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How I made Goddess Athena

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

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