Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Boann: Goddess of the River

 watercolor, gouache, colored pencil on canvas, SOLD
The painting is called Boann: Goddess of the Rivers. The stories surrounding Boann are very interesting. She started out as the wife of Nechtan, a god of the water. And became a water-goddess herself, and one of her myths concerns water. She was a kind of "Pandora" of the Tuatha Dé Danann. According to legend, there was a sacred well (Sidhe Nechtan) that contained the source of knowledge. All were forbidden to approach this well, with the exception of the god Nechtan and his servants. Curiousity forced Boann to ignore the warnings, and she approached the sacred well, thus violating the sanctity of the area. As a result, she was punished, and the waters of the defiled well swelled and were transformed into a raging river, a river that pursued her. In some versions, she drowned and lost her limbs from torrent; while in others, she managed to outrun the currents. In either case, this water became the river that was known henceforth as the Boyne, and Boann thereafter became the presiding deity.

Another aspect of the myth of Boann is that she bore Oenghus Mac Og. She and the leader of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the Dagdha, had an affair that resulted in the birth of the god of love. Boann and the Dagdha wished to keep their affair a secret, and used their powers to cause the nine month gestation period to last only one day by causing the sun to remain still in the sky for nine months, never setting and never rising. On this magical day, Oenghus Mac Og emerged into the world.

I thought it was appropriate represent a water goddess using watercolor. This is the first painting I completed on watercolor canvas. It was a challenging surface to paint on, but I enjoyed the challenge. I combined watercolor, water soluable colored pencils and gouache to complete this painting. Then finished it off with a coat of UV Varnish. The greatest aspect of using watercolor canvas it that it does not require framing and it is not as delicate and sensitive to fluctuations in temperature and humidity as watercolor on paper is.

I felt a lot of emotion and a powerful influence while working on this painting. I have a strong feeling that this goddess is not finished with me yet!

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