Thursday, October 28, 2010


I have been working on a couple of projects ...

Today I want to show you how Inanna turned out. I decided that the stacked painted papers that I had been working on looked like jewels to me, and my Bible class had been getting me into thinking about the royalty of Heaven ... So I decided to paint the former Queen. I'd been curious about who everyone was worshipping before Adam, Abraham, et al, got the idea to worship just one god. Nobody seems to have ever thought of that before. For the 35,000-plus years before that, all cultural artifacts seem to point to a many starred Heaven. I figured that if I painted the Queen I might begin to understand more.

Firstly, I finished layering and sewing my miniature collages. I hand sewed them together, using my sterling and goldfill beads to add a little bling. This was all going to be for the Queen of Heaven and Earth after all. I sampled an arrangement of how they would look around the edge of a canvas. I measured the result and went down to the art store for a 24" x 28" canvas.
Meanwhile I had been practicing my drawing of Inanna
Did you know that about 1000 years before they say Lilith and Adam and Eve were, uh, made that there really was a drought? That a whole lot of the world had been greener and much more lush, but then the Atlantic currents changed, temperatures dropped, various things happened - and not just in the Middle East, but in the Americas too. The monsoons in northern Africa, for example, slipped south and the Sahara region which had been forested became a desert.
Thus the background colors for Inanna's painting.
So was there really an historical weather event that booted some folks from an Eden-like habitat? And I wonder: if I was the "recent" inheritor of a much harder lifestyle would I too wonder if my tribe and I had done something wrong? Would I too dream and be wooed by a god who promised never again to leave me and mine "in the desert"? Would I, like Abram, think strongly about the offer of settling down in "my own land", no matter what violent crimes I had to commit to get it?
As I am now, living in the lush environs of grocery stores: nuh-uh. No way. But if my recent ancestors had been scratching it out with the sheep in the wilds ... maybe so. (And I read somewhere in the internet that Adam and all of Abram's Semitic ancestors were maybe, probably, desert shepherds in the time before Abram and his family were living in Sumer, the Fertile Crescent, between the rivers.)
So in curiosity of these times, of this prior culture surrounding the decisions of a few famous men and their visions, I transferred the drawing to the canvas and painted this Lady. The daughter of the Moon God who visited her sister, Queen of the Underworld. Who died and was reborn. Read one version of her story.
I gave Her the seven attributes of civilization that She relinquishes at the seven gates to the Underworld, including her dress or breechcloth which I made by laying on pleated tissue paper and lightly painting over it.
And Her golden hip girdle and crown which I made by covering paper cutouts with candy wrapper foil. (It is gold on the other side.)
So here you see her laid out with her breastplate, her measuring rod and line, and the paper medallion jewels.
I backed the layered papers with sticky-back craft foam after I sewed them. It gave them a little heft and made them seem like pins - that's when I started thinking of them as jewels. Little treasures of story.
The etymological root of the word "bead" is the Old English word gebed or "prayer".
Were the stories and prayers told to Inanna very much different from those told to Adam's YHWH?
And here She is: this Queen of Heaven and Earth who was one of the Heavenly Community listening to our stories before Adam heard YHWH.

With Her magic and lapis earrings.

And what I still don't know: what did Inanna demand of her people? Was she a jealous goddess? Or was the abundance of the Fertile Cresent a training in divine generosity? Did she graciously accept the altar offerings from her shepherds? Did she ... well ... is the god that the Christians worship now the same as the one Abraham struck a deal with 4000 years ago? Do the Episcopalians and the Baptists believe in the same divinity?

This is a 4 year course: I suspect that there are a few more paintings on the way.