Wednesday, November 29, 2017

An Octopus's Garden for Danie

I do love Dyan Reaveley's adorable critters with their cheeky attitude! One day I'll create something different to bright colours, pretty plants and happy creatures but its not today :) Having been brought up with Alice in Wonderland has had a huge impact on my life, so much that my Mum calls me Um and I use pepper in everything! lol That said, there are no talking roses or daisies bitching to each other on this painting ... its all seaweed (it didn't, its a clean ocean) and coral.

Ooooh, I'm hilarious today! Must be all the sidekicks that arrived - their adorableness has leaked into my typing...! lol

Back to Danie - for her beautiful journal I added a page full of vibrant colours and new friends with an Aussie twist. You'll see :)

Wise words from Tim Holtz by way of a stamp... the world of reality has its limits; but the world of imagination is boundless. Suits this page perfectly :)

Starting with stamps from the Tim Holtz Sea Life and Dylusions sets, Under the Sea and Flight of Fancy, I printed out more than I needed of all my favourite critters using black Archival ink.
I toyed with the idea of inking with colour but it didn't suit what I wanted to do. The seahorse and lobster (or crayfish) are from Tim's set. Everyone else is from Dyan's.

After deciding that I probably had plenty of critters to choose from, I left them to one side while I sorted out my ocean.

This I created using acrylic paint and a 2" soft rubber roller - squirting and rolling until I liked what I saw, then dabbing with a sea sponge to break up all the lines.

The seaweed, coral and other underwater plants started off as stamps from Dyan's Ocean Backgrounds stamp set (so this page can be done with just stamping easily enough). Using my new bestie (black pen), I added a few extra lines and scribbles. They were then painted with yellow acrylic paint.

I probably should have waited for the page to dry further or sprayed it with fixative but I went straight on with it and used Distress Inks with an ink blending tool and a bunch of different stencils - all of which disappeared unless they were on the yellow paint. I was having a lovely time, layering and inking so while you can't see anything, it wasn't totally wasted!

Still not waiting for things to dry, I added a few patches of hearts and bubbles with Transparent Gloss Texture Paste. Not waiting caused all my texture paste to get a yellow and blue glow, proof that the Distress Inks were definitely on the page.

Transparent Gloss Texture Paste ... wet.
Transparent Gloss Texture Paste ... dry.
It was cool watching the texture paste dry as I painted all the scenery... magical almost!

I painted the plants using a brush with just the basics, white yellow, red, blue, diox purple and black acrylic. The sea floor was sponged using a homemade mix of browns and greens (whatever was left on my plate after painting the plants).

It was a couple of days before I could get back to it, so by the time I gathered my critters and started colouring with Mermaid Markers (gorgeous waterbased ink in a waterbrush), the background was well and truly dry.

I also used the beautiful shimmery Gansai Tambi watercolours of gold and silver then clear iridescent medium that got painted over everything that "moved". I always colour before I cut out shapes, then ink around the edges hiding the white paper.

Placement was fun... they kept moving around when I bumped the page! Above pic is while I was deciding if I needed to colour more or start cutting out.

Its all coming together nicely :)
Finished page for Danie's Under the Sea journal.
Well, its taken a fathom of text (I know but it couldn't be helped! lol) but here it is, the finished page of my octopus's garden for Danie.

The eyes were repainted to look in the directions I wanted and I used white and black pens to redraw some of the stamped areas of the fish that were covered with paint.

These little guys are blue ringed octopus all the way from South Australia, friends of the giant octopus who claims this garden as his own. Dad came along while I was taking these pics, looking for the yellow submarine...

As the little fish swim around the giant octopus tentacles, they have to change colour so as to stay hidden from being someone's lunch!

The sandworms like to hide in their bright green tubes and watch the others swim about in the octopus's garden. Now you would think a small fish would be smarter than to go after something as big as this octopus...

Well that's it... thank you so much Danie for this magical journey into the world under the sea. I hope you love it as much as I loved creating it.

Have a happy day!


  1. What a wonderful story you have written on the making of this page, which is absolutely gorgeous Jenny. I almost believed the little critters were swimming around.

  2. So colourful and crammed with details. Excellent!

  3. Love this Jenny! Great characters and great depth. :)

  4. Fantastic page Jenny. Love all the critters and your blogging is wonderful.

  5. What a fantastic piece, Jenny; very creative and cleverly composed. I can hardly wait to see it in the 'flesh.'

  6. So awesome Jenny and a very enjoyable read!!

  7. a truly wonderful page and fabulous narrative. Love your critters!


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