I had this idea in my head of painting a mermaid interacting with a sea turtle. After numerous sketches, I came up with this idea. This siren is in the shallow waters near a reef so there are fish and seaweeds. when I was younger, I did quite a bit of diving with a snorkel and also dive tank and gear. I had to pull my memories of how the highlights hit the water and make patterns on the sea floor and everything else. Since this scene was totally made up, I also had to figure out how the light would hit certain parts of the mermaids body and how the shadows played with the highlights. I wanted to keep it my expressionistic/impressionistic stylings so didn’t try for realism. For instance the little fish are made from three quick brushstrokes.
The objective is to distill more emotion with luminous colorings and the sweep of the brushstrokes showing movement of the water. The seaweed fanning with the currents and bubbles floating up along with her hair give the feeling of being underwater.
“Silent Conversation” is 48′ tall and 36″ wide.
Her face took the most time, She took on many faces until she finally appeared.
“Close to the Surface” is a very large mermaid painting requested by Dales Original Art Gallery in Christophe Harbour on the island of St. Kitts. It is 60×48″ so will be stunning in a large room. I worked from dark to light in acrylics, starting with black gesso on the raw canvas.
Shipping is a big issue when shipping internationally so I purchased a large roll of primed premium canvas and stapled it to an existing stretched canvas for stability. Once completed, I pulled the staples out and rolled it on the large tube that the canvas came in with archival paper. Then, I discovered that tubes are a hard thing to obtain. I had gone to many stores trying to find a shipping roll that would house a 50″ canvas. UPS, UHAUL boxes, Box &Movers, Staples, Office Depot, Target, Home Depot….no luck. You can purchase them online but have to get quantities of 5.
After showing the gallery this painting, I was invited to share an international show in February with two other women artists: One from London and one from ST. Kitts. Its a show celebrating women and will be highlighting nudes. Then I thought since its so expensive to ship anything internationally and so difficult to find long shipping tubes, that I had better get going to complete two other large canvases to ship within the same tube. At this posting, one of the new ones is nearly completed and the third one is started.
I wasn’t sure what to call my new mermaid but wanted to relate how she was watching over the bay as a guardian. “Lightkeeper” was a contender but I ended up with “Allexis” which is a Greek name meaning protector, guardian. This painting is smaller than most of my mermaids at 36×18″. It took a while since I made up the scene. I did use a canvas from years ago that I had started from a live nude painting session at the local university.
Sometimes while painting a figure, I have to guess where the shadows and light is coming from which is challenging. There is a point where the face changes dramatically with each brushstroke and finally she appears. I say “Oh there you are” when I feel she has emerged.
This mermaid painting was started nearly 2 months ago and I have been working on it off and on. Finally last week, I made some progress and reached a place where she spoke ” Here I am”. When first I started sketching in her face, it was too large for her body so several days of alterations and adding fish and elements was necessary. I liked the areas of very little detail mixed with smaller areas of detail. Its still soft and semi impressionistic.
“Siren Lounge” is 40x30x1.5″ and is available at this time.