TBT – Shakespeare said it best

Throwback Thursday mixed media mermaid

I would like to thing that Shakespeare must have felt the urge to visit some of the faraway places he frequently used as settings in his plays.

In The Merchant of Venice, he writes of the business conducted on the Rialto, a bridge that still stands today and of Belmont, an area that only existed in Shakespeare'd mind but could certainly be set in the tropical Italian mountains of the north near Lago Maggiore say, where the wise Portia meets her suitors and must choose one to marry her.

Romeo and Juliet, of course, is set in Verona. Tourists can see Juliet's golden statue (a tourist trap, I might add) in the Capulet courtyard.

Hamlet's action takes place in Denmark and Macbeth's gory scenes and battles, in Scotland.

Incredibly, this prolific playwright never set foot outside of England.

I often wonder why the "unpathed waters, undreamed shores" never pulled him in their direction. I suppose he was too busy earning a living once he was in the queen and then later, the king's good graces.

I might have taken the quotation out of context but there are many "unpathed waters, undreamed shores" that I hope to visit in the years to come.

This mermaid was painted last year for Let's Face it online class.

The ocean is her watery ballroom

mixed media mermaid in altered book

Another mermaid has been added to my altered travel pamphlet from Capri.

The mixed media I used include acrylics, gelatos, watercolour pencils, sponges, and stamps. The glitter is Folk Art's Extreme Glitter acrylic paint. It is a transparent silver glitter that I often use when I need a bit of glam in my journals.

I realize that I probably should have ripped out some pages between each painting and left only one page and glued it as backing to each painting. The book is getting really thick now with the glued pages and all the gesso I use to prep the pages.

Experiment and learn.

She lures young men to the depths of the turquoise sea

"Darwin may have been quite correct in his theory that man descended from the apes of the forest, but surely woman rose from the frothy sea, as resplendent as Aphrodite on her scalloped chariot." ~Margot Datz, A Survival Guide for Landlocked Mermaids.

mixed media mermaid in altered journal

The quotation seems appropriate for the mermaid I have painted today in a repurposed or altered souvenir book given to me by my parents shortly after I visited Capri in 2006.

I love being able to recycle old books this way. I have begun collecting ephemera including sewing patterns, sheet music, beautiful script, but my greatest treasure so far is a book of Ontario statutes full of legalese published in 1919. The pages are beautifully yellowed and I can hardly wait to use them as collage pieces in my art work.

But I digress...

My mermaid has a suggestive smirk; however, her secret will not be revealed unless you follow her to the watery depths where she lives.

After all, mermaids entice men to follow them to the bottom of the sea.

When I was younger, I wondered why these tales written by men showed them to be so gullible as to follow a mermaid to the bottom of the ocean. How many mariners have been drawn to murky waters by the sound of a mermaid's melodious voice?

I can't remember reading one story about women being lured by men to their deaths in this manner.

No matter the origins of this creature, the mermaid represents entrapment for the "apes of the forest" . Wouldn't you agree?

And so, my lovely little mermaid has that knowing look on her face. Let's just leave it at that.

Capri travel book

To view another mermaid I painted on canvas, see This mermaid sings a melancholy song for her lost love.


Mixed media mermaid in altered travel souvenir book

This mermaid sings a melancholy song for her lost love.

"I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown."

~T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

This mermaid sings a melancholy song for her lost love

Gracefully, the mermaid surfaces from the frothy depths
Searching along the shore for her long gone love
She sings a haunting melody borne by the wind
A tale of shipwreck, a lovestruck sailor, and her misery.

The delicate wisps of sun bleached coral
Veil her longing, mournful gaze
Among the shady fronds she seeks shelter
And is not soothed by the gentle tide.

Her water soaked hair glistens in the sun
For a moment her woeful eyes meet mine
Heavy hearted, she chants her tale of sorrow
Her longing for one she cannot not find.

She will return to the ocean's murky bed
With sparkling shells in her hair
Singing the same doleful melody
Haunting the abyss with her sad song.

~ Louise Primeau


Mixed media mermaid - acrylics, watercolours, gelatos, oil pastels. Based on a lesson by Karine Bossé, a Canadian artist from Montréal.  Grand merci Karine pour l'inspiration et les techniques en art!

You can view Karine's lovely paintings as well as her whimsical dolls here.  (www.kabostudio.com)