08 September 2014

Summer Siren

Summer Siren by ~runningwave~
I have finished my first work of mixed media art on canvas. Woot! I finally did it. She's turned out quite lovely. I am so new to all of this painting-figures-on-canvas thing, but I am loving it.  The mermaid was inspired by a lesson taught by my art guru, Effy Wild in her year-long online Moonshine 2014 course.  This was a pretty intense lesson. Here are some photographs showing the creation of this piece.

Step 1, paint the mermaid in acrylic colors

I drew the figure on a 12 by 9 inch canvas board, outlining first in pencil. I intended her to look like she was floating peacefully in her aquatic home, carried by the currents. Once I had painted the general shape of the mermaid and added in her facial features I let the whole canvas dry. Effy's lesson called for three-dimensional hair. She chose cheesecloth to approximate the look of seaweed-like hair. I love the effect she achieved so it was off to the grocery for me.

Step 2, glue cheesecloth hair onto the canvas
Here's what the canvas looked like after I glued layers of cheesecloth onto it using artist's matte medium.  This turned out beautifully. I wanted her tresses to look like they were floating in a radial spray from her head in the waves.

Detail of the face and hair in step 2.

Step 3, Detail of the face, mostly complete.
To paint color in her hair I mixed PearlEx metallic powders with my acrylic Titanium White paint. The Sea Green colored powder worked best for the palette. My experiments with the PearlEx resulted in some very pleasing colors and I intend to keep playing with them. I had purchased them years ago to use as embossing colors for rubber stamping, but their effect when mixed with acrylic paints is stunning.
You will notice the detail of eye lashes in Sakura Gelly Roll metallic blue Glaze. Her lips and necklace were painted with Jacquard Copper Lumiere acrylic. The necklace got some finishing contours added in a dimensional ink brand called irRESISTible Pico Embellisher by Tsukineko.

Detail. Completed mermaid tail under the hair.
There are more coppery details on her fishtail and also in the shadow on the left side of the canvas to counterbalance the visual "weight" of the tail and out-of-control hair.
Summer Siren, completed September 6, 2014.
I think there are three very important lessons that I learned from this exercise. One: I'm perfectly capable of creating fine art on canvas. Two: I can, in fact, paint faces. Three: This was a LOT of FUN and I want to paint more canvases with mixed media.


  1. She turned out beautifully! I love the cheese cloth hair! Each new technique we learn really improves our self-confidence!

    1. Very true, Maryanne. So does practicing more often. I think scheduling regular art time has improved my skills. It's immediately obvious when I look at what I was making a year ago.

  2. I love it! Glad you learned so much in the process, too. I can't wait to see what's next!

    1. Thank you, Pokkit. I also can't wait to see what's next. My style is evolving rather organically and I don't always know what I will do next. That makes life exciting. ;-)