Faithful to the Bone

I already talked about the death of my beloved 6-pound companion of 12 years, my faithful Tiny Friend, Rusty.
If you are interested, the story is told in The Big R, a simple art therapy project I did along with this one.

As mentioned in that post, I started Faithful to the Bone on one of the 7×14 inch canvases left over from my Librarium gift project. There’s a pic of all 3 of them on my art table — and a pic of Rusty — in the Big R post. šŸ˜›

The first steps of this project (no pics of these) were:

  1. placing a few drops of Golden fluid acrylic paint along the top edge of the canvas
  2. using an old credit card to scrape the paint downwards, repeat, downwards, repeat
  3. filling in any white areas and around the outside edges using some of the discarded paint
  4. using up the rest of the leftover paint on The Big R
  5. letting the canvas dry, then using some of my silly washi tape, just randomly over the canvas
  6. toning down the brightness using antiquing medium (basically brown paint spread on, dabbed off)

In the pic below, you can see the canvas how it was after doing all of the above, and while I am judging some stencils to use for the next layers.



Now I painted dark red geometric designs using the stencils as laid out above, then in bright blue a Navajo Kachina and an Egyptian Hawk. There’s no telling what caused me to choose all these various elements in particular — they all just seemed “right” to my grieving mind.


For a couple days I just let this project sit, while I designed the silly fox-dog that I envisioned to accompany the Kachina doll.
I knew by that point that this was art therapy, as I was wanting to add a fanciful Rusty to it. It seemed to me that the humanoid figure should NOT be without her canine companion. Wow! Something that actually DID seem to make sense..!

So I painted on the figure of the fox-dog-wolf in gold paint, the color of Rusty.
I then completed The Big R using the leftover paint from that.


I used my Stabilo Marks-all black pencil for highlighting and shadowing on the fox-dog, then started to play around with embellishments.
I felt drawn to the box of bones I had collected in a nearby forest (and sterilized with hydrogen peroxide), not actually recognizing at that point the connection to the death I was grieving.



I toned down the brightness of the bones with antiquing medium and warmed up the emotion of the piece by replacing some of the bones with dried flowers and other natural items.



After gluing all these items down and letting everything dry thoroughly, I hung this piece on my wall and continued my process of healing.
As mentioned, it’s been four months now, and I still tear up when I try to write about the death of my Tiny Friend (I called him that or just “Tiny” most often, rather than “Rusty”). And I still have not attempted to watch any videos of him, because the one time my daughter put one on, hearing his little barking “voice” was just tooooooo much. I couldn’t see through the tears. Still, I have been able to look at pics of him and be grateful for the time I had with him. I journaled about 50 to 100 pages in the first couple weeks after he died — that helped, along with prayer, and more art. šŸ˜€


Here’s the step-by-step with extra pics:

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