A Classical Painting Adventure with Michael Fuchs

It’s all a bit synchronous and strange how it all came to be, and it seems to all be a part of the bigger unfolding magik of my path as Art Witch.


Last August for Imbolc I went to a Reclaiming ritual in a beautiful old church hall north of the city where Brigid was to be Aspected in her three forms


Blacksmith

Poet

Healer


I have loved Brigid for a long, long, time, she has been with me for at least 16 years that I am conscious of.


That night in ritual I made a pledge at the Forge of Brigid the Smith to walk through the next year with Courage and an Open Heart. It wasn’t a specific ‘achievement’ goal but it was the flavour of energy and momentum that I knew I needed, it was the tempering of steel my heart required, for at this point I had previously turned down calling in an Element for this exact ritual, the mere thought leaving my heart pounding and hands trembling and even walking out into the middle of the circle to speak my pledge in front of the 30ish people present had me shaking in fear, 'where had my confidence gone?' I often wondered and so I asked for Brigid’s fiery heart to guide my way.


After the ritual my beloved and I went across the road from the hall to a little bar to have a drink while we waited to move along to a friend’s birthday celebrations. There on the walls was a selection of stunning artworks and a couple of particularly fiery pieces really jumped out at me post Brigid fire goddess ritual. I was dazzled and immediately searched for more of the artist Katia Honour's work online https://katiahonour.com/

I spoke of my desire aloud to my beloved "One-day i really want to learn Oil Painting and do training in visionary art techniques."


Two days later, post Imbolc ritual, I began my journey as a WildWood witch, not really the beginning, as mystery would reveal I had been here all along, the spirits weaving through my life from the beginning but perhaps Imbolc instead marks the official dedicant journey to myself because, let’s face it, time isn’t linear and maybe nonsense is perfect sense. A ritual was held, the godds were called, eyes were turned in my direction and a path was revealed in the woods.


12 weeks after the Imbolc ritual a message arrives in my Facebook Page Inbox from Katia, the very same artist whose work captivated me that Imbolc ritual night. Here was a message inviting me to come train in Classical ‘Old Master’ techniques with Michael Fuchs son of Ernst Fuchs the creator of the Vienna Academy of Visionary Art and teacher of Amanda Sage one of my favourite Visionary Artists.



Ernst Fuchs, Amanda Sage and Michael Fuchs. Pic via CoSM.com


Oh my Squee, the rush of energy that came and wrapped around me was intoxicating. I had been dreaming of attending this Visionary Art Academy for years and now the training was coming here to Melbourne! I wouldn’t have to fly to Vienna or Byron to train in these techniques, here it was coming to me. It all felt so aligned. Yes! I replied joyfully, I will make this happen, I will follow this dream. Leaning in felt very surreal, I faced all kinds of Fraud Police yelling that I wasn’t ready or good enough, how could I do a Master Class in Oil Paint, I hadn’t touched oil paint in what felt like a million years. But I kept just leaning in and listening to the YES!


In January I would have my WildWood initiation, a beautiful ritual that would see me begin to unravel old stories, old pain. Our Lady of the WildWood would come to me in starlight and roses, she whispers to me in dreamtime that I will know her as Mary, it’s not her secret name but a name I will personally hold for her.




The Mary statues at the local Cemetery call to me and I go visit them, and as the painting workshop gets closer I receive a vision of Our Lady of The Wildwood as Mary in a starlit rose garden, she asks me to paint her.

On Thursday the 14th of March I began the oil painting workshop with Michael Fuchs, it is thoroughly confronting to begin with.


Firstly - Oil Paint – what the hell am I meant to do with this mess!


We begin by choosing from a variety of pre-prepared images for our study, I’m initially disappointed to not be able to paint my Mary vision, but I trust she will come. I choose an image Michael calls ‘The Nun’ she reminds me of Mary so much, I feel Our Lady with me as I paint.


We are to copy the photo precisely not by tracing paper or grids or projectors but through training our eyes and hands, the process is brutal, I am faced with the realisation that I in fact can’t see and even find myself developing and eye infection – what!



Day 1


Day 2

This workshop has been intense. I am learning so much, all my edges are being stretched and pushed. Usually I spend the majority of my time alone in my studio. Im introverted by nature, perhaps a by-product of feeling a bit too sensitive for the structures of society and the general public. This painting is getting me out of my square. It’s actually the first ‘training’ I have ever done in art, even though I went to ‘art school’ for 5 years.


I remember arriving at my first day of a TAFE diploma in visual arts majoring in painting to have my painting lecturer declare “painting is dead”. So bloody unhelpful and consequently I learn nothing about painting. At uni, I major in Painting for a year to again have no painting skills shared, this is not an atelier of dreams, instead we are told to come up with a concept, create a body of work and then we are to sit around and critique each other – gah! It is the worst. I hear on an almost daily basis that faerie painting is irrelevant and it would be years post art school before I can even paint again. Since then every painting has felt like a triumph against everyone who ever said I couldn’t, every smash of fluoro pink a defiant finger up at the