Fern & Oak


Santoshi Mata // Ten of Cups

A card of contentment. This card symbolises peace, friendship and family happiness so the beautiful Hindu goddess of contentment Santoshi Mata was the perfect pairing. This painting took several weeks to finish as I started her just before a 10 day trip abroad so there was quite a gap in the original sketch and completion. I always find it tricky picking up an unfinished painting if time has passed, but I slowly worked on this once I came back.

I experimented with a couple of new techniques with this one. Firstly, I painted the entire background abstractly, before drawing on the sketch. I liked the effect of the movement of the inks and I also used a couple of my watercolours for the background to get that really nice loose feeling.

Then, instead of using graphite for the sketch, I used a white pastel pencil (as the background made it hard to see the graphite) and then went over the top with a stabilo all pencil, which is a black waxy water soluble pencil that leaves gorgeous thick dark shadows. This came with its own small challenge though as the shadows were very intense, and made any of the ink I mixed with it extremely murky and grey. To tackle this, I painted a few layers just in white ink, until the colours looked livelier.

I also used some of my beautiful liquid metal acrylic from C. Roberson & Co in Regency Gold for her clothes. The liquid metal acrylic is very similar-ish to my normal inks but much thicker, so the application can be raised to give a great 3D effect. This is the first painting of the deck that is truly mixed media! I originally had planned just to use graphite and acrylic ink, but I’m not restricting myself and 20 odd paintings into the project, changing things up a bit keeps everything fresh.

I really love how this painting came out in the end - her clothes are some of the most detailed work I’ve done as I wanted to stay as true to the original depictions of the goddess as I could. There is actually a bit of costume here and there I omitted, as I had already done so many layers I didn’t want it to become too thick and plasticy, which is the one downside working with acrylics.