My mermaids needed a background, so on a visit to my father-in-law's, having taken some reference with me, I sat and sketched.
I had no intention of using sharks or predatory eels, but a little creative meandering is always good for the soul, right?
The Mail Me Art idea is that the art is made by hand on an envelope. I tried inking my drawing directly onto a manila c5 envelope, but it went fluffy and not good. I applied two coats of gesso to fix the surface and provide a white background for my colour. Gesso dried and cured for 24hrs. I traced my drawing down using graphite, then inked with my regular crowquill nibs using Winsor & Newton Indian ink. It applied a little scratchy and I expected the abrasive gesso to eat my nib, but all went well. I took away the pencil drawing from the surface with my regular Staedtler Mars plastic eraser - none better. Ink, as solid as a rock, no fade or loss. On to the next stage - adding colour washes. Because this art is scheduled to run the gauntlet of the postal system and potentially be delivered by Postie in the rain, I opted for acrylic inks. At least they'd stand a chance of surviving a downpour.
First wash, dilute turquoise, big gentle brush. In big strokes, I laid the colour on in big loose strokes. Disaster! The ink wash broke the bond between the ink and the white gesso and my drawing was breaking up and floating away on a sea of colour.
This is after the first wash. A lesson learned there I think.