My current series of works are inspired by various goddesses. With each goddess, I’m researching their mythology and symbolism. Then I’m devising a list of photo shoot ideas to explore with local models and a talented team that includes my husband, Brian, who photographs the shoot.
For this most recent Asian Goddess shoot, we had the talented and beautiful local runway model, Mai Dang. She brought a full suitcase of various traditional Asian outfits. Prior to the shoot, I had a brainstorming session with our hair/make-up artist, Georgette Khaziran of Verdecia Salon, who came up with a complete list of hair styles and make-up combinations that would complement each goddess.
We also had our two friends, Michael and George, on site that provided tech support. In addition, George was able to put his martial arts training to work by demonstrating marital art poses and forms for the model during the weapon shots that ranged from holding swords of all sizes and lengths to daggers and even an axe!
For my first Asian goddess painting I decided to paint Amaterasu, who is known in Japanese mythology as a sun goddess and the most important Shinto deity. Her full name is Amaterasu-o-mi-kami (天照大神) which means “glorious goddess who shines in the heavens.”
In this soft pastel painting, I illustrated some of her symbols including the rising sun disc, which is also shown on the Japanese Flag. The sword or blade represents might and honor. I also incorporated Japanese Kanji characters which, when translated into English, reads as “The Goddess of Sun”.
The goddess Amaterasu called out to me because of her diverse character. As a sun goddess, she oversees the Japanese fields of rice. She was also known as an accomplished weaver of stunning satins, silks, and brocades. And for those of you interested in reading more about the myths written about Amaterasu, you can find more information at Goddess Gift, a site dedicated to “celebrate, to nurture, and to share understandings of the goddess in every woman.”
Her inner strength is part of her beauty, and thus, I thought it appropriate to include this work in this week’s theme at Illustration Friday, “Strong”.