Saturday, July 06, 2013

The Sea Canvas (Part 1)

This 11" by 14" canvas began with the book my brother bought me at a used book sale; an old atlas. Filled with wonderfully pale colored maps of the world that I had learned in school. Not the maps of the Real World as it stands today. This atlas still has Yugoslavia and the USSR. This atlas represents the world before it began to break apart at the seams.

So I wanted to use them. I love maps.

I had also been hoarding a lot of Ocean images, mostly fish. I intended to make an altered book and I might yet but this canvas called to me first.

I decoupaged the torn maps to the canvas and cut out my magazine sheet of various shells. I didn't really mind the crinkling of the maps. It definately allows a bit of texture to the peice.

I envisioned this canvas in layers. Bottom layer; maps and shells at the bottom of the ocean. Next layer; water. Next layer; fish. Next layer; water.

I didn't paint all the way to the bottom of the canvas. I was going to add a shoreline which is what I did next. Lacking brown paint and liking the look of several papers I had, I went with a torn paper sandy beach.

I made more of the canvas beach that I had anticipated just because I like the way it framed the sea bed. I also added all the fish. Those were stickers that I had. In this top photo, they have just been stuck on and gone over with Mod Podge (since I was adding the paper edge, I went over the whole canvas to keep the stickers on permanent!). The bottom photo I added my next layer of "water".

Golden Fluid Acrylic is such a wonderful product for this! I carried the blue paint onto the shoreline to extend the "shallows". This is where I became nervous. I really liked how this was coming along so I didn't want to screw up the border between sand and sea. But I wasn't sure how I was going to depict the waves. So thanks to Bob Ross! I happened to catch one of his old painting classes on a PBS station where he was doing waves and a shoreline. While my shoreline has a different perspective that the scene he was doing, I learned about adding that touch of highlight to make the wave come alive.

So I added some white gesso to my blue to get a lighter shade that was more opaque. I used a "swishy" brushstroke to pull the edge of the water back to the sea from the shore. Then, I gave the highlight of white to the edge of the water by dabbing on paint like you would if you were stenciling.

I am almost finished. I can see it. I just have to find my shells and finish off a layer on top. I need to add something as the top layer so the fish and shells seem to disappear into the depths.

I'll be back.
"All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by."  --John Masefield "Sea Fever" (or Star Trek!)

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