Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Canvas Art - Swirlydoos Round 4 Project

So, as promised, here's my canvas project from last week's Swirlydoos Ultimate Designer Challenge.  

I've never even attempted such a project before, but Lisa is an awesome teacher and the video tutorials that she put up were AMAZINGly helpful for a total novice like me. It's a credit to HER that I was able to create this piece of pretty.  Thanks so much Lisa, for helping me get this project out of my head onto the canvas. 

Before I explain HOW I did it, let me tell you what it is and WHY I did it...

This canvas is a gift for my mother.

I am one of five children, four living. My parents lost a baby to SIDS at nine days old. Her name was Amy Susan and she died the day before my fifth birthday. She would be 52 this year. My younger daughter is named after her.

She was here such a brief time and it was so long ago that it's almost like she was never here at all. We never mention her, and yet her small but short life made a major impact on my parents.

My mother was 23 years old, my dad 31. Daddy was a US Marine, a fighter pilot, in charge of a squadron of other pilots, competent and sure of everything. Mom was busy keeping house and raising children, teaching Sunday School, hosting teas for other officer's wives.

Before Amy, my parents had a very clear idea how things were supposed to be. They expected life to follow certain rules and order. They had plans for the future - both theirs and their children's. After Amy, they both realized that sometimes children don't live to grow up. Their perspective about the future changed, and they both became better parents. My 'father' became my 'daddy,' and my mother found time to sit and play and hug us every opportunity she had.

As my mom has gotten older, she has begun talking about Amy, about how this little angel changed her life - how in one second, everything she knew for sure became nothing for sure at all. How the few short days she was with us changed ALL of us for the better, in spite of the incredible pain of loss.

There are no photographs of my second sister. The only mementos of her life are a photo of her grave and a small piece of ribbon, left over from the dress my mother buried her in.  A few years ago, I asked my mother for the ribbon from that dress. 

I had this idea in my head - just an idea really, nothing solid or formed - but some way to create a small memory of a short life that was part of my life, just for a few days, but made everything about the way I grew up different than it might have been if she had lived.

So to start, I chose a small canvas (8x8) to create my project - as a symbol of a small life, gone much too soon, before it even had a chance to BE a life really.  The ribbon on the bottom is the ribbon from her dress. And on the back, just for my mom to read, are these words...

What kind of place would heaven be with all its streets of gold,
if all the souls, that dwell up there like yours and mine were old?

How strange would heaven’s music sound when harps begin to ring,

if children were not gathered round to help the angels sing.

The children that God sends to us are only just a loan,

He knows we need their sunshine to make the house a home.

We need the inspiration of a baby’s blessed smile,

He doesn’t say they’ve come to stay, just lends them for awhile.

Sometimes it takes them years to do the work for which they come.

Sometimes in just a day or two our Father calls them home.

I like to think some souls up there bear not one sinful scar.

I like to think of heaven as a place where babies are.


Now, here's how I did it. 

I prepped the canvas with glimmer mist in Snow Angel, Sunkissed Peach, Frost, and Patina. I was going for an "earth to heaven" color blend. 

I used molding paste for the wings, created with a stencil. The stuff on the bottom is called glass bead gel, bought at Michaels in the art and paint section. It's my NEW favorite goop!

I set it aside for the night to dry.

When everything was dry, I dry brushed the wings and the Bead Gel with some Metallic Pearl White paint by Folk Art. I also used some Baby Pink Metallic by Martha Stewart as well.

I stamped the clocks and embossed them with a soft peach embossing enamel. The cherub is a transparency print. I knew it would bleed a bit when I sealed the canvas, but I think that I like the way it ended up, soft at the bottom and clear at the top.

I sealed with Martha Stewart's glitter finish, another really COOL goopy item!

And another drying wait.

Then I top dressed the wings again with the Metallic White and finally used a white gelato stick on both the wings and the bead gel.

The chipboard is prepped with DecoArt Metallic Festive Green paint, run through my dotted swiss embossing folder.  Then I sanded the tops down, used some Peeled Paint ink and then some Metallic Chalk Rub to finish.

The fiber is a medical gauze roll. I pulled the fibers apart to make it more wispy and then treated it with a Baby Pink metallic paint wash. I tied the little dress ribbon in a bow, then tacked down the ends, kind of bunching and gluing as I went.

The little crochet butterflies started life white, but I gave them a bit of a dressing with some Picked Raspberry ink. The pearl bling finished everything up and I was done.

I am so pleased with how this turned out. I cannot wait to give it to my mom.

1 comment:

Sarah-R said...

This is really beautiful Pat and such a sad but also uplifting story behind it. Your mother will treasure this!