Since it is difficult for me to obtain gourds, I decided to use cuttlefish. I live on the Sunshine Coast of Australia, and occasionally cuttlefish get washed up on the beach where I walk, so I collected some. They have a pleasant off-white colour, and a subtle texture which becomes more obvious when painted.
Matisse travelled to Tahiti and the South Pacific in 1930. He spent several months there, and some of his pieces were inspired by that trip. In fact, Oceania, the Sky and Oceania, the Sea were his first large-scale compositions using cutouts. See
Since I am using cuttlefish, I will also use the sea as my theme.
I selected four fronds (seaweed in my mind) from La Gerbe, and adapted them to the shape of my cuttlefish. For variety and to strengthen my sea theme I also chose a fish from Oceania, the Sea, and adapted it to fit a larger cuttlefish.
I cut paper patterns to transfer my shapes to the cuttlefish. This seemed appropriate since Matisse used cut paper.
I painted only the images on the cuttlefish, not the background. I wanted to leave the lovely natural colour and texture. I mixed Jo Sonja's Pearl White with all my colours to give them a slight sheen.