The inspiration for Shellana came from several sources. From the tiny shells I collected from Westshore Beach, from Kayla’s mermaid collage in Scrappy Cupcake Angels, and from Suzi Blu’s mermaid projects in Mixed-Media Girls with Suzi Blu.
Although I have been scrapbooking for several years, I have only recently fallen in love with mixed-media art. One of my favourite mixed-media artists is Suzi Blu. Suzi teaches online workshops, has tutorials on You Tube, and recently published her first book, Mixed-Media Girls with Suzi Blu. Before I discovered Suzi, I never believed I could draw and I had no confidence to pick up a paintbrush. She has taught me how to let go, have fun and create, that it doesn’t have to be realistic, it is okay to be flawed, and you will get better the more you practice.
The book takes you through the steps of drawing and shading a face with coloured pencils and paint, then drawing a folk art body and incorporating it into a mixed-media layered and collaged background using paint, papers, stamps, textured paste, fabric, fibres, dimensional embellishments and beeswax. The book is full of Suzi’s whimsical creations, with detailed instructions for each project. At the back is a gallery of her students’ work, and the book is accompanied by a DVD of Suzi demonstrating her techniques in her unique and fun style.
After spending some time practicing drawing faces, I launched into a mixed-media painting, inspired by The Gypsy Girl project in Suzi’s book.
Okay, so my dog looks more like a rat, but that’s okay. Like I said, it’s not supposed to be realistic. He’s part of Gypsy Rose’s world, she loves him, and that’s all that matters.
Coincidentally, the same weekend that I finished my painting, the gypsy fair came to town, so while I was in a gypsy frame of mind, I went along and absorbed the atmosphere. While I wandered around looking at the housetrucks and the wonderful crafts, I got to thinking, maybe I could become Gypsy Rose from my painting. I wonder if I could talk Nick into selling up, buying a housetruck, throwing caution to the wind and seeing where life takes us. Nick can turn his hand to anything. He could make things and fix things. I could write and make crafts. We could go apple picking in the summer. But then I thought, what would we do with all our books? And how would our beloved Cody adapt to life in a housetruck, at 14 years old with her stiff joints and kidney problems? And so I returned home with my colourful wind twisters and lovely handmade soaps and decided that maybe I will just continue dreaming for now, at least until the gypsy fair returns next year and the romantic notion of a gypsy life is rekindled once again.