discover the energetic lineage of Mary Magdalene started with being called to paint (which I'd never done before) and, then the serendipitous Facebook post of Shiloh Sophia, who was about to start a class where we'd paint Mary Magdalene.  I signed up and bought my supplies.

I started by creating an altar with some items meaningful to me, along with the books I was reading that were inspiring me to create my own vision of Mary Magdalene. 

 Here is what I wrote at the time: 

My project is to paint Mary Magdalene as I research her life and the legends surrounding her following the crucifixion and resurrection.  My intention is to integrate from my meditation and painting, her qualities and teachings, as I ask for her assistance in learning about courage. My first step was to draw symbols I associate with Mary and my word, "courage."

Some of the symbols I wanted to include were the sun and moon, the chalice, the alabastar jar, celtic cross, red egg, fleur-de-lis, and the scallop shell.  Interestingly enough, a couple years ago I bought some soap dishes that I use to hold my earrings and bracelets at night that have a fleur-de-lis in the shape of a crown, but shaped like a scallop shell.

After the words and symbols were on the canvas, the next step was to add bands of colors and red drops of paint, spray on some water, and then physically swirl the canvas so that the colors would mix and run together.

At the end of the first session of painting, I saw the tempest-tossed ship at sea, a red dawn, some land features in the distance.  I could imagine Mary reaching her hand down into the water from her storm-tossed ship, fusing her emotional turmoil with the salt water, her eyes filled with tears.

This version stayed on my altar for a few days of mediation by candlelight. Next, we were to integrate symbols in color, for me it was a quarter moon, the sun, fleur-de-lis, the alabaster jar, cross in a circle, and scallop shell, all encompassed by the grail (the large cup covering them all).

Here are the symbols before the wash.  Again we added color and sprayed the canvas with water...Mine in the shape of a large red egg, another symbol of Mary Magdalene.  This time, the water I used was from the Chalice Well in Glastonbury, that I gathered on a trip there in 2012.

The red egg after the first wash.

As it dried, the colors muted and blended together.  When I placed my candle in front of the canvas to meditate, the cross looked more like a crown of light. 

I liked that the Celtic cross had merged into the center of the painting above the "boat" feature and that all has muted into a purple and pinkish calm.  This picture taken by candlelight illuminates the top of the cross.  I also see a tower structure in the center of the canvas.  The scallop shell echoes the grail (which I imagine as a simple earthenware cup, not a gold goblet).  As I look at it now, in retrospect, I see what I thought was a boat in the lower third, as a crown of golden light emerging from a crown of thorns.

Part two will follow later this week!

For more information on my trip to France, click here! Deposit date extended to February 21st!


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