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Archeology in my Art?

As  a kid I wanted to be an archeologist.  The magic of unearthing history was so enticing to me until I learned about real archeology.  Any time I found a real dig to go on it involved potential snakes (South America), intense heat, bugs galore and sparse accommodations.  I wanted to do archeology in an air conditioned building with a 4 star  hotel to stay in and definitely no creepy crawlies.  Shockingly, I did not become an archeologist.

As I was painting I realized I have become a reverse archeologist with my art.  Each layer that I add to my painting is like adding a bit of history to it, more of the story for it to tell.  The more layers the more excitement for me.  And I get to stay inside, have running water, and there are no bugs!

Here’s the reverse archeology of this piece:

The blank canvas was having a stare down contest with me so I slapped on some decorative strips of paper that I have had a while.







Then a quick layer of white paint to begin to bury the papers.






Some inks smeared around while the paint was wet so it all blended together.






I was expecting flowers or butterflies after the last layer because I was seeing such soft and gentle spring colors.  But no- the magazine woman I cut out a while ago demanded to be a part of this.  When the art talks, I listen.

Using a bit of gel medium to adhere a thin magazine cut out to a very textured surface has its challenges…




I wanted more color but didn’t want to loose the detail of the woman so I turned to my Twinkling H2O’s.  They have a wonderful shimmer but I can easily control the opacity.  It gave me the color pops I wanted with the sheerness I needed too.





Turns out those flowers and butterflies did show up-






What attitude she has- “Of course I have flowers and butterflies on my head! Why wouldn’t I?”  Not sure if she is finished so I’ll just let her hang out on the wall for a while…

I have exciting news for October!  I am co-hosting a challenge called “Fall Fearless and Fly” over at Artists in Blogland with Jessica Sporn.  Every other week, there will be artistic prompts designed to get you thinking about setting intentions and shedding emotional baggage to step into 2013 as your bravest, most fearless self.  Have you ever done a juice cleanse?  Think of this as an art cleanse!  Any medium goes, and Aritsts In Blogland has great prizes and giveaways.  Each week, there will be a guest artist participating! I’ll be kicking off the art on October 1st.  Here is the line up of our guest artists: Rhonda Palazzari, Jane Davies, Maria McGuire, Marcia Beckett, Dina Wakley, and Joanne Sharpe!

While you are waiting for October 1st to roll around, check out the websites of these amazing artists & grab the blog button to help spread the word about all the fun we’re going to have!


Happy Paint Party Friday and Show and Tell Saturday and Creative Every Day!



{ 47 comments… add one }

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  • Mitzi Zohar September 13, 2012, 2:26 pm

    That is so fun!

  • Jessica September 13, 2012, 2:30 pm

    I love this canvas! I is so soft and gentle, and then the woman is so “in your face” and her flowers are so audacious! As usual, you strike just the right balance between lights and darks, open spaces and saturation. So excited to be hosting “fall fearless” with you!

  • Valerie-Jael September 13, 2012, 2:57 pm

    Love this, and a great idea to use up those borders! Valerie

  • Michelle V. Alkerton September 13, 2012, 2:58 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing the process of your artistic archeology ;)!

    Stay inspired!

  • Janet September 13, 2012, 3:05 pm

    I love your colors. They are soft and dreamlike. Very nice. I hope I can play with you Oct 1. I will be watching!

  • AJ September 13, 2012, 3:26 pm

    Lovely page Carolyn and I am looking forward to the Fall Challenge, it starts the day I come back from the Art Retreat so I will be ‘all fired up’.
    Big love
    AJ 🙂

  • Corrine September 13, 2012, 3:58 pm

    Bugs, heat, I’m with you a 4 star hotel and some poolside sipping while adding history not uncovering it. Great page! New challenge sounds interesting I will have to check it out. Marcia is so great anyway!! xox

  • Carin September 13, 2012, 5:03 pm

    Oh my! I just love this! The contrast between the soft background and the in-your-face boldness of the woman, etc is just fantastic.And the challenge sounds great!

  • Rinda September 13, 2012, 10:50 pm

    I love the idea of an art cleanse (and I love Dina Wakley).
    I think the flowers in the hair really “make” your art piece.

  • Cynthia September 13, 2012, 11:05 pm

    Gorgeous colors! And I love the attitude of your flower woman!

  • JKW September 14, 2012, 12:16 am

    Too funny, I wanted to be an archeologist too. Did you notice that they use spoons to dig with, I thought whoa, I’ll not get done digging in my life time (I attended college in my late 30s). So, my major is history, lol. What a unique way of looking at your art, I love the way you buried the ribbons and lace. Interesting. Blessings, Janet PPF

  • Tracey Fletcher King September 14, 2012, 12:53 am

    great post and love the idea of the challenge… i must head over and check it out… sounds like fun…xx

  • patsy September 14, 2012, 12:57 am

    Never heard of an Art Cleanse before! I am sure it is much more fun than any of the cleansers I’ve read about! Ha ha! Looking forward to it! Patsy

  • Ayala Art September 14, 2012, 1:01 am

    That is my kind of archeology as well! And camping, for all I care heheehe
    Thanks for the WIP, love it

  • nora Clemens-Gallo September 14, 2012, 1:05 am

    Oh, my!! This is so fun , beautiful and clever. Love it!!

  • Maria McGuire September 14, 2012, 1:48 am

    What an awesome idea for the decorative strips!! She looks like she could have been hanging out with us tonight where we had dinner! Love her!!

  • Anne September 14, 2012, 3:17 am

    Love love love your collage, it’s fresh and pretty and whimsical! Love!

  • NatashaMay September 14, 2012, 5:21 am

    Great texture! Love to see the process. 🙂

  • Annette G September 14, 2012, 6:09 am

    Thank you for showing your process on your beautiful collage and the thinking behind it. Happy PPF, Annette x

  • soulbrush September 14, 2012, 7:22 am

    This is fantastic and something I really can’t do. It is very feminine and also mysterious, like it a lot. Happy PPF

  • Kokopelli September 14, 2012, 7:56 am

    What a fun post to see how this painting was made. Happy PPF!

  • Mari September 14, 2012, 9:49 am

    It is a charming collage, it reminds me of the hippie aesthetics. Saludos

  • Gloria J Zucaro September 14, 2012, 9:49 am

    So love that you share the process…and to follow intuition in my art would be new for me! Love her”hat”?!

  • marji September 14, 2012, 9:54 am

    I love her attitude! Of course I have butterflies and flowers in my hair – just lovely. The October event sounds wonderful! I love the idea and can’t wait to see what you have put together. Happy PPF

  • Debbie September 14, 2012, 10:27 am

    Very fun! Great idea to use those strips like that. I have some of those, too, and I never seem to use them for anything.

  • pointypix September 14, 2012, 10:28 am

    I loved this post – how funny that your idea of being an archeologist changed when you learnt the reality! I wanted to be a vet until I learnt that I would inevitably have to put animals to sleep so I guess now I’m doing it in reverse too – bringing them to life on my canvas and paper with paint!
    I love this piece and how you explained the reverse archeology of how it came to be!

  • lynn cohen September 14, 2012, 11:46 am

    How fun to be a reverse archiologist! Love what you covered and this attitudinal gal that arose from it all! Your new challenge sounds challenging! I think I am pretty much over most of my art fears, but then I haven’t thought of any new ones to get over. Perhaps going there will help me grow more. Just what I need another challenge! LOL Maybe? We’ll see. Happy PPF!!!!

  • Christine September 14, 2012, 2:09 pm

    nice painting, I love the background!

  • Carol September 14, 2012, 2:19 pm

    Delights, creative, colorful ~ (A Creative Harbor) on Blogger ^_^

  • giggles September 14, 2012, 3:12 pm

    She’s certainly a one of kind alright… and a pretty one at that!! Well done and thanks for sharing the intuitive process!! Very nice!! Look forward to the Fall challenge!!

    Hugs Giggles

  • Marjie Kemper September 14, 2012, 3:26 pm

    This is fabulous! I love the texture coming through her face and just the very fact of using those border strips (of which I believe I own approximately 2,000). Very exciting news about the new challenge, too… congrats! I will surely be following.

  • Faye September 14, 2012, 3:33 pm

    Carolyn, your transformation of the original strips of paper was astounding. I love how they turned out. Your textural work of art is really a delight.

  • aimee September 14, 2012, 3:35 pm

    this is a fabulous analogy between archaeology and art, especially when collage is involved! finding, tearing, layering, discovering… who knows what you’ll find in there once you get started! love the technocolor girl!

  • kristin September 14, 2012, 4:44 pm

    Congrats on being a co-host! How exciting!! I love, love your artwork. So colorful and pretty! Thanks for sharing how you did it! Happy PPF!

  • Rita Barton September 14, 2012, 6:40 pm

    Wow, what a neat piece of art and thanks for showing us your process! That is always fun to see.

  • Rita McGregor September 14, 2012, 7:25 pm

    Great contrast between the pastels and the bold colors. Love it! 🙂

  • Mary C. Nasser September 14, 2012, 7:58 pm

    So wonderful seeing the process of reverse-archaeology in your painting!
    I love your analogy of comparing your painting process to archaeology.
    Happy PPF!!
    Mixed-Media Map Art

  • Sheri Cook September 15, 2012, 8:16 am

    LOVE your textures and structure of this piece! It is very FUN too!
    Happy PPF!
    Sheri Cook
    Happy Horse Studio

  • Pauline Leger September 15, 2012, 9:48 am

    Your process is always so interesting and inspiring.
    LOVE the end result…
    and guess what Carolyn?! I TOO wanted to be an archeologist when i was younger!! We could’ve shared that hotel room!! heheheheee… xox

  • Cris, Artist in Oregon September 15, 2012, 2:12 pm

    This is great. Love it. I thought, as you mentioned butterflies and I looked at the girl, Could that be Kate Hudson? it reminded me about a movie I saw long ago with with her mom Goldie Hawn in it called Butterflies are Free. I thought all this as I was reading this so in my mind I think you got the Butterflies in by association as soon as you put the woman in. :)) What can I say.. strange mind…:)) HPPF.

  • Paula - Buenos Aires September 16, 2012, 12:43 am

    How pretty! Love her flowers.
    Off to have a look at your new project. 🙂

  • denthe September 16, 2012, 9:04 am

    This is a fun painting! See, you really did become an archeologist in a building with no creepy crawlies! Well done.

  • Natasha September 17, 2012, 3:19 am

    I wanted to be an archaeologist as well when I was younger. I loved seeing your process. Thank you for sharing.

  • lynn richards September 17, 2012, 12:35 pm

    The flowers on her head are perfect. Of course they should be there!

  • Myrna September 17, 2012, 6:18 pm

    That is so beautiful!

  • Melisa September 17, 2012, 7:48 pm

    For all of 5th or 6th grade, I wanted to be an archeologist. I had a friend with the most fascinating book about it. I got over it, for some reason. Probably the mummies. I’m sure art is more fun, anyway.

  • geckostone September 17, 2012, 9:30 pm

    I took a couple semesters in archaeology and didn’t take to it either, well mainly my back didn’t take to bending over for hours brushing the dirt with a paint brush, lol! I’m still fascinated by it though. I love your analogy with art! Your work is fabulous! Deb