Mayan Zodiac

A few months ago, we worked on a cool project at our Tuesday evening abstract art classes.  Our tutor Dieter proposed a “Mayan Theme” for our painting.  The design is based on the Mayan zodiac signs from our birthdays which we looked up on the internet, and we took it on from there.  Apparently this is the design of my zodiac sign.  I am not an expert at astrology and hence won’t go into details as to its symbolism but I will be referring the top as the sun, the middle as sun rays and the seven long bits as canes.  One day I will try and do some research on their meaning! As for now, I will focus on its aesthetic aspect and share how I painted it.


The Background

For this painting, I used a large canvas because later on, we will be piling on some plaster for some added texture.  The background was firstly painted in green, along with some streaks of gold paint before brushing on some vermillion red which is to be the sun rays.


Sun Rays

On top of the red, I spread some iridescent creamy white paint with my fingers. Some of the paint was also mixed with the red.  Then with some black charcoal, I outlined the sun and the seven canes in preparation for applying some plaster.


Getting Plastered

Once Dieter was done with mixing some plaster, we applied some with a spatula making sure the plaster mixture was not too dry to avoid breaking and cracking.  It didn’t have to be smooth but getting it evenly spread out and reasonably thick but not too thick was important.


Gold Rush

I then covered the plastered bits with some gold paint.  With the rough surface, it was quite a challenge getting the paint in between the bumpy areas.  How beautiful it all looked once done!  That said, I was not sure if I liked the combination of the gold with the green background.  It reminded me of my high school sports colours of “green and gold” which I know sounds silly but I guess we all have our quirks.


Vermillion Glaze

Dieter came up with the idea of adding some red glaze on top to bring down that dreaded “green and gold” effect.  So I grabbed some brightly coloured vermillion paint, thinned it down with water and briskly brushed all on top.  The canes look really pretty now with some gold showing through.  In addition, the vermillion helped neutralise the green, making it a more earthy shade.  The sun, though, was painted on with an additional layer of the gold as enhancement, and the centre of the sun rays was repainted over in white, then with some bright yellow added.  And now!!!


Now I’m really pleased with the painting.  I love how the gold shines but without looking too bling.  The centre of the sun rays really stand out as well, adding more to the painting.  So proud of this painting I am that it now hangs on the wall in my apartment to be admired and remembered what a great effort I made for this stunning piece!


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