Carnotaurus means meat-eating bull. It had big horns and ate meat. Coincidence? I think not.

One of the reasons I like Swap-Bot is the chance to step outside my comfort zone a little and try something new. That's why I signed up for a mixed media swap in one of the the groups I belong to. The subject matter was completely up to you, with only a few guidelines; your artwork had to be on a small boxed canvas, incorporate at least three different mediums, and explore the color green as well as texture. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, right? Wrong!

I had so much trouble with it and hated everything I tried. After a few failed attempts at being awesome and original, I grabbed my binder of embroidery doodles in search of inspiration. I probably would have just given up on the whole thing if it hadn't been for a swap. Sometimes I need to be held accountable. Deadlines are always good too.

I think Glitter Skull would be an awesome name for a band. Actually, so would Meat Bull.

I finally grabbed one of my sketches of a Carnotaurus skull and glued it on to a canvas painted green. Then I traced it, smeared some green glitter paint on it, and thickened up the outline with my trusty black Sharpie. Then I began painting a row of white teeth on both the left and right edges of the canvas as a sort of border. I thought I could build them up with layers of paint for a sort of 3D effect. It didn't work out so well though. In fact, it didn't work out at all, so I nixed that idea and went back to the drawing board. I now had a subject at least, and a touch of green, but still no texture.

Small Mixed Media Canvas Series, #1
The bumps! Look at them! They're bumpy!

Then came some more brainstorming...dinosaurs...teeth...horns...bone...skin. Skin! Of course! Back in the day, dinosaurs were always colored in shades of gray and green. Actually, they still are for the most part. How perfect for my green swap! And what does dinosaur skin look like? Kinda bumpy. Texture! Excellent! Bring on the green paint! After painstakingly building up a few dozen dots of paint with 5 or 6 layers, I had something I happy with.

Glitter teeth...of DOOM!

As excited as I was about my epiphany full of little green bumps, I was still bummed about my idea for the textured teeth not working out. My mind kept wandering back to it, until I finally realized that I still had the sides of the canvas to play with. So that's what I did! I painted a row of pointy white teeth on each side, then coated the whole edge with the same green glitter paint that I used on the skull. I like glitter. I also like thick black cartoonish outlines, so out came the Sharpie for some final outlining.

I loooove how it all came together, and I'm very happy to say that my swap partner did too. It may have been a pain in the tuchus at times, but it was totally worth it, and may have even taught me a lesson. Something about being true to myself, even when trying new things. Silly and geeky FTW! Also, dinosaurs rock.

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