This post is about how I created the “Talisman for Eastern Bluebirds”, a mixed media collage with a 3-D artifact, step by step. Some have asked what my process is, I hope this helps to explain. Next week I will post about creating “Talisman for Western Bluebirds”, which you can see a small portion of in the first photo. Scroll to the bottom to see the professionally photographed  version.

Kathleen O'Brien, "Talisman for Eastern Bluebirds", process, background watercolor, drawings of Bluebirds & map are glued on, talisman is in position

Kathleen O’Brien, “Talisman for Eastern Bluebirds”, process, background watercolor, drawings of Bluebirds & map are glued on, talisman is in position

The very first step of showing just the abstract watercolor on Arches Cover is missing. I thought about taking process photos only after I had drawn the bluebirds and glued them down, and drawn the map of their migratory habits. But other than that you see the watercolor without further drawing.

Those egg shapes are thumbprints that were a “mistake” when my thumbs imprinted into very juicy paint. I loved that they looked like Bluebird eggs and added more. I had begun to construct the talisman into a wreath of sweetgrass from the herb garden (nest material), red berries (there food), and 3 Milagros.

Milagros, the Spanish word for miracle, are offerings that represent a prayer. The little house represents the call for more people to create bird houses for them, so they can hold their own  when the Darling Starlings and House Sparrows show up.

In case you are wondering, everything here is being held down by magnets, a system I invented to help in the design process.

Kathleen O'Brien, "Talisman for Eastern Bluebirds", process, detail of drawings of Bluebirds

Kathleen O’Brien, “Talisman for Eastern Bluebirds”, process, detail of drawings of Bluebirds

Kathleen O'Brien, "Talisman for Eastern Bluebirds", process, detail of the talisman for Bluebirds, a wreath of homegrown sweetgrass, milagros, berries & bluebird feathers loosely connected to the watercolor

Kathleen O’Brien, “Talisman for Eastern Bluebirds”, process, detail of the talisman for Bluebirds, a wreath of homegrown sweetgrass, milagros, berries & bluebird feathers loosely connected to the watercolor

Kathleen O'Brien, "Talisman for Eastern Bluebirds", process, showing other collage pieces glued with shadows drawn, & further background drawing

Kathleen O’Brien, “Talisman for Eastern Bluebirds”, process, showing other collage pieces glued with shadows drawn, & further background drawing

In the photo above you can see that there is more drawing. The graphite female Bluebird has more detail, the eggs are more detailed, areas of the background are developed and shadows are drawn around the collage elements.

Kathleen O'Brien, "Talisman for Eastern Bluebirds", process, sewing the talisman to the watercolor

Kathleen O’Brien, “Talisman for Eastern Bluebirds”, process, sewing the talisman to the watercolor

Kathleen O'Brien, "Talisman for Eastern Bluebirds", process, detail of the talisman finished & secured to the watercolor

Kathleen O’Brien, “Talisman for Eastern Bluebirds”, process, detail of the talisman finished & secured to the watercolor

Kathleen O'Brien, "Talisman for Eastern Bluebirds", process, detail of the stitches of the talisman on the back of the watercolor

Kathleen O’Brien, “Talisman for Eastern Bluebirds”, process, detail of the stitches of the talisman on the back of the watercolor

Please let me know if you have any questions. Check back next week to see the step by step process of creating the “Talisman for Western Bluebirds”.

Kathleen O'Brien, "Talisman for Eastern Bluebirds"

Kathleen O’Brien, “Talisman for Eastern Bluebirds”

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