As I made this spread the United Kingdom was still in lockdown and I was once again struck by how appropriate Ben Okri’s words proved to be for the occasion. In fact I keep on re-reading them and taking comfort from them over this difficult time. We have reached the point in the poem where a bit of meditation is called for. For my illustrations of the previous lines you can search for my name in the Search bar of this blog and you should find them all. There will be more to come too in the future.
Here are the steps I took to make these pages:
1. Gesso 2 facing pages out of the large ArtbyMarlene art journal. This is a ring bound journal so it’s easy to remove the pages from the journal and work on them separately. Very convenient!
2. Paint a variety of yellow, green and blue acrylic paints onto a large gel plate and take prints from the plate onto both pages.
3. Stencil on both pages using stencil Mountain Landscape and royal blue paint.
4. On the right hand page add the tree using stencil Windswept Tree Mask and brayering on brown and blue paint onto the gel plate, then put the stencil on top and hold it down while removing the paint all around it by taking prints on spare paper and removing the remnants with a baby wipe. Make sure all surrounding paint is gone and then remove the stencil. Take the tree print on the page. To make this easier there is now a mirror image stencil available Windswept Tree Reverse Stencil but I didn’t have it yet at the time of making so had to go about it the long way round!
5. Stencil the Buddha face onto the left hand page with dark blue acrylic paint and stencil Chinese Garden Buddha Small.
6. Stencil on leaves to the bottom of both pages, using the dark blue acrylic paint again together with stencil Leafy Doodle Border.
7. Glue on the magazine image of a Buddha under the tree using matte medium.
8. Stencil on the lotus flower using stencil Chinese Garden Lotus to the left hand page.
9. Glue on eyes (mine came from an image of Tutankhamun) and colour in the lotus flower from step 8 (I used Jane Davenport Mermaid Markers).
10. Outline the Buddha figure and head with a permanent white marker and outline the tree with a sparkling blue gel pen.
11. Print out the lines of the quote: “The Buddha sat beneath a tree, and from all illusion became free”, and glue on as shown, after edging each word with a blue ink pad.
13. Edge the pages with the same ink pad.
© Frieda Oxenham 2020. To see more of Frieda's work, please visit her BLOG.