My husband and I looked through his wood stash to find something suitable: sturdy but light. I asked him to cut it to size, but he was unable to get to it before leaving town for work. So, I dug deep and figured out the table saw by myself (and kept all my fingers in the process). Win!
First, I covered the top with gesso, made some patterns in it and left it to dry overnight. The next morning I hated the patterns, so covered it with gesso again and made different patterns. The gesso was light enough that some of the old patterns showed through, which I actually liked. This photo shows the first set of patterns.
The lighting's not great in this next phot, but I felt like the background needed more blue and that the dark needed to mellow out a bit. I also took ripped some Tim Holtz tissue paper, smeared some acrylic paint on and glued it on. In retrospect, it might have been a better idea to wait to do the butterflies, but I needed to put something down. The placement of the middle butterfly happened because the lines on the paper corresponded almost exactly to the etch marks I'd made in the gesso. Just felt like it had to go there.
I looked at the sign for a day or two and felt like it was still too dark. I wanted to lighten it up a bit so I used a stencil and Tim Holtz Picket Fence Distress stain spray to do positive and negative circles. I then added some shading to the circles so that the negative ones on the right almost looked sunken in and tried to make the positive ones on the left pop out.
All along I'd wanted an image of a goddess or some powerful woman figure. I couldn't come up with anything I liked, so finally I googled images of women speaking or singing. I loved one of a multi-racial woman that came up. I used her as the basis for the figure that I started to paint in the corner.
I loved doing this project. It came out completely different than my original thoughts, but I'm liking the results.