April 2019 - Free to speak your mind - by Riikka

This month’s theme of “Art Masters” and burgundy lead me to art museum and library and ponder about the freedom of speech, democracy and the lives of our foremothers. The path to which the theme set me was a wonderful one, full of inspiration and things to cogitate.

“Art Masters” got me thinking about artists I like, especially Finnish artists, and immediately thought about Helene Schjerfbeck. I hit the art museum shop and bought some postcards as inspiration. I first thought of using one of those in my project. But then I started to think about the color. The deep, rich shade of burgundy conveyed into pictures of Baroque paintings in my head. Like hanging drapes, flowing sashes, undulating skirts, spicy red wine or ripe pomegranates in the works of great Dutch masters. As Finland is quite a young country (gained independence 1917) and scarcely populated through out history, there’s no Baroque art to speak of in here. During that era Finland was still part of Sweden and even those works are usually by foreign masters.

But the thought of the undulating lines and rich colors was so strong in my head that I decided to ditch my first idea of Finnish art and went to library instead. I picked up a random art history book and started leafing through it. After some pages a portrait by an Italian painted Piero di Cosimo jumped off the page. The painting was in fact from Renaissance era, not Baroque, but I immediately knew that was the one I wanted to use in my project. The painting was called “Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci” and it’s painted circa 1488.

I took a photocopy of the page to be used in my project. I was so happy that the library still had a photocopying machine instead of a scanner and printer – using photocopying machine felt like the old days to me!

My first idea was to make a journal page with the portrait cut out and added to the layers. But as the photocopy had such strong contrast between white paper and black ink, I decided to do a transfer instead. I added a piece of old book paper to the cover of my journal and then used Soft Matte Gel to transfer the lady on top. When I then had removed the paper from the transfer, I started building the composition around her. I first thought to go with inspiration from another art master – Finnabair herself – and build a fancy headdress to the lady, but in the end that didn’t speak to me. Instead I ended up turning her existing headdress into flowing curls of burgundy red hair!

On top of the painted burgundy details I ended up adding something more to the cover. My darling husband had brought me roses some time before and they had started to lose their petals. I took the petals, crushed them into small pieces and mixed with 3D Gloss Gel to create a texture paste of my own. I felt that the withered roses met the original Baroque feel I had when I began as some of the luscious fruit bowls depicted in the paintings show withered flowers and slowly decaying fruits symbolizing the fleeting moment.

When I had the composition and some of the coloring done, I noticed that I hadn’t thought about the closing elastic band. Well, I had thought about it in terms that I didn’t add anything too bulky on its path, but I was a bit worried how it would look like on top. Well, it turned out even better than I expected. The elastic band runs just across the mouth of my lady. That lead me to think about the freedom of speech and how the (possible) model of the original painting, even though she was of high born, probably had very little saying whom she married and where she wanted to live.

This project took me to a trip down a rabbit hole and if you want to follow, here’s some suggestions. First, visit your local art museum. Or, if you don’t have one nearby, there’s plenty of art museums in the internet. Try this one, which hosts the portrait I used as my jumping of point, for example: Domaine de Chantilly. (http://www.domainedechantilly.com/en/accueil/chateau/the-art-galleries/selected-works/) Second, read about the works of certain painter or the model in the art work. A visit to the library might come handy. Try novels like “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Tracy Chevalier for example or “The Lady and the Unicorn” by the same writer. Then thirdly, print or photocopy some of paintings that speak to you and use them in your journaling! Tear in pieces, make a puzzle, layer together, make a collage… Explore what you can do.

Thank you for stopping by today! Wishing you a really inspiring April!


Art Daily Album
Art Daily Carte Postale stamp set
Art Daily Wanderlust washi set
Art Daily Victorian Bookmarks

Art Alchemy Metallique acrylic paint Romance Pink
Art Alchemy Metallique acrylic paint Plum Preserves
Art Alchemy Metallique acrylic paint Red Wine
Art Basics Soft Matte Gel
Art Basics 3D Gloss Gel
Art Ingredients Ebony and Ivory glitter set
Mechanicals Machine Parts
Mechanicals Flowers
Mechanicals Metal Lotus
Mechanicals Leaves 2

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