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Topic: Watercolor Turtle Petroglyphs  (Read 178 times)
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EriChanHime
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« on: April 25, 2019 08:55:13 AM »

This was my first foray into painting as an adult, and pretty much the last, too!  Grin Sometime I'd like to go back and try the same technique with different images of my own design. These pieces were all given as gifts, as they are directly inspired by some of the the paintings of Hawaiian artist Cindy Conklin. Several years ago, my parents and I visited the Volcano Art Center on the Big Island of Hawaii and saw her series: "Turtle Squares." My mother adores honu (Hawaiian for sea turtle) art, but was unable to swing the (understandably) very high price of the original art pieces (no prints of this series were available until several years later).

For Mother's Day that year, I taught myself through a series of experiments how to reproduce the technique--trial and error, baby!--and presented her with the below set of 4 tiles in her favorite colors. The look on her face when she thought I'd snuck behind her back and spent that kind of money was PRICELESS!  Cheesy Clearly, she thought they were original, which delighted me. I made sure that on the back of all the frames, there is a clear note indicating the origin of the art style/idea and artist's name, should anyone see the pieces and want one. I also produced at least 7 other tiles in different colors, mostly so she could swap out, if she wanted, but they eventually became gifts for other people.

To do these paintings, I first hand-tore heavy textured paper from a notebook I had on hand into rough squares. Then, I spray-coated each with artist fixing spray (left over from a college course on forensic art...). Next, I added a wash of the chosen background colors over each full square using basic artist watercolor paint and a sponge brush and allowed them to dry over night. The following day, I painted the petroglyph turtle outlines first, then traced around them with more paint, and filled in all the blank areas before the outlines could dry. Finally, after another 12 hours of total drying, I added a final coat of finishing spray to seal.

The main project: the 4 tile, framed art piece for my Mother. She chose the 4 colors she wanted (interestingly enough, the exact 4 I had picked for her, although we shuffled the order around a few times before I fixed them to the matting)


Two of the additional paper tiles I made. The light blue one is in a shadow box style frame, so there is about an inch between the art and the glass. My mother picked the frame, which came with the burlap backing, and I affixed the Hawaiian lava chunk and lava tube, as well. The orange one is framed on a plain black mat in a regular black frame, and it sits on my work desk next to a couple other orange things. My grandmother also received one just like this, but her tile was shades of red (her favorite color); it's now with my Uncle since she passed away. My Dad has the final set, which is a double vertical tile set in a single black frame/mat combo, in shades of blues and purples. Smiley


I love these things (they are actually quite a bit brighter in person), and every time I see them, I'm reminded how pleased and surprised she was.  Smiley
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endymion
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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2019 02:46:39 PM »

What a great story! The tiles are beautiful, and very evocative of Hawaii.
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« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2019 12:40:34 PM »

That is a great story. Don't you love being able to DIY a fabulous gift you might not be able to afford purchasing? I think that's such a great feeling Smiley.
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« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2019 08:19:21 AM »

They're lovely! Thanks for sharing your technique.
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EriChanHime
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« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2019 10:26:09 AM »

Thank you so much, y'all! It was super exciting being able to DIY something that was exactly what my Mom (a notoriously hard-to-shop-for person) wanted but was otherwise out of my price-range. I hope the technique it fun for others to try. I bet it could make coo ATCs! Smiley
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