The Helm of Awe Painting

Started with black paint to establish the dark areas

Started with black paint to establish the dark areas

This project was a requested painting for a Helm of Awe theme as the main focus of the art.  A Helm of Awe is a very ancient Norse/ Germanic magical symbol for strength, power, security, and other positive influences desired by people.  There are many variations to Helms of Awe, so this is not the only one.   And these magical symbols were not used by old hags with delusions of power, wealth, and control, but by all people of the culture who needed to protect something of value whether that be a vat of apple cider or a boat filled with fisherman going out to sea to bring back food.  Magic was a normal part of life.  Imagine that magic is simply a science that is still beyond our current understanding but it has a real and practical interaction with the environment.  If you can observe something affect the environment around you, but you don’t understand it well enough to explain it, does that make it less real?  There are people who can still observe events that are not fully understandable, but have the wisdom to not ignore it just because it does not fall into their religious parameters.  People keep seeing UFOs,  should the observer be expected to act as if they did not see something just because their culture says they should not see such things?  That seems a bit irrational and illogical to me, but then again I think differently than most people.

Then I started to add some color

Then I started to add some color

I knew I wanted the leaves to be blues and greens as if magically frozen since real leaves tend to turn brown and dark rust when frozen.

I knew I wanted the leaves to be blues and greens as if magically frozen since real leaves tend to turn brown and dark rust when frozen.

So my friend who is part of an ancient Northern Western European spiritual belief structure wanted a painting for meditation purposes.  So I told him I would make such a painting.  And strangely enough, shortly after telling him that, I had a very clear vision of what the finished painting should look like.    This is the first time that I have used a round canvas and the new Daniel Smith acrylic paints called duochrome and luminescent.  I think there is a third kind too that falls into this category of highly reflective paint.  Regardless of what they are called, I have never used these before and wanted to play with them.  I don’t think one can fully appreciate a medium until they have tried to make it work in a project of some kind.

Then I started added more and more color to try and give it more depth.

Then I started added more and more color to try and give it more depth.

I wanted more blue for a colder feeling.

I wanted more blue for a colder feeling.

Started working on the Runes.

Started working on the Runes.

I worked on refining the Rune images and cleaning up the edges of the Helm of Awe. I have also added considerable amount of the reflective paint, which makes it hard to photograph the painting.

I worked on refining the Rune images and cleaning up the edges of the Helm of Awe. I have also added considerable amount of the reflective paint, which makes it hard to photograph the painting.

And the final version, which is rotated again.  Not sure which really should be the up position.  A hazard of working with a round canvas.

And the final version, which is rotated again. Not sure which really should be the up position. A hazard of working with a round canvas.

How do I like them?  I am still not sure.  I am still playing with them to see how they work and what they work best for.  Obviously these would not work for my more realistic limited pallet required homework projects for school, but they could work for more expressionistic or symbolic works.  So I am going to have fun with them this summer and work on keeping my painting skills up while I wait for classes again to start in the Fall.  This is also the first painting in which I tried to use my newly taught skills from school into something of my own design.  I think it is important to make the skills that I have learned a part of my normal artistic practice.  And if you are also a student of art or actually any other kind of profession where your work skills can follow you home, I think it is smart to make those skills a part of your everyday life.  Because practice really does improve one’s ability to perform.  And my long term goal is to become an excellent painter and have an audience of patrons who like my work and want to have it as a part of their lives.

G. Winkler ©2013

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Gretchen Winkler is a Writer, Artist, Radio Show Co-Host, Costume Designer, and ordered Knight. For the past 20 years she has authored several informational websites, started several technical companies, and has been an avid student of art, literature, history, technology.

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Posted in Art, Asatru, Culture, Heathen, Inspiration, Painting
2 comments on “The Helm of Awe Painting
  1. I like the way the painting has realistic depth, as if you could reach in between the leaves to touch those beyond. You’ve captured that aspect very well. Do you think the type of paint adds to that effect?

    Like

  2. G. Winkler says:

    To be honest, I don’t think the luminescent adds to the 3 dimensionality at all. That is something that can be achieved with regular paint and mostly by understanding how to use value. I think my grad school instruction has really improved my understanding of value and how proper shading can make one’s work look more realistic and 3 dimensional.

    Like

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