Leafy Sea Dragons

Original aluminium painting of leafy sea dragon

I love a challenge, and I love commissions. This time I got both! As you may have noticed, I’m a bit of a colour obsessive, and most of my work is iridescent with rainbow hues. This time, I was approached by Resortium Concepts to create to a pair of sizeable Leafy Sea Dragons for their client in Adelaide.

This adventure was a first for all of us. The brief required earth tones designed to tie in with a spectacular gold, black and green themed interior. Intuitively I felt that aluminium would be the way to go. Having never worked with earth tones before, and the fact that the team from Resortium Concepts hadn’t seen what happened when I got carried away behind an angle grinder on a sheet of aluminium, none of us knew quite what to expect. I created a little A4 sized mockup to see how it would look, and Linda and George from Resortium Concepts were keen to proceed.

Each of these pieces are 900×1200, so they were fairly labour intensive, and extremely cumbersome to manoeuvre. I worked out a way to achieve what was required in my usual fashion and produced what you see.

Not surprisingly, as with anything new, there were a few hiccups along the way. High humidity and incessant rain over a couple of months, meant that the moisture in the air caused clouding when I initially completed the pieces. Dissatisfied with the clouding, I stripped them back and repolished and painted my enormous friends. To my great delight, I did discover some exotic textures that I might play with another time. Every cloud comes with a shiny lining…

I’ll be sad to see them go – they feel like they’re almost family!

Aluminium is hard work! I’m not going to lie to you and say these were easy to produce – they weren’t.
I built two frames to contain acid wash for these pieces. I masked, acid washed and repeated 3 times before I was satisfied with the depth and intricacy of detail. This was followed by a frenzy of buffing and polishing. I then masked out the areas that were to remain polished and sanded and airbrushed coloured detail. I then flooded the surface with darker coloured inks and alcohol to achieve a mottled patina. Lots of fun, and very messy! Once dry, I removed the masking and painted enamel detailing throughout.

Aluminium, acrylic ink, enamel paint, blood, sweat and tears!

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