|Tethys mixed media drawing on paper 29.5 x 16|
"Tethys" started out its life as a vine charcoal drawing on watercolor paper done as a demonstration for a local art group. My friend Trudy, who is also a synchronized swimmer(!), agreed to pose in her regalia: a hot pink bathing suit, fingerless gloves, sparkly beach ball and an amazing crown-of-a-cap. At the end of the evening, I had a nice drawing, but it certainly didn't do justice to the vibrancy of what the model had offered. As I worked, I became excited about the possibilities of yet-to-be and decided to offer a bit about the progression to the artists who were kind enough to sit through the drawing.
Once back the easel, my first step was to use Opera Pink watercolor to paint in the costume. Templates were cut from tracing paper and the background tiles were then printed onto the paper with foot pressure from a block I had on hand. The designed tiles at the pool's edge were printed with a precut block from my collection. I just love the bits and pieces of charcoal work that are left behind where the block didn't quite make a perfect connection with the paper. To me, these are the happiest of unplanned accidents....almost up there with Christmas morning. I was pleased but then felt the need to use a large wash brush to "smoosh" some edges and make some of the tile-work more subtle. The paper was quite wet at this point so I allowed it to dry overnight.
My excitement about applying the gold leaf just couldn't wait! I don't get too nit-picky here with the small shapes, as I sometimes appreciate the imperfect ones a bit more. Here is where I encountered a big surprise! The printed tiles were still tacky and latched onto the leaf behind the cap in a rectangular shape....I had originally planned only on some small pieces within the cap area. There was no fighting it.........it would not come off. And so the shape behind the cap came to be....an accident but not unappreciated.
In order to subordinate the facial features, some watercolor washes were added....blue. Blue was added to the leg area which remained as a two-dimensional flat uni-shape. I simply loved it that way. Chinese white was brushed onto the skin areas. Some of the charcoal work had to be refreshed at this point. I resisted the urge to correct mome of the shapes that had become quite imperfect, as I was afraid of destroying the overall feel, which I so enjoyed. My husband says it is a bit Klimt-ish. I agree.
This work definitely took me on a side-trip and provided more unexpected joy than what I ever imagined. Thank you, Trudy!