She wished to be herself just for one day…

This title came about after I thought of the story this portrait evoked. However, I eventually changed the title to something I thought would be more suitable to the portrait after I decided to add the art to a carry-all pouch. (Titles are so challenging!)

This post was first published in 2016 and I republish it for Throwback Thursday.


I loved this first acrylic portrait so much that I had it printed on zippered carry-all pouches.  In fact, I use this large sturdy pouch for all my art stuff when I travel. This post shows the how-to process from beginning to end.

pouch with Louise's ARTiculations art available at Society6

The Last Strains of Music Carry-All Pouch (Large) by Louise’s ARTiculations at Society6.

Lucrezia’s story…

Lucrezia, weary from the season’s first grand ball, readies herself to retire for the night. She can still hear the last strains of the violin while guests left the palace.

As her maidservant slips a diaphanous white nightgown over Lucrezia’s head, the young princess catches a glimpse of herself in the glittering mosaics on the wall of her luxurious bedroom.

One day, she muses, no one will see me as King Lorenzo’s oldest daughter and I will no longer carry the burden of this golden crown. (and a heavy crown it must be!). Her thoughts are interrupted by her mother’s presence in the hallway. Lucrezia’s maidservant is asked to leave the room.

Lucrezia wonders why her mother has chosen this moment to visit her in her private chambers.

Do you know why the Queen is visiting Lucrezia at this late hour? Could it be to discuss Lucrezia’s odd behaviour during the ball?  Has a young suitor presented himself and asked for her hand in marriage? Or has her mother caught her flirting with one of the musicians during the evening? What could it be?

mixed media princess with gold crown

How the story comes about…

Lucrezia’s story only occurred to me after the art work was completed.

I wonder if it would have been easier had the story been written before I started painting. Something tells me that the painting must come first.

However,  I rarely follow a recipe to the letter.

Whenever close friends ask for a copy of a recipe, I have to add notes in the margin because I either changed the process or the ingredients.

The same is true in art where, thankfully, experimentation is encouraged.  No one wants to have art that is exactly the same as another artist.

Even though many stories might run through my head while I am painting, it isn’t until the art work is done that the story is fully fleshed out.

This portrait is based on a lesson by Muriel Stegers who painted an angel she titled Amber. Muriel’s lovely art can be seen on her “Must Art” Facebook page.

I knew when I saw my background that this would not be an angel.

mixed media background

Scraps of paper I already had from other projects found their way onto the background:

  • a piece of napkin,
  • sheet music for the trombone section from a high school band book, and
  • remnants of delicate script in old letters, the latter from The Graphics Fairy, where I found an interesting selection of vintage images that were mostly created before 1923, and are in the public domain.
underpainting of mixed media princess - the ugly stage

Once I had a satisfactory background and preliminary sketch of the face, I started the underpainting of the darker areas.

This is the ugly stage that every painting must go through before emerging as a beautiful final piece.

mixed media princess underpainting

Finally, a face was emerging and I was happy so far.

At this point, I had to set her aside for a week or so for fear of ruining her. I didn’t know how to work the hair. Muriel had chosen to allow her paint to drip to suggest the hair on her angel. It has taken me some time to like the drips of paint on works of art and I wasn’t quite ready to have them on mine just yet.

The background seemed to suggest quite serendipitously, a hairstyle that would suit her and give her the exotic look I was seeking.

procreate - trying different hairstyles on mixed media princess

However, doubts set in. I decided to import my incomplete painting into Procreate and I drew different hairstyles hoping to find something that would give her a bit of a different look. I didn’t like any of the hairstyles I tried. This is the beauty of Procreate for a work already in progress. It’s possible to change the art work digitally before using an actual brush and paint on canvas or paper.

Finally, after much hesitation, I decided that since the background had already blocked in a hairstyle for me, it was just meant to be. I followed the lines and darkened the area above her head.

After this step, it was easy to finish her. A little lip colour, some adjustments in her gown, and she was done.

hair is added to mixed media princess
crown of gold is added to mixed media princess
final touches are added to mixed media princess

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