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Sekhmet // The Emperor

I took a break from this project in October as I was overloaded with art due to Inktober and Drawlloween and then after that I didn’t continue for the rest of the year. I was super busy travelling and with the festive season so I decided to leave things as they were for a while. I’m glad I did, as the break was needed and meant this year I could return to the project with fresh eyes. I had started to feel very overwhelmed and at points last year it felt like I was racing to get paintings done, which wasn’t the point of this project! My initial intentions were to use this to build out my style, have a regular “inspiration source” and learn more about different cultures.

This year I’m already re-enjoying the project and have let go grand ambitions of finishing it this year. There’s no deadline! I decided for my first tarot painting of the year to go with an Egyptian goddess, as they are some of my favourite to paint. I chose Sekhmet for the Emperor card. The Emperor symbolises high honour, achievement and ambition. Sekhmet is warrior goddess as well as goddess of healing. Depicted as a lioness, she was the fiercest hunter known to the Egyptians. It was said that her breath formed the desert. She was seen as the protector of the pharaohs and led them in warfare. I thought this fitted well the symbolism of the Emperor card.

A quick note on genders - this project is dedicated to goddesses, so back when I was planning the project I took the executive artistic licence to paint “female” goddesses even in the masculine cards. It didn’t feel right to me to have the odd god littered about (and maybe that is a project for the future!) so I have gone with the symbolism of the card instead of traditional genders. I paired goddesses that seemed particularly noble, important and powerful with the masculine cards.

I really enjoyed painting Sekhmet! This feels quite a departure from previous paintings, very clean and geometrical but still lavish with the liquid metal used for her crown, jewellery and throne. I also didn’t sketch her out first, but instead sketched directly onto my final paper, which I think worked well to keep the finished painting loose and not too contrived. I rarely paint with red so this was a nice change.

I’m feeling really encouraged by this project now and looking forward to continuing throughout the year… and the years to follow!