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September Hecate - Monthly Project

Technically...technically I finished this photo in September, so I am still going to count this year's goal as on track, even if my health delayed this post. Migraines suck! For those that know me, you know that I am a huge Halloween junkie. If I had it my way, my house would be fully decorated and haunted the second I see school supplies for sale in August. But according to my husband (and most of the world) that's a little early. HOWEVER, my blog, my posts, and I will make a creepy post if I want to!! With that, I present to you, the goddess of magic, the moon, of witches, ghosts, necromancy, sorcery, and way, way too many titles; Hecate!

Not going to lie, I really wanted to keep things simple this month, and I wanted to show appreciation for a web comic I follow called Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe. My favorite character in it is Hecate, and she has been slaying lately. So I decided to learn more about this goddess and turn myself into my interpretation of her. Hecate or Hekate is a goddess in ancient Greek religion and mythology. She is often shown holding a pair of torches, a key, snakes or accompanied by dogs and in later periods depicted in triple form. She is variously associated with crossroads, entrance-ways, night, light, magic, witchcraft, knowledge of herbs and poisonous plants, ghosts, necromancy, and sorcery.

The three forms of Hecate have taken on various shapes over the years. She has been depicted as three separate women, one woman with three heads, and a woman with one head and three faces. For the purposes of this portrait, and so you are better able to see all three faces, I decided to use the three-heads-one-body design. In all three versions of Hecate, the women have one thing in common -- or should I say three things in common. One head is young (representing the past,) one head is middle aged (representing the present,) and one head is old (representing the future.)

Thanks to her association with boundaries and the liminal spaces between worlds, Hecate is also recognized as a goddess of the underworld. As the holder of the keys that can unlock the gates between realms, she can unlock the gates of death. Hecate takes on the role of guardian not just of roads, but of all journeys, including the journey to the afterlife. If you are on top of your Greek mythology, you may recall Hecate escorting Persephone from the underworld.

For this piece of work, I had to take 3 photos of myself and layer them in such a way that the necks of all three ladies look attached to the same body. After adding some clothes and jewelry, it was time to face the hardest part; aging and de-aging my faces. I've had experience in the past making people in their portraits look younger. It's not something I personally like to do normally, but when you work for another company, you do what the client and your boss say. In this case, it was the youngest I have ever had to revert someone back to. I did a little reading before attempting the younger and older woman. I had to learn how the face develops over time. I knew for example that the eyes and nose stay relatively the same throughout ones life, and that gravity pulls things down and slims our face as we get older, but that was about it. This study taught me more about face proportions, nose width, and eye height. It was quite interesting. I then applied these techniques to the faces. The other fun thing was aging myself. I am generally ok with the idea of aging, but I am also a little vain and just want to keep my good looks as I get older. I don't necessarily want to be young forever, I just want to age with grace like Meryl Streep or Helen Mirren. When you age a face in photoshop, it's usually best to have a photo of both parents, and to layer sections of their faces onto your subjects. In this case, I didn't have access to those at the moment, and time was of the essence. I told my husband a while ago that I thought Jamie Lee Curtis was my moms celebrity look alike. They are roughly the same age, and although their bodies are very different, their faces are pretty close. I decided to see how close it was and to use her face, rather than my dear mothers (sorry mom, love you.) Turns out we have VERY similar faces! Her nose is a little shorter than mine, and my eyes are a little wider (but I think that's just because of our age difference, as eyes sag over time.) So I can now say with confidence, based on this evidence, that Jamie Lee Curtis is my Celebrity Mom look-a-like (but my mom is way cooler.)

This photo has 44 layers, 12 groups, and is 1.39 GB in size. it took roughly 3.5 hours to create. I hope you enjoy the video below of me making the portrait, and if you want to be notified of any new posts on the blog, be sure to subscribe to my mail list, and follow me on Facebook and Instagram!

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