Elements Series – Aquaria (Water)

Elements Series - Aquaria (Water) | Life of Dahlia

In todays I’m sharing the last post of my ‘Elements’ series, I’m going to be sharing my inspiration for creating the makeup as well as what I wanted to do for the final image.

I have to admit that while I had some idea of what makeup I wanted to do, I played around with this image the most out of the series because whatever I created just didn’t feel right.

Out of my new images for this series, this was actually the first one I tackled but also that last one I finished because I just felt like what I created originally just didn’t look good enough to fit in with the rest of the images. I feel like this could have been a lot better but I am somewhat happy with what I came up with.

I think I just need to learn that art is about expression, not perfection, so to speak and that I’m not always going to have an easy time creating. Art isn’t always about it being easy sometimes you just need to sit on an idea before trying to create it.

Elements Series - Aquaria (Water) | Life of Dahlia
Photo created by Erin Applebee, Background Image by Giga Khurtsilava on Unsplash.com

Aquaria (Inspired by the Water Element)

The image I’m sharing with you today is ‘Aquaria’ inspired by the Water Element. In my other posts, I have mentioned that I feel like this series has really become about transformation for me, and this image is no exception.

In my final incarnation of this image I wanted my character who I think of as a mermaid or sea siren coming out of the water and transforming into a more human form. The rest of the story could be whatever you imagine it to be.

I think that’s what I love about art or my art especially I love telling a story through it, It might just capture a small portion of that story but then whoever views it can interpret the rest of the story as whatever their imagination can come up with.

Elements Series - Aquaria (Water) | Life of Dahlia
Photo created by Erin Applebee, Background Image by Giga Khurtsilava on Unsplash.com


I really just wanted to play with some more blue and green tones for my makeup for this one and include some 3d elements with the jewels.

At the time I was happy with this but I felt like some of the elements didn’t pick up as well when I photographed it. If I could change anything I actually would make the lips darker and bring in more colour on my face and arms.

Elements Series - Aquaria (Water) | Life of Dahlia
Photo & Makeup by Erin Applebee, Wig & Background edited for Aesthetic Reasons

I actually wore a purple wig for this (which you will see in a behind the scenes photo later on in this post) but changed the colour in photoshop for the final image and for aesthetic reasons in the pic above (for sharing on Instagram).

And I picked out a blue dress to added to the colour them I was going for.

Here you can see some of those subtle details I was talking about with the colourful brows, lashes and liner. But thats the reason I love including close up makeup pictures because them you get to see how it actually looks.

I guess that’s the only downfall of how I like to do my images because I take them further away and add filters to create a painterly look to the final image it kind of gets a little bit lost. But you know it’s about expression, not perfection like I said.


This image was really just inspired by colours of the ocean, blues and greens. But I feel like my image took on inspiration from one of my favourite artist Brooke Shaden, Her imagery have very similar tones of yellow and she has featured water or oceans in quite a few of her images.

She has some great content on her Youtube channel, I recommend checking out if your an artist or photographer. She has been one of my favourites for many years, I have purchased her courses and book. Not only do I find her art inspirational but her as a person and as someone who has anxiety and fibromyalgia.

Sorry went on a little tangent there I just love sharing some of my favourite artists.

Elements Series - Aquaria (Water) | Life of Dahlia
Photo & Makeup by Erin Applebee

The Photographing Process

This image had a very similar process to my Aura or Air inspired image, I start out taking my image with a blank backdrop it might be black, white or coloured depending on the image.

I went for a similar coloured backdrop but only because I had a totally different idea in mind when I photographed this character otherwise I probably would have gone for a white backdrop for more contrast.

Video Edit Walkthrough (find all credits at the bottom of this post)

The Editing Process

Okay so I re-edited this image like three or four times but with my final image, I decided to add in a setting, for this I used an image by Giga Khurtsilava which I found on Unsplash.com

In the video walkthrough, you can see some of my initial editing where I extended the background and changed the colour, most of that actually became irrelevant because I added in a background.

I also show the shading before adding in the background but this actually happened after. For colouring of my image, I used Photoshop Actions From Fineartactions.com and Texture Effects by Topaz Labs.

I love Topaz Labs plugin’s especially their Glow and Impressions which allow me to add a glowy and painterly look to my images. I’ve always loved painting but I legit don’t have the patience or skills to be a painter so when I can use something to give my images that look I’m there.

I’m really happy with with my series and Its really inspired me to get back into creating self portraits and sharing different content on my blog and social media. This is a part of who I am and I felt like I was holding myself back from sharing this kind of stuff because I was trying to fit in a mold and thats not who I am. This is just as much a part of me as is my love for makeup, so you can definatly expect more creative stuff on my blog from now on.

Thank you for continuing to follow me and read my blog, I hope you all have a lovely day,

Don’t forget you can see my whole series on my instagram pages, I’ll be sharing this on both of them and you can find all the other posts on my blog.

Instagram: Beauty:@ erinappbeauty, Personal/Art:@ erin_applebee

Image Credits:

All Photos other than the ones credited below were taken by me (Erin Applebee)

Background Photo used in my Image is by Giga Khurtsilava on Unsplash.com

Video Intro Image Credits
Candle: https://www.pexels.com/@tuca-bianca-116780
Bonfire: https://www.pexels.com/@vladbagacian

Video Music Credits: Meadow by Density & Time

Disclaimer โ€“ This post is not sponsored and doesnโ€™t contain any affiliate links, links included are for reference only in case your interest in checking out anything mentioned in this post. Read full Disclaimer here.

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