Progress Pictures and the Story behind Lydia of Apis

Lydia final web.jpg

This is a painting I did back in 2015 but I never shared my story and process pix. So here we go.

This painting is inspired by the Great Goddess of Fertility- Planet Venus incarnate, who we can trace through time and different cultures back to the time of Sumer at least 6000 years ago. She and her Lover represented the cycles of fertility. He would die in the barren seasons and be resurrected in the spring. The seedlings, the buds, the unfurling of leaves, is the annual return, dressed in the Goddess and God, enacting the annual cycle in the theatre of mythology.

Celebrated for thousands of years in all cultures who have a season of fertility following a season of bareness. This annual return has been deified in the North as Inanna and Dummuz, Ishtar and Tammuz, Astarte and Adonis, Isis and Osiris. Aphrodite and Adonis, And yes the Christ and the Mary who lost her powers along the way…

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One day I discovered this orchid and it made me think of the Goddess with her many breasts. I decided to paint her miniature as a Goddess of the pollinators, in particular the bees. I called my girlfriend Lydia to ask her if she wanted to be my muse for a fertility Goddess. She said “yes! And I have a surprise.”


Her surprise was that she was pregnant making her an even better muse.
We also discovered that in Turkey the Goddess was known as Upis of Lydia. Lydia being an Iron age city in Anatolia. I therefore called this painting Lydia of Apis (bees)

I always start with a drawing on paper and then transfer it onto the canvas
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With this painitng I built up my lights and darks between oil glazes.
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You can see in this picture that i changed the position of the hand. I also gold leafed behind her head.

Here come the tendrils. I have also given her a blue glaze.

I built up the richness of her skin with layers of thin white and pink.I kept it thin so the blue can shimmer through.

and here come the Bees
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and I will leave you with a close up of Lydia and the Bees.
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Thanks for looking!
If you want to see other paintings I have done:

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