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How I made Goddess Athena

Updated: Aug 3

It was not all easy sailing!

I have recently finished Goddess Athena which had been shelved on and off for months because I kept getting stuck.

Sometimes an artwork flows easily from start to finish. This was one of those start-stop-start-stop kinda ones.

Here she is in all her glory :)

Goddess Athena mixed media artwork by Jade Forder at Creative Abyss, hanging insitu with a price of driftwood on the duck egg blue wall and  below is a piano accordian, a box a plant in water and a family of owlsa
Goddess Athena on my wall

So what was the process?

I began with a pile of donated National Geographic magazines from a student's Grandpa and my own mags and tore out every bit of green and brown I could find.

I roughly drew the shape of the woman I wanted and collaged the greenery and tree in the background.

I purposely left the edges overlapping the canvas as the foliage and rough trunk.

The background of the Goddess Athena artwork in the beginning stages collaged with magazine pages
The background of Goddess Athena collaged with magazine pages
The first layer of Goddess Athena painted with acrylics and poscas
The first layer of Goddess Athena painted with acrylics and poscas

I began work on the woman. I didn't know who she was at this stage. She had a 5 o'clock shadow which I wasn't happy with so I shelved her for months.

The green background painted over twice with different shades of green
The ugly stage!

I hated the green so did a green/gold wash over the top which was hideous. I painted over it again in a darker green making sure that you could still see the original plants and flowers from the collage.

Then I did a brown wash over the tree.


She needed to have blue hair so I used washi tap to protect her face.

I used a darker green to add shapes to the background and a pink posca to add flowers.

I also added marks to her hair and the tree with poscas

Masking off the face to protect it while painting her hair
Masking off the face to protect it while painting her hair
A green stencil and modelling paste is being used to create a crown on her head
Modelling past and a stencil for the crown

I used modelling paste and a stencil for her hair piece/crown/armor.

The modelling paste being shown to give texture and height
All dry!

It is thick and is raised off the canvas and is so satisfying to rub your fingers over.

At this point she was shelved for months again because I didn't know where to go from here.

I liked her but something felt off.


I looked at her every week and was sad that I hadn't finished her, so began work repainting her face, adding some colour to the crown and fixing up her hair on the right hand side so it flowed to the edge of the canvas.

Hurray! Some progress I was happy with!

The face has been repainted, the hair has also been reworked to be fuller and flowring to the right. Some of the crown has been coloured gold and pink
Reworking the hair, face and crown

There was a big open space between her and the tree that needed a bird. I had previously painted a spoonbill but ended up using it for it's own artwork. I used some of my gelli printed papers to cut out some birds and glued them on. The colours were similar to her eyes but I ended up disliking them. I contemplated scrapping the whole thing and cutting her out to glue on another artwork. It was a bit drastic but I was really not loving where it was going.

Then I decided she was going to be a Goddess and needed an owl so I looked up Goddesses with owls as their symbol and Athena called to me! Next step was scouring google images for an owl to fit over the shape of the bird I needed to glue over. I painted it on a separate piece of canvas and used poscas to add details. I also painted an olive branch, another of Athena's symbols, and glued it all down.

Barn owl painted on canvas and cut out
Barn owl painted on canvas and cut out
Dangly earrings and pink collar collaged on, washi tape used to create her top, extra work with poscas and sealed
Final details added

Last step was to add some final details with poscas, washi tape for her top and seal it all.


So glad I pushed through and finished her.

She is divine!

Goddess Athena outside in the garden
Goddess Athena outside in the garden

So who is Goddess Athena and why did I choose her?

Goddess Athena was a Greek Goddess of crafts, wisdom and war.

A symbol of hers is the olive tree, depicted in the owl's beak, which is how she won the right to name the City of Athens. Offering the olive tree for wood, food and trade.

She created Medusa who was previously a priestess. She turned her into a gorgon to protect her from further harm from men after she was defiled. She was able to take her revenge on men instead and turn them to stone.

Later after Perseus overcame Medusa with her reflection, Athena used Medusa's head on her shield to scare her opponents in war.

Goddess Athena believed that people should only go to war as a last resort and only if they fought for a noble or just cause.

Artworks shown with her and owls associate her with wisdom.

She was a guardian of Athens and the Goddess of heroes.

She is usually depicted with armor, her shield and a spear.

I have painted her as a modern Goddess who uses her mind and wisdom from others to solve her problems. She is kind and helps others.

She is big and beautiful and makes a statement.

She measures 60w x 49.5h cm.

She is available for purchase now!

Can you envision her on your wall?

Click the Buy Now button below.

Never pictured yourself as an art buyer? "Art is not a luxury; art is sustenance." It goes beyond mere decoration, playing a vital role in improving our mental health, providing moments of stillness, inspiring personal growth, and lifting our spirits. Have a read of my latest blog if you are curious!

Love it but not interested in buying? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts. What catches your eye? What process interests you? What part of her story do you like?

This gives me ideas of what to create next time and to understand what people like about the process or details.

Have a great day everyone.



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