I got a lovely book on Yoruba art over the weekend, which inspired me to change a few things around from the sketch, namely, that I put the Moon (Mawu) and Sun (Lisa) in the top corners rather than held in Her hands.  What is suspended between them now is a carved calabash after an actual one.  The Yoruba conception of the cosmos is of two halves of a sphere which fit together, the top one representing the Otherworld of the Orishas and the dead and the bottom this world, which they represent with the calabash or gourd.  The Fon have the same symbol, and further associate the top part of the calabash with Lisa and the bottom with Mawu.


She has watery patterns and fish on Her skirt, both Her symbols; and the skirt is divided into seven sections, which is a number associated with Her.  The fish design is after a carved door.  The book I got talks a lot about how Yoruba art is 'segmented', meaning elements arranged in sections or stacked one upon the other; I've tried to get some of that sensibility in the design.  The background is after adire textiles, on which designs are painted in cassava paste (I assume very sticky stuff) and then dipped in indigo, the paste forming a resist that the dye does not penetrate (much like the 'mud resist' of India) but can be washed off later.  I tried to pick designs that looked either watery or like stars to evoke both the whirlpool that is Hers and the whirling cosmos.


I'll do this (as I said) in acrylic, then do the outlines digitally.  I've decided also that the outlines for Her with be in black, those of the background a very deep indigo blue, and those on Her clothing a dark purple.  Though honestly I'm half-tempted to do it in watercolor.  The drawing just came out so nice.


It's pencil on white paper, incidentally; it just scanned in sort of sepia-toned when I adjusted the contrast, and I liked it so much I left it.