It’s my birthday tomorrow (32 years young!) and what better excuse to get some art supplies and new books! I got this gorgeous book The Book of Beetles: A Life-Size Guide to Six Hundred of Nature’s Gems and 100 Flowers from the RHS: 100 Postcards in a Box as amazing references for my artwork.
I also bought 50 Art Ideas you need to know as I love learning about the history of art and 101 Mixed Media Techniques which has loads of great ideas and things I am already trying out in my art journal pages. I think I need a new bookcase!
In my most recent project, I decided to incorporate many different materials and techniques. I had a piece of PDF wood for ages, for a long forgotten project which would be good for the basis of a heavily mixed media piece.
I often listen to different podcasts when doing my artwork and listened to a great one about the Egyptian God Re the sun god whose tears became bees. I loved this idea and wanted to create some kind of sun goddess, incorporating bees into my imagery, along with golds, yellow, orange and bronze.
I have also been influenced by Susi Blu, reading her book and watching her mixed media videos on YouTube which inspired me to approach my work with more freedom and also try adding beeswax to my work.
I prepped the board with white Gesso, painted lightly with my favourite Dylusions paints in red and orange, and added torn pieces of Tim Holtz tissue paper with Modge Podge. For the face of my goddess, I lightly sketched on watercolour paper then coloured in with Inktense pencils. I used my watercolour pencils for the skin tone, then went over with water on a small brush.
Once this dried I went over the outlines with Posca pens and added some colourful markings to her face. I glued this to the board with Modge Podge and then stamped around the board with black ink and a textured stamp, allowing the paper to become part of the board.
I think I felt a bit stuck at this point, as the space around the paper seemed bigger than I originally thought. I punched out some different shapes and decided to make circles into her earrings. I embossed these with a bronze powder and glued them down. I then decided to add to her hair with orange paint, aligning the face and background.
Using a lovely bee stamp I’ve had for ages (one of my first!) I embossed some golden bees and cut them out. I then died to add some die cut flowers using a Tim Holtz Tattered flowers pattern, embossed part of the petals and glued them into the hair of my goddess. I lightly painted round this outlines with watered down black acrylic then decided to try some oil pastels on the background. At this point I thought it was looking quite grungy, which was sort of the style I wanted.
I wasn’t that happy with her skin tone and the way I had glued the paper to the wood, so I started using a flesh colour to paint her neck. This didn’t look great, so I decided to go over her whole face with paint, except her eyes and lips.
I added some gold Cosmic Shimmer paint to the whole piece in random places but wanted a bit more texture, so got out a stencil and added modelling paste. Once this dried, I painted over it in a mixture of red, bronze and orange acrylics. as if this wasn’t enough, I then decided to add some glitter and golden stars to her hair, and then glued my embossed bees down.
I think having a break from my piece for a few days helped me to come back to it with fresh eyes. I liked how the layers of texture and materials were almost jarring against each other. I decided to add some small embellishments for shimmer, then it was time to try the beeswax. I was a bit apprehensive in case it looked terrible! But as they came in tiny pellets, I sprinkled a few on and used my heating tool to melt them. I actually love how it came out, and the interesting text the wax added to the overall piece. I think this is quite a different direction for me in terms of my style and what I feel comfortable using. I made the decision to use lots of mixed media and ignore any ideas of perfection or planning. As a creative exercise I found it fun and liberating and encourage people to try it.
Check out my video of this piece as well!