Is this mermaid a monster background

Is This Mermaid A Monster?

Is this mermaid a monster? I’m not sure what to make of it. I started out with a green and yellow background that Tiny-Small and I painted together. My family makes art together. I have an obsession with mermaids that was born when I became friends with two women who changed my life forever. I am just trying to catch you up on my eccentricities if this is the first time you have read here. Anyway, the background was kind of striking by itself so I put it on a table and leaned it against the wall for a while. It felt full of light to me. I also found it soothing.

Is this mermaid a monster background
The background.

I’ve been on an art journey lately. One where I am trying to push and tug at the boundaries of my creativity. I am trying to get out of my own comfort zone and let go of my need to control things. I’ve been letting the paintings create themselves more than I usually do. This one was no exception. Since I prefer to make plans and draw diagrams and have a specific purpose in mind, this mode of creating has been a real struggle for me, but I think I am making some progress.

I was driving in the car when a Pearl Jam song came on. The song was “Better Man” and the lines, “She dreams in color. She dreams in red. Can’t find a better man.” got stuck in my head…for days. I am actually singing them right now, so apparently THAT is still going on.

mermaid art and monsters
Painting with negative space.

In the meantime, I was washing the dishes when I suddenly had the idea to use negative space to create a sort of moon shaped mermaid. By negative space, I mean I would paint around the shape I wanted instead of painting in the shape I wanted. That’s how I ended up with the mermaid being the green and yellow of the background. I turned parts of the background into the object I wanted and painted over the background in blue. Kind of a cool effect.

I found myself dreading the arms because lately I cannot draw or paint arms that don’t look stiff and weird. Plus I didn’t want to ruin my moon shape. So I didn’t giver her arms. I just gave her a face. Kind of creepy. I thought maybe she was a sea-nymph and just like a caterpillar was about to break out of her cocoon. Then I wondered, am I about to break out of my cocoon? Is all of this art and blogging setting my soul free? Deep stuff coming out of somewhere inside of me.

no arms for this mermaid monster
Mermaid face with no arms.

The entire time I keep singing the Pearl Jam song…over and over and over. What a broken record my mind can be. Usually this annoys me, but this time, I knew it was going to become part of my painting. I had a feeling the red would contrast with the green. I was also thinking about what a mermaid at the bottom of the ocean be dreaming about? Color! Red. It’s full of energy and excitement and danger. Red is risk. Something we all take just by being alive. So, here she is, resting at the bottom of the water, waiting for her time to shine.

She dreams in red: Is this mermaid a monster?
She dreams in red.

So, I globbed red onto my canvas and then splattered it with a spray bottle filled with water and let it drip. Which is a little creepy too. So, I am not sure, is this mermaid a monster? What do you think? Tiny-Small said she was sad that the mermaid didn’t have arms and wanted to kiss her boo-boo better. So, maybe she is just broken. Or maybe she is about to blossom into a beauty. Maybe it all depends on what you are experiencing in your own life. Either way, it’s a bit unsettling and I still don’t know what to make of it. Still, I feel things shifting. This kind of art-making feels like a healing process to me. It gives me confidence and courage. It’s a lot like writing. All of the worries and angst is getting out onto a page (or surface of some kind) which leaves me walking around with a little less weight to carry.


Jim’s clay monsters can be found here: So, I Declared Yesterday Family Art Day.

I have a mermaid obsession, obviously: More posts about mermaid art.


17 thoughts on “Is This Mermaid A Monster?”

  1. “Maybe it all depends on what you are experiencing in your own life”. You have summarized the perception of art perfectly: we all look at something that was already inside of us.
    Gosh, I am a cliche-driven tonight!

  2. In therapy, when kids draw figures without arms it’s often thought that the figure lacks agency, the ability to do things, to change things. Immobile.

    1. Oh yes, this is exactly right. I am very immobile at the moment. SO many ideas and plans that I can’t move forward with until my daughter is older. Not that I am complaining, but I am complaining. I am trying to have patience because I know this time will pass quickly even though it sometimes feels very slow, but I do have moments of feeling “stuck” and like I am running in circles.

  3. Well, this mermaid would make a great fishing lure 😉 All she needs is a hook somewhere. Her face looks pretty hot to me, so I would rule out monster. Then again, I have a watercolor I got in Spain done by a Cuban artist about a mythic Cuban woman that lives in the water and sucks men down, so she could be a monster I guess.

  4. I am feeling like your mermaid right now. I am currently confined but ready to bust free. I think the piece is very hopeful. Of course I love the red…. when don’t I love the red. I need to get something painted by you! Maybe an image that depicts my online name… with the big bad wolf 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.