We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
"Little Gidding"
T S Eliot

Sunday, 15 September 2013

A little bit Gothic .....

I had real fun doing this one.  As you know I love steampunk, but I also lean a bit towards Gothic.  It started with another sort out of a box of stuff, and I came across some skeleton leaves (which I've had for years), and my thought processes led me to this canvas.  I used another 12 x 12 canvas board.

To begin I covered the middle of the canvas with scrunched tissue paper - I do like starting with this as it adds instant texture, but not too much!  I then cut a Gothic arch frame out of grungeboard, fortunately I had a 12 x 12 piece of grungeboard, so it fitted the canvas perfectly.  I also die-cut some other pieces out of hot pressed watercolour paper or chipboard, and used the recently made button mould (see previous post).

I scraped some modelling paste through a stencil for stone-like texture, and I stuck everything down that I wanted to include in the initial background painting, before giving it all one coat of grey Fresco paint (Elephant).

Meanwhile, I made a dress out of the skeleton leaves.  Here it is in its raw state.  It was a bit tricky, as the leaves are such delicate things, and I did ruin a few!  The trick is to add a tiny bit of glue at a time, and just build up the leaves and glue - slowly!

The belt is made from the wings of a die-cut bat that I wasn't going to use in its bat form!

Once it was completely dry, I used some Pewter Fresco paint; this separates in the bottle, and doesn't mix no matter how hard you shake it - so I just blobbed some out with a stick, and used a piece of foam to dab it on.  I had a rummage in my box of embossing powders, and decided to use silver, and  some interference colours.  Again, had to be really careful heating it, as it starts to smoke quite quickly and I didn't want my carefully crafted dress to go up in flames!  I covered the back of the dress with matt medium to stabilise it.

The photo doesn't capture all the colours and light reflections, but you get the idea!

Back to the canvas, and the usual several layers of paint, until I was happy.

All Fresco paints - the centre portion consists of London Night, Vintage Lace and some French Roast.

On the outer part I used Pea Coat, Eggplant, Holly and French Roast.

I die-cut the raven but had the chipboard potions bottle, and the skull.  I also used some embossing powder on the potions bottle.

A final coat of matt medium, and here is my little bit of Gothic.

Withdrawn and ruinous it broods in umbra: the immemorial masonry: the towers, the tracts. Is all corroding? No. Through an avenue of spires a zephyr floats; a bird whistles; a freshet beats away from a choked river. Deep in a fist of stone a doll's hand wriggles, warm rebellious on the frozen palm. A shadow shifts its length. A spider stirs... 
And darkness winds between the characters.
- Gormenghast” 

Mervyn Peake


  1. Lovely way to use up those leaves. Different and lovely.