Rebel Moth

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of working on a commissioned painting—something I don’t do that often since I have been funneling all of my time and energy into drawing designs, working on books, and going to lots of my daughter’s volleyball games. But when Vanessa reached out to me about this project, I couldn’t resist. I wanted a break from drawing black lines, so mixing up some colors to splash on a canvas was just what I needed. And it was a secret project since it was going to be a surprise for Vanessa’s daughter, Elizabeth, and her business partner, Shaelene, who were getting ready to open a brand new salon in Lethbridge, Alberta, called Rebel. Vanessa wanted a piece that would complement the colors they had planned for the salon and tie in with some of their personal interests.

I pulled together some swatches that might work with the photos and description Vanessa gave me of their colors, we messaged one another back and forth on ideas, and the image I wanted to paint took shape fairly quickly. Off to the art store for a new canvas and extra paints.

One of the ideas that came up was to incorporate a pair of scissors in the painting—hidden just enough that they didn’t dominate the painting, but instead, offered a little ah-ha moment for those who looked closely enough. After a few sketches, I decided the scissors would fit nicely into the tail of this rather extravagant moth I had sketched. And they had to be gold.

Once I had the design transferred to my canvas, I stated laying down blocks of color starting with the gold scissors. The first coat was a bit translucent, so I had to keep building up my layers until I was happy with the outcome.

First layer of gold
Base layers of colors in progress and I placed a wood circle in the center of the flower to see how it would look.

I’ve long been keen on incorporating found objects into my beading and embroidery projects and wanted to do the same on this canvas to give it more depth and interest. I dug through my boxes of buttons, metal, jewelry and beading bits and settled on a number of pieces that would work including a large wood circle that would work as a focal point.

Building more layers and adding three-dimensional paint.
More layers, more three dimensional paint in warm, earthy tones and copper.
Attaching metal brads through the canvas and applying three dimensional paint lines and dots.
A brass bird skull detail.
Three dimensional paint application. I had to do this in stages since it can be slow to dry and easy to smudge. A heat gun helps but if you get too close, the paint explodes.
More layers and texture in addition to silver bee trinket sewn onto canvas, the wood ring with a silver button in the center, plus wood buttons—all glued and sewn to canvas.
Spacing floral jewelry caps with pins and securing with tiny brads in their centers. I had to carefully cut into the canvas with an xacto blade to allow the bird skull to snuggle down low enough into the canvas, then I used embroidery thread sewn through the eye sockets to attach it and also applied glue to the back of the canvas for extra stability.
Getting closer! More paint, more brads …
The final piece sitting on my deck waiting to be carefully packed and shipped off to Canada!

And here it is in its new home at the Rebel Salon with Shaelene (left) and Elizabeth (right). Cheers to these lovely rebels and their new business venture! Congratulations, and I wish you both so much success!

And last but not least, cheers and a very special thank you to Vanessa for bringing us all together in a creative way. I love knowing my moth is north of the border and with fabulous company—the best to you always, Vanessa!

A little about the Rebel Salon from their Instagram feed:

* A person who rises in opposition that defies rules and norms. They value spontaneity and their freedom, and are independent-minded. They want their lives to be a true expression of their values •

When we were trying to name our salon, we easily went back and forth for about a month on different ideas! We wanted something that spoke to us, had meaning, and represented our journey/ who we are!🌟

And then came REBEL⚡️
Immediately we both knew this was it! We look up to strong, independent-minded women both within our industry and outside of it, and wanted our salon to be a collective of women who embody these characteristics. So here we are, taking our shot at our dream for a space where creativity can flow and we can share our passion with you all!

Love this so much. Keep creating, stay smart and strong my friends!