This life we's strange, painful at times, but oh so beautiful.

I am a fusion dance artist and teacher, a fire dancer, and a visual artist. I draw inspiration from nature, music, and the amazing people that come into my life. I am also a conservationist who makes jewelry and found object multimedia craft type art in my spare time (when I'm not reading, writing, or lighting things on fire and dancing around with them). I love to dance barefoot on the beach, watch the stars move inexorably across the heavens, and to laugh with the people that I love. I am currently based in Greenville SC, working with Discordia Arts to provide unique and exciting entertainment to the Upstate.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I Belong to Neither Sky nor Sea

I really enjoy fantasy! I love to read fantasy fiction, worlds that have been created and filled with fantastic creatures and the stuff of the imagination.

I drew inspiration for this piece from another artist's work. I was sitting at my booth one day, and across from me were folk art pieces with mermaids painted on them. I proceeded to sketch a drawing of a mermaid and then I added some beautiful butterfly wings to my sketch and added the caption "I Belong to Neither Sky nor Sea....whatever shall become of me?"

Fantasy Creature on Silk
I loved this sketch, but even more than my sketch, I loved the idea of my fantasy creature. She can't fly with her giant fish tail hanging from her long, thin torso, but if she swims, she will destroy her beautiful wings. I have created a beautiful and delicate creature who has a huge predicament - there is nowhere she belongs.

Silk Painting - Fantasy Figure Finished
When I transferred my sketch to silk, I changed a few aspects of my creature. I chose to really simplify my creature, relying on manipulation of the dye and colors to bring dimensionality and interest to her without having to block out all of the details in the wings and tail.

When it came time to paint, I started on the figure of my Mermaid-butterfly woman and kept the torso extremely simply. I used two washes of brown and water to give the impression of depth and shadow at the edges of the figure and around her belly button. I chose to keep the body of the figure super simple partially because I knew that I wanted her hair, wings, and tail to be very detailed.

I used 7 different washes of green in the tail. First,  I filled in the outline of the tail with clear water and then dotted the washes of green throughout the top of the tail. I painted the fins on dry silk, using water to spread and shade the dye.
Silk Painting - Figure and Ocean finished
 I chose red, brown, orange, and yellow for both the hair and the wings of the figure. I used a similar process on the wings that I used on the tail, filling in the large portions with water first and painting dots of color on the wet silk.

The rock she is sitting on was painted using grey, green, brown, orange, and purple washes and a good bit of water to spread and shade the dye.

I chose a green/blue as the main color of the water and used the same greens and greys from the creature's tail and the rock to highlight and lowlight the water. I painted the dye on thick, using water to spread the dye on the silk.
Finished Silk Painting - I Belong to Neither Sky nor Sea

Not only is my creature in a spiritual quandary, she's also in real physical danger - I used greys, purples, and dark blues with streaks of water in order to create a feel of a storm eminent on the horizon.

I am very happy with the way this piece turned out, and I am looking forward to figuring out what other creatures will be a part of this series!

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