Egyptian Canvas Duo (by Anne)

I so enjoyed helping out with samples for the Egyptian themed shows recently on Hochanda – and WOW the set looked amazing with so many wonderful creations from the team. I think that we all had a huge amount of fun. It really did look like an archaeological set.

I created this duo of canvases featuring Nefertiti and Tutankhamun to tell a little of their story. Although their likeness was well known to me I really had little idea of their history, so I did a little research. I really enjoyed finding out more about these characters and I had so much fun immersing myself into their mystical world when creating these canvases.

I hope that my creative journey gives you some inspiration for your own ideas. There is a full materials list at the end if you need links to any of the specific products used xxx.

The creative journey:
The canvases were first coated with a layer of Ivory Powertex, and the plaster busts with Bronze Powertex.

The textured embellishments were made with air dry clay and small clay cutters from my stash. The Hiero Heaven and Scarabella stamps were pressed into the rolled out clay to add texture. Additional texture added to some pieces using a texture mat, and I made the little snakes using a mould (both from my stash). Strips from corrugated card were used to create pillars. I laid out all my elements to get a rough idea of placement and to assess space left for adding text.

Note: I used an air dry modelling clay that I had in my stash. It is fairly strong when making chunky items but I did find it very brittle when rolled thin. I left it to fully dry overnight and coated it with Ivory Powertex. The Powertex did sink in well (as it remained porous) and considerably strengthened my embellishments. So I was happy to use them on my canvases. However, I would fully recommend using Stone Art Clay if you want hard wearing items, and certainly if you need them to be weather proof (it is designed for this).

Following my bit of historical research I decided on some text to add to my canvases. Nefertiti was the chief wife of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten who was the father of Tutankhaten (later named Tutankhamun). Originally Akhenaten was named Amenhotep IV but he changed his name when he banned the worship of the old Egyptian gods and instated Aten (Sun Disc – an aspect of the sun god Ra) as the one true god. I therefore depicted the Aten symbol (Sun Disk with rays in gold) on Nefertiti’s canvas.

I used gilding wax around the edges of my canvas and on the Sun Disc (Atan) and gold relief paste to create the Atan rays.

Nefertiti was also known as ‘the beautiful one has come’ (translation of her name) and ‘the lady of the two lands’ – I included this in the gilded text.

Nerfertiti may have ruled for a time as Neferneferuaten, and for a short while alongside Tutankhaten (later named Tutankhamun) but there is some debate on this. She disappeared not long after her husband’s death and it is unsure where her body lays. Although interestingly there is some evidence that she may be in a secret chamber behind the tomb of Tutankhamun. Still a mystery.

Tutankhamun became king when only a boy (‘boy king Tut’) and as mentioned above he was originally named Tutankhaten (‘the living image of Aten’). After the death of his father there was an uprising and the old gods were eventually reinstated. He reinstated Amun-Ra (fusion of the gods Amun ‘the hidden/invisible one’ and Ra the ‘sun god’) and changed his name to Tutankhamun (‘the living image of Amun’). There is a lot of debate around the identity of his mother but it is fairly certain that she would have been a close relation to Akhenaten (sister or cousin, maybe even Nefertiti?).

I hope that I am not boring everyone with history but I found it all fascinating (but also very confusing with all the name changes and the various gods worshipped at the time).

The sentiments were printed on a laser printer (copy paper) and foiled with gold sublimation foil using my laminator. I stamped over the background using Memories Ink and the Hiero Heaven stamp. I then scrunched up the paper and further aged with distress inks.

The background textured paper and sentiments were glued to the canvas using Easy Coat.

The card pillars were coated (back and front) with Black Powertex. Bister was used to add depth to my textured embellishments. I also mixed various Powercolor pigments into Ivory Powertex and rubbed over the top of the embellishments to give the effect of faded chalk paints.

Elements were glued in place using Powertex and a little Easy Structure for some of the more uneven textured pieces. A little Easy Structure paste was also applied with a palette knife for filling and more texture.

A little Ultramarine Powercolor was mixed with Ivory Powertex and painted into the crevices of the pillars. Gold Colortricx pigment mixed with Easy Varnish was dry brushed onto the surface ridges.

The busts were also coloured with gold varnish, applied fairly liberally for an opulent effect. Where I wanted areas of strong colour (blue, red, green) I applied a base of Ivory Powertex first and then painted over with coloured varnish. Black Powertex was painted into the eye area.


Materials:

How to create a simple canvas using the fabulous Tutankhamun Mould from www.powertex.co.uk

I love all things about Ancient Egypt so was thrilled when Powertex UK bought out the Tutankhamun mould. I have always been fascinated with pyramids and ancient symbolism.  This canvas is very easy to create but so effective.  

The canvas measured 20 x 20 centimetres. Magical numbers interest me too and I wanted this creation to mean something. The polystyrene bases from Pizzas are thin and easy to cut using scissors.  The 3 small pyramids measure 9 x 9 x 9 centimetres each.  I cut out some shapes of corrugated cardboard so I had a selection to choose from.  The wooden bits come with the canvas and are really handy embellishments. I decided later not to use the jute but like to have lots bits cut out ready before I begin.  2. I placed 2 pyramids on the canvas and drew a line.

I used Blue, Red and Ochre Powertex Hardener.

I also used Stone Art, Easy 3D Flex and some Sand and Balls. Not shown here, but I also used Brown Bister

which is a water based stain available from www.powertex.co.uk

I used a casting powder in the mould

Using my line as a guide I applied a coat of Red and Ochre Powertex Hardener

I am going to have to describe the next stage as it isn’t easy photographing and working on it at the same time.  I sprinkled some of the Stone Art  all over the wet canvas then using the palm of my hand pressed down all over so that a layer of it stuck. I brushed off the excess, added a few more blobs of Powertex then applied another sprinkling of the powder. This was again worked in and the excess removed.  I was aiming at an aged look so sprayed Brown Bister around the edges.

7. At this stage I was becoming really excited so placed some of cut outs on the canvas to see what it looked like.  As you will notice with the end result I changed my mind about the positioning. Next it was time to apply a border that looked like cracked stonework. 8. For this I used Easy 3d Flex mixed with the Ochre Powertex.  

9. For more of an aged look I sprayed a little more Brown Bister around the edges.  10.  Using the Ochre Powertex I stuck the bottom 2 pyramids down. These I had painted Brown.  10. For the top pyramid I used the Blue Powertex.  Whilst the Powertex was still wet I added some of the Sand and Balls.

I got so carried away with it, that I forgot to photograph adding the little bits of wood and the half moon at the top. I used a water based wet wipe to wipe away the Bister on the surface of the Easy 3d Flex and dry brushed over the surface with Ivory Powertex. Then came a touch of gold. You can use Gold Powertex Pigments for that or a gilding wax.

I really hope you have enjoyed this little project. Check out the Powertex website for your supplies and a certified tutor in your area. www.powertex.co.uk.

For workshops in Polymer Clay and Powertex with me, please visit my website www.birdyheywood.com