The Replacement Mermaid

My name is Laura and I am a Control Freak.

Frequent visitors to my blog may recall that the other day I shared the “monstrous mermaid” I had painted in response to a Life Book lesson.  I managed to successfully view the whole experience as a learning experience, spun the negatives into positives, embraced the mistakes.  Nevertheless, it niggled at me.  It annoyed me still.  Because I am a control freak.  I needed to test whether I had learned from the experience after all, whether I could use my analysis of what had gone right and wrong and create a better version as a consequence.  So today I decided to eke out some art time thanks to having no volunteer commitments, getting cracking on chores early in the morning and cooking dinner in the crockpot.

I liked what I had done with the collage before – using gelli plate prints torn at random and interspersed with book pages – so I decided to replicate that with the addition of also using some scraps from a map.  This time I scraped a thin layer of gesso over the centre of the collage to both knock back some of the collage colours a little and to provide a tooth for the paint to adhere to.  I think where I went wrong most before was in my use of heavy bodied acrylic paints.  I did use them again for my second attempt but this time mixed with bases of craft acrylics to increase the fluidity and extend the drying time of the paint.  That allowed me to blend a bit better and also allowed the collage papers to show through a little in places, which I thought was a welcome effect for a mixed media piece.  I really liked all of the dots in my previous painting so I did dots again.

I changed it up a bit stylistically too, working in my more cartoony style, which helped simplify things a little.  I did, however, stick to the same colour pallette because I liked the teal greens and russet reds I had used on the previous attempt.  I also used the same phrase again – “Go with the flow” – an instruction to myself I am ironically not abiding by given that I insisted on a do-over on this mermaid painting.  A lovely woman who is a member of one of the online mixed media groups I belong to very sweetly and generously sent me a whole box of shape punches she was getting rid of recently.  Among them was a seahorse punch.  Perfect.  I found some origami paper in my stash that was both green and orange, picking up colours from the painting, so I punched a few seahorses out of that paper and adhered them to the painting.

Week 4 - 2 - Acrylic on Collage - Courage

Job done.  Perfect?  Absolutely not.  I still have a lot to learn but at least I know I am learning from mistakes.  I am much happier with this mermaid.  I still prefer my siren drawing though.

7 thoughts on “The Replacement Mermaid

  1. I can see where you changed it up and how it has improved – the background works really well too. Isn’t this what it’s all about? Finding out what works for us and what doesn’t and finding our own styles …. I just had an epic fail with the same exercise 🙂

    • It seems a lot of people have struggled with that particular lesson, which makes me a feel a bit better about it. I definitely feel better about it for having tested whether I have learned anything and applying that learning. I still have a lot of room for improvement when it comes to working in acrylic, however. I look forward to seeing your response to the lesson. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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