Dragon – Repentance

Bridled with frenzy I hurled abuses,
My raging fury left nasty bruises.
My eyes nothing but a streak of pain,
Remorse runs deep within my veins.
I am full of regret, my head bowed in shame,
I cry tears of repentance, for I am to blame.

This artwork represents a repentant mental state that laments for atonement for its sins. I have attempted to bring out this emotion through the eye of the dragon. When the dragon is done wreaking havoc under the influence of its fiery streak of destruction, his insatiable thirst for annihilation starts to wane. As the smog of chaos and hysteria clears, the destruction caused by his crusade becomes visible to him and realization sets in about what he has done. The burning rage in his eyes is suddenly replaced by a streak of painful remorse. Overcome with guilt, he longs for penance and his anguish flows out of his eyes in the form of tears of repentance. The human mind, similarly, longs for retribution after letting loose its carnage. The venomous anger and fury that it spewed on its helpless victims, haunts it until it is overwhelmed with shame and regret for what it has done.

In this piece of art, I have experimented with yet another unique technique called Crackling. It is visible in the background of the painting in the form of cracks and crevices and gives a worn out and aged look, thus representing the weathered appearance of a dragon in distress. By applying a layer of glue or crackle medium between 2 layers of latex or acrylic paint, you can give almost any surface a faux finish. Glue absorbs much of the water from the paint. As the surface of the paint is drying, the glue is swelling or stretching from this additional moisture. The swelling of the glue effectively “pulls apart” the top coat of paint. As a result, the crackle effect is achieved. Pretty scientific, don’t you think? The process involves applying a base coat of latex or acrylic paint followed by a layer of glue once the paint has dried. Thereafter the second layer of paint is applied on top of the glue while it is still semi dry or “tacky” to the touch. Crackle painting works on many different surfaces and materials, such as ceramic and canvas. However, it typically looks most realistic on wooden pieces that naturally weather over time.

While store-bought crackle medium allows you to quickly create the look of a cracked, weathered paint finish, you can achieve the same look without the premade product. Make your own crackle medium from regular school glue or wood glue for a fraction of the cost. Homemade crackle medium works on any surface that can be brushed with glue and latex or acrylic paint. Wood, paper, cardboard and thick fabrics such as art canvases are all potential project surfaces. A homemade crackle medium is an incredibly simple recipe, requiring only suitable glue. School glue and wood glue both work; school glue is generally less expensive and available at more stores. Apply glue over the entire piece if you want all of it to crackle, but if the project is large, work in a small area at a time, otherwise the glue will dry too fast. Use a flat latex or acrylic paint for the top coat; otherwise the crackling may not happen. Brush the paint over the glue while it is still tacky to achieve the crackle effect. Brush only once over the glue, rather than using several brushstrokes in the same area or you may hinder the crackling process. As the paint and glue dry, the cracks occur.

Here are a few more tips to help you achieve crackle effect successfully:

If you’ve used a commercially sold crackle medium before, don’t expect as long of a wait between applying your crackle medium and applying the top paint color.
• Glue-based crackle medium is dry enough to paint in a matter of minutes, so touch the project after five or 10 minutes to see if the glue is almost dry but still tacky.
• If the glue dries completely and you’ve missed the painting-time window, apply another coat of glue and get ready to paint.
• For large cracks, apply a thick layer of glue, and use a thin layer for small cracks.
• Pick a color that contrasts well with your base coat color to get the best visual effects. For example, if your base coat is bright yellow, you might consider choosing navy blue as a top coat.
• Allow the paint to dry completely so that the cracks stay intact.
• Use a spouncer brush to sponge-paint the top coat if you want spider web-like cracks.

4 thoughts on “Dragon – Repentance

  1. Not only is the painting beautiful the blog teaches us about new techniques to create such a piece of art. The emotions brought out can be read, seen and felt.
    Looking forward to the next one.


  2. Well thought out and very well executed!! Thanks for the description of the technique and the tips. I might try it some day 🙂


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