Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Perils of Being a Mermaid

I've been working on quite a few artsy projects lately and have posted a few on my Etsy store for sale. One that I'm really proud of is "The Perils of Being a Mermaid."

This piece started when I found two old wooden drawers at an antique fair. $8 for the pair was just the right price, even if I didn't know what I'd do with them. The next thing I found was a really neat antique Arthur Court picture frame with wonderful details of seaweed, fish, and shells. It was broken so I think I only paid $6 for it. While wandering around a few antique malls in Southern Illinois, I stumbled upon a bag of three antique bisque figurines for $4 and the mermaid inside was just what I was looking for!
A humble beginning
With the basics covered, I decided to add some texture to the background with molding paste. With a paint knife, I added some lines in hopes they would look like ripples in the water. I used Tim Holtz Distress Stain.
Making the depths
I almost left the frame and mermaid alone, but they looked disjointed against the blue-green background. For the mermaid, I coated her in Sophisticated Finishes to give her a rusted iron look. After that, what I did was all trial and error. There were alcohol inks and acrylic paint and a glossy coat...I might have used the stains too.

I was afraid to touch the frame because I didn't want it to look just like a slapped a coat of paint on it. I wanted the metal to shine through. I put a bit of alcohol ink on a Q-tip and painted a very tiny portion of it and fell in love. The metal still looked metallic, but it was almost like Black Hills Gold. I "painted" the remaining parts of the frame in different colors and love the way it turned out.

Alcohol inks on metal
Next I had to create my monster. At first I wanted to make my own octopus, but I don't have that much talent so I scoured craft stores and toy aisles for a beast. As luck would have it, I found a bag of sea creatures. I put the octopus behind the frame but it just looked dull. It needed something. Then I spied the large crab and knew what to do. I cut the claws from the toy crab and chopped of four of the octupus' tentacles. I used pieces of metal wire to hold the claws in place and molded Aves Apoxie to join the parts together. After the clay cured, I painted the whole beast black. The tentacles and bumps of the claws were painted a raspberry color and I coated the entire monster with a gold sheen.
The sea monster protecting his mermaid
The piece was nearly done, but it needed something. I went through some tumbled stones and pulled out anything that had a peachy/rosy hue. I remembered I had bought an anchor pendant for another project and added alcohol inks to it to give it a watery, rusty feel. It was still missing something. After searching through my bin of bits and pieces, I found two corroded pieces of trim.
Corroded trim
 Every time I look at this piece, I am surprised that I created it and how all the little pieces I bought "for something" went together so perfectly.
The finished piece
I'll be sad to part with this piece, but I'm sure it will find a good home.

Closer view

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