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Process of a Painting: "Apotheosis of Psyche"

“When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you'll not talk about the joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?”
C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces

This painting is named "The Apotheosis of Psyche" The title is derived from a book which I consider to be one of my favorite pieces of literature I have ever read; "Till We Have Faces" by C.S. Lewis. Not only is the story deep and wonderful but it touches on the themes of mythology and the cosmogonic cycle outlined in Joseph Campbell's "Hero with a Thousand Faces" which is another work I hold dear.

"Till We Have Faces" is Lewis's only major work which takes place in a Pre-Christian world. In it he retells the myth of Psyche and Cupid from the novel perspective of one of the "Evil" sisters. It is a story of suffering, guilt, redemption and magic. The myth it draws from is one of the few myths in which the hero is a female character. It does not simply appropriate the traditionally masculine hero's journey but instead weaves a uniquely feminine pathway; something I think is particularly interesting and relevant in the contemporary era we live in.

def: Apotheosis

  1. the highest point in the development of something; culmination or climax.

  2. the elevation of someone to divine status; deification.

I taught at a women’s college for nearly four decades, and as I said to my students, all I can tell you about mythology is what men have said and have experienced, and now women have to tell us from their point of view what the possibilities of the feminine future are. And it is a future—... There is something that the world hasn’t really recognized yet in the female, something that we are waiting now to see.”

"The Apotheosis of Psyche"

I had previously drawn upon this theme in my 2014 work "The Separation of Psyche and Cupid" (seen below) which now lives happily in Seattle. As I produced this work I documented the various stages of the piece and I hope you enjoy it!

"The Separation of Cupid and Psyche"

The Process

“Holy places are dark places. It is life and strength, not knowledge and words, that we get in them. Holy wisdom is not clear and thin like water, but thick and dark like blood.”
C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces
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