Hi everyone, as you might know I ‘m participating in the International Tournament of Art & Craft (ITAC ‘17) and this is my entry for the third challenge. I’m a little behind since my boyfriend and I spent a couple of days on one of the Dutch islands, the fourth challenge is already running, but fortunately there is plenty of time to complete all the projects before the 24th of September. I feel that the most important part is to have fun, go with the flow and if I can’t finish them all then that’s okay as well (but I will try to finish them all nonetheless)!
So, this is my entry for the third challenge and this one is focusing around the theme of “Oceania“, not really a theme that instantly started popping images in my head, but I had a lot of fun figuring out what this theme was all about and what I wanted to do with it.
All the details for this challenge you can find here: https://www.aallandcreate.com/challenge-3
You’re asked to use certain elements in your project, if you would like to know which ones, than follow the link. There is also a mood board, like in the second challenge, and additionally this project has to tell a story.
This time I choose to work on a canvas (40 x 30 cm in size) and I decided to work with only Maori elements. The Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand.
I took pictures of the different steps so that you can see the project grow with me:
I was inspired by this Maori story about the tohunga: http://eng.mataurangamaori.tki.org.nz/Support-materials/Te-Reo-Maori/Maori-Myths-Legends-and-Contemporary-Stories/The-tohunga and decided to symbolize it on my canvas.
I used an Maori image of a fern to symbolize the land and a Maori turtle image to symbolize the sea. The sea is washing over the land like it happens in the story mentioned above. From the elements mentioned in the challenge the fern leaves and the turtle are the “patterns inspired by traditional symbols”.
The land, the sea, the “tohunga“ (in the Maori language this is an expert practitioner of any skill or art, either religious or otherwise) and the fern/turtle images are also inspired by the mood board given in this challenge.
I was inspired by this particular story about the tohunga because I do feel that it’s true that we often forget about the wisdom that the elderly under us have, that we forget about where we are from and that we don’t respect nature enough (mankind stands further away from nature then ever before in our history).
To prime the canvas I applied The Crafter’s Workshop “White Gesso“ (TCW9001) over the entire canvas and let it dry. Then I applied DecoArt Americana Acrylic Paint in “Oyster Beige “ in horizontal and vertical strokes not covering the entire canvas, also minding the edges. I choose this colour paint because it comes closest in colour to the sand I was planning on using in a later stage.
Next I traced the fern/turtle images on the canvas using carbon paper and then went over the lines with a graphite pencil.
If you would like to know more about the Maori meaning behind the images that I used then this is what I found on line and what spoke to me:
Turtles represent eternity, health, harmony, and family. They stand for eternity because the story goes that a turtle never dies, it can only be killed.
The fern is known as the “koru“ to the Maori. Koru means “loop“ in the Maori language and is often seen as a spiral shape based on the shape of a new unfurling silver fern frond. It represents peace, tranquillity and spirituality along with new growth or new beginnings. The koru is also associated with nurturing and when it contains more than one frond, it represents the strength and healing of a loving relationship within family or community. The silver fern is also the unofficial symbol of New Zealand.
I’m not a black and white kind of girl, so from the elements given in the challenge I choose “colors of the Earth“ for me meaning blue for the turtle (since it symbolized the sea) and green for the fern (since it symbolized the land). I took inspiration from the mood board for the blue, green and brown colours that I choose (and the turtle even has a heart shape on his head, like two of the images in the mood board also show). I used DecoArt Americana Acrylic Paint in the colour “True Blue “, Talens “Cobalt Blue “, DecoArt Americana “Hauser Light Green “ and Van Gogh “Chromium Oxide Green“ to fill in the turtle and the fern leaves in different layers. I also used some DecoArt Americana Acrylic Paint in the colour “Burlap“ to create a slightly darker shadow around the turtle and the fern leaves. All these paints I applied with a small brush.
From my trip to the Dutch islands I brought back some sea sand and in my craft stash I found some beautiful sea shells. These are my “organic or natural material(s)“ mentioned as one of the elements in the challenge. The sand is symbolizing the land and the sea shells are symbolizing the sea from the story I took inspiration from, they are a beautiful combination, like when mankind is living in harmony with the nature surrounding him.
Now I had to face the challenge of how to adhere these materials to the canvas. I decided to mix the sea sand with Gloss Gel Medium: when you do this, you have to make sure that you don’t ad to much sand, meaning a maximum of 20% / 25%. The medium will dry transparent, making the canvas beneath visible (that’s why I choose the light brown paint as my base colour). Note: if you’re concerned about the archival qualities of your art piece then you should know that you should wash the sea sand multiple times before drying it and then mixing it with the gel medium, this is to get rid of as much of the salt and minerals in the sand as possible. I wanted to keep my project as pure as possible though, so I didn’t do this.
I applied the mixture of sea sand and Gloss Gel Medium with a palette knife over a The Crafter’s Workshop stencil called “Dramatic Floral“ (TCW736, large) also putting some of the mixture on the sides of the canvas.
I used this stencil because I felt that the design complimented the Maori symbols I already had going, if I didn’t know better this stencil could haven been designed by a Maori. These are my “shapes inspired by traditional or indigenous art“ given as one of the elements in the challenge.
After I applied the sea sand/Gloss Gel Medium mixture I also used this mixture to adhere the sea shells to the canvas.
From the story that inspired me I also took the seeds blown from the hands of the young boy, symbolizing the seeds of knowledge that the tohunga in the end was able to share with the young people who are our future. I symbolized these seeds by splattering on gold acrylic paint with a brush (using Duncan Metallic Acrylics in the colour “Antique Gold“). Then I set the canvas aside to completely dry.
Next it’s time for the finishing details: first I wanted to create a bit more of a defined edge on the canvas. For this I used Archival Ink in the colour “Sepia“ which looks like one of the earth tone colours in the mood board. I applied the ink with a foam tool applicator also using it on the edges to the backside of the canvas.
And because I felt that this project needed a little something extra I decided to ad some bling in the form of “Clear Droplets“ from Pretty Pink Posh in different sizes (adhering them with Glossy Accents), creating the feeling of sunshine hitting water, I love the beautiful sparkle this always gives.
And here are some final pictures with more details:
And that finishes my entry for the third challenge in the International Tournament of Art & Craft! Have you already checked out this awesome tournament and what everybody has been creating? If you didn’t then you really should.
I would like to submit this project to the following challenges:
- Eclectic Ellapu: Flora and Fauna and/or Nature:
- Mixed Media World: Anything Mixed Media Goes with Moodboard:
- Creative Artiste Challenge Blog: Anything Mixed Media Goes: