When I first sketched out this seraphic being, it had feathery wings that were fiery only in color, much like the phoenix in Fulgor. Although I do love to paint feathers, as I thought more about the word’s etymology–
“From Latin seraphim, from Greek seraphim, from Hebrew seraphim, from saraph (to burn).”
–I decided to try a rough sketch of a straight-up flaming version. Once it began to take shape, I never looked back.
As I was painting the face I tried to capture a sense of seraphic serenity, but also of empowerment & determination. I visualized a being capable of bringing light & comfort in dark times, like fire itself, but also holding immense power & mystery.
This was my second painting on panel after Daedal. The (slightly) larger size and smoother surface seemed to befit an angelic entity!
The original painting & prints are now available in my Etsy shop, Curious Art Lab.
I didn’t know this word until Anu suggested it for A.Word.A.Day, but once I looked it up I knew it would be great fun to illustrate! There’s something delightfully Shakespearean about the definition of “afflatus” in the old dictionary I used for the background text– any word that could evoke both “an exaltation of soul” & “belching” would appeal to the bard, don’t you think? Still, I hope his expression conveys that it’s divine inspiration he’s receiving here & not digestive vapors, however angelic. It was a technical challenge even to get a likeness since his face is barely the size of my fingernail!
Here’s a work-in-progress shot showing the scale of the painting. (If you’d like to see more of this sort of thing please follow me on Instagram.)