Neptune's Playground: experimenting with semi-abstract underwater scene.


A few weeks ago, while looking through all my art supplies, I found jars of unopened mediums. Gasp!  What was I thinking when I bought these?

With a little bit of research and some fabulous tutorials, I was able to recycle a 12 x 36 gallery wrapped canvas that had some very ugly art on it.

Ah, yes, the magic of gesso. This is one product that I could not do without. The canvas already had some texture on it and I spread white gesso over the entire painting to hide the ugly flowers. Very cathartic!


gesso to cover up disasterI now had a blank canvas, except for the texture, of course. It would have been impossible to scrape that off without damaging the canvas.

I had to keep the texture in mind when I decided to paint over the disaster. And as the painting was for the master bathroom, an underwater theme with bright colours such as I imagine one would find on the Great Barrier Reef was the ticket for this reused canvas.


Out came the unopened jar of crackle paste and one of my palette knives. How liberating to just scoop out the product, much like icing from a bowl, and swirl it around with big sweeping gestures. Next came the little details such as the leaves, the stems, the stalks. In some areas, I used the edge of the palette knife to cut a swath through the layer of colour. In others, I flattened the surface a little to show a thicker stalk.

Shimmer and shine and layering

The images below cannot show the shimmer and shine I achieved after many layers of colours and bronzing were painted onto the canvas. I added glass beads medium and you cannot see that either, but trust me, when the sun shines on this scene, it is quite spectacular. 

Besides the bronzing and glass beads, I added gold leafing. I learned that I should have waited until after the piece was varnished to apply the gold leafing as it loses some of its effect and becomes a little dull under the varnish.

The varnish adds a glossy coat of protection and really makes the colours even more vivid.  Finally, to suggest water droplets, I added Swarovski crystals here and there.  Oh my!  I love that effect. 

This whole process was so much fun that I decided to make two small canvases (4 “ x4”) in a similar style and offer them to subscribers to my newsletter.

The photos do not do justice to the little gems. And yes, there are little gems, Swarovski crystals, embedded in the painting in a very subtle manner (less is more) to create the effect of dew droplets.

Become a subscriber to win both flower canvases!

If you are not a subscriber, it isn’t too late.

To win both of these paintings, like my Facebook artist page, and share on your Facebook wall. Then, subscribe here to my newsletter. The draw will take place at the end of the month.

Voilà, this is the story of how I travelled a different creative road this month.

Good luck to everyone!

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