Octopus – the Art Elements theme reveal

Claire has a deep love for octopus. If you know her – you know this. So it wasn’t a surprise when this was her selection for the theme this month! Personally I find them alternately beautiful and creepy, yet utterly fascinating. They are chameleons, and very intelligent. (Image from this NY Times article)

CreditCreditFred Tanneau/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

I sat down to bead – to bead a tapestry with the perfect enameled Octopus by Anne Gardanne.

I was thinking. a felted and beaded tapestry .I tried out ideas for an embellished frame that wold have embedded shells in Apoxie clay. I wove ribbons of hand dyed French silk ribbon amongst the tentacles….. Nothing. The Muse was not a-mused. ( I set this aside for another day. )

See what I kept thinking of was a mermaid. Who says they all have to have fish tales. I mean, Ursula the Sea Witch was an octopus. So I went to one of my all time favorite artists for inspiration. Alfonse Mucha.

This is “Dance” completed in 1898. It was the figure reface I needed – clearly Mucha in style, with clear lines to alter the lower half of the figure. And I traced it – full disclosure!

I drew my own decorative elements, and did line work in sepia permanent marker. I painted happily one afternoon – a break from the studio – red hair, aqua waves, and a mottled background.And then tackled those tentacles!

I started a base coat of watercolor. I had masked off the edges a little…. I planned on using salt in a wash to get speckles. But I had small salt, and it wasn’t dramatic enough – so I started shattering! What a wet mess and SO much fun. Then I added some Brusho pigment crystals…

Wet and wonderful

I had thought about drawing in the suckers with white Gell pen? Or painting a hint of them in watercolor… but the Brusho are so intense they kinda ruin a piece for working back in. They also splattered past where I had applied Maskit and are very hard to cover! ( They reactivate with anything wet…) SO I think I am done!

This was just what I needed – to paint for pleasure. Thank you Claire for a great theme. Oh – Zoey wanted in on the octopus action too:

Don’t forget – this is a hop! Take a look at other creations from the Art Elements team and our guests this month!

Guest artists:
Evie and Beth

Art Elements Team:
Laney Lindsay Marsha

13 thoughts on “Octopus – the Art Elements theme reveal

  1. Laney Mead says:

    Now I need to try those Brusho pens! I like this piece very much I too love Mucha and these colours are so vibrant and uplifting. Of course Zoe stole the show for me 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hope Smitherman says:

    I love that you altered that original into your own work! It played out beautifully. And hey, you have a Zoey and I have a Zoe; how funny is that?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Evie and Beth says:

    Cool idea of taking the image and then alternating it to how you wanted it to look. I love the colors and the textures of the tentacles of the piece!
    I like the start of your first idea – I hope you go back to it and finish at some point.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. cathysmendola says:

    I am sure one day the muse will speak to you and you’ll create a fabulous little tapestry with that enameled octopus. But OH MY! Your muse certainly spoke to you when you created your interpretation of ‘The Dance’. The colors and textures of those tentacles are spectacular. I just have to try some Brusho pigment crystals. And last but not least, Zoey presenting her octopus for us all is too stinking cute for words!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sarajo Wentling says:

    While I don’t really understand much of what you did to achieve the amazing Mucha-esque masterpiece, I love the finished product! Such a cool idea. And Zoey is adorable with the octopus toy!

    Liked by 1 person

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