Friday, November 22, 2013

The Serendipity Canvas: Bling

One important thing I've learned from watching art videos on YouTube is that: if you're not happy with the canvas, just paint over it. This canvas was just that.

This canvas was going to be a neon/fluorescent skull more or less like Day of the Dead but it never started good and went nowhere fast. The neon paints I had were very cheap craft store paints and were too "watered down" to give really good coverage to the canvas, especially the green and I wanted to use lots of that color. I rolled with it and applied several coats to get it where I wanted. It wasn't perfect but most would be covered anyway.

I had a vision of using black acrylic over these bright colors to "frame" the focal of a stencil skull which would also be done in black. I added black acrylic around the edges of the taped down stencil then went to work on the skull. Well...

I intended to simply draw it through the stencil with an Extra Fine Sharpie (oil-based) but the stencil had such small details that even the Extra Fine tip wouldn't fit through the openings! Damn it! So I decided to dab black acrylic through the stencil with a sponge. It still wouldn't work. I either couldn't get it through the openings or it seeped under the stencil leaving a very undefined look which I didn't like.

I didn't even finish half of the stencil when I gave up on it. Stenciling really isn't my thing. I need so much more practice, I guess. (Back to chemistry 102 for some more lessons) So now I'm stuck with a neon colored canvas with a black acrylic outline and a half-stenciled "skull" which mostly looks like a couple black blobs that might be daisies.

Solution: Cover it all with black.
Problem: Now what? I have such a hard time working on black. I LOVE the look of a black background but it takes me forever to figure out what to do with it when it's blank like that, staring at me. For a light canvas, I can simply add color, any color, but a dark canvas requires more thought.
Solution: Try something I had been meaning to do...throw on some aluminum foil and drop alcohol ink to make a background.

I just used some of my favorite colors: wild plum, stream, bottle, and cranberry. I think I put a little lettuce green in there. As I dropped and dripped it, I picked out what I liked about it. The stream and the wild plum looked great with a touch of the bottle. The cranberry and other green...not so much. With blending solution, I fixed what I could. But because the aluminum foil was very crinkled ( I did that for texture) the ink pooled and was hard to remove.

Problem: I had no idea what I was going to do with this mess. While I liked the colors, I didn't like the way they were so haphazard across the canvas. It was very busy and I wasn't sure what to put over it.
Solution: Let it sit.
And sit. And sit.
I finally came up with an idea to make it a Deep Dive canvas. I would use my jellyfish stamp (100ProofPress), stamp it onto clear acetate and attach it to the canvas with clear pop dots so they would almost hover above the canvas.
Problem: After stamping and cutting the jellyfish, I discovered that the images were too indistinct with the pattern of alcohol ink behind them. Even popped up from the canvas, you couldn't see the stamps. Damn it!
Solution: Leave it alone. Let it sit...again. Work on the other canvas and notebook. Work in the art journal.

So here's why this canvas became my Serendipity Canvas. As I was thumbing through my hoard of magazine clippings for a page in my art journal, I found an image that matched the canvas perfectly. The young woman stood tall in a wild plum skirt and a blue top that both held this wonderful metallic sheen. She was fashion, she was material, she was bling.

So I cut her out and set her free. She crowns the canvas with her "accessories". I currently debate whether this canvas is finished yet. I had an idea today to outline the collage elements with white pen and add little jewels.

Perhaps not entirely finished, but it is serendipity.
Serendipity means a "happy accident" or "pleasant surprise"; a fortunate mistake. Specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it.

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