This is the first page in the pink section of my Rainbow Art Journal. The scrappy background was the result of me scraping leftover paint from other projects onto that page. I then created the bunny silhouette, inspired by the zombie bunnies I like to draw, and then added the (anatomically inaccurate) skeleton using a Posca paint pen. The execution is not my best work but I like Skelebun as a character so I think I may have a crack at drawing him in ink and watercolour.
I actually completed this illustration during a meet up with my local art journaling group. Once a month, we used to gather in a local coffee shop and work on our own art projects. That all came to an end when Covid sent us into lockdown in March 2020 and it has not been resurrected. The fact that this page was completed pre-pandemic is a reminder of just how long I have been working on this project. Man, I really need to get this journal finished.
I was not really in the mood for art when I sat down at my art table but I am trying to get myself back into the habit of making regular time for creativity so I pushed myself. I decided to do something quick, simple, and whimsical. Since the windows adjacent to my art table provide me with a good view of the birds in my garden, that inspired me to draw a very simplified bird. Because I was in the purple section of my Rainbow Art Journal, I had thought I was going to draw a chubby hummingbird. However, what I ended up drawing was an owl. I kept this page very simple – just three colours of acrylic and two paint pens. The illustration itself is blah but I do like the colour palette. Most importantly, however, I pushed myself to spend time on art as an effort to build back those art habits and my ability to get something accomplished in small portion of time. And, with that, I am done with the purple section of this art journal. Maybe I can actually get this journal project completed this year.
We have just returned from a week at the beach. Our destination this summer was Prime Hook in Delaware. Delaware again. I confess I was not jazzed at the prospect of a third summer spent on the Delaware shore. However, a variety of alternative travel plans fell through for a number of reasons and it seems like Delaware is now our default setting for family vacations. One advantage of having very much been there and done that is that our time at the beach was very chill because there was zero reason to go out exploring. Rather than experiences, therefore, our focus was on properly relaxing and recharging our batteries and on spending quality time together as a family – and this time our oldest son came with us too so we had all six of us on vacation for the first time since 2019.
Our oldest son had not been to Fort Miles at Cape Henlopen for several years so he accompanied his Aged Parents on a jaunt there. We were actually able to get inside Battery 519 for the first time so at least that was a new experience. My husband spent a lot of time chatting with the docents about a U-boat captain and the Civil War while I wandered around and looked at the exhibits.
We also went into Rehoboth one morning. Our first stop was the Farmers’ Market so we could pick up some patisserie for breakfast but we also spent some time on the boardwalk and browsing in stores. One incessantly rainy day, we decided to take a tour of some nearby thrift stores as a fun retail challenge. We ate a few meals out too and – after three summers of trying – my husband was finally able to order soft shell crab – so he ate two of them.
Most of our time, however, was spent at the rental house. With the house being right on the beach, a lot of time was spent in the water and on the sand. I am not so much a beach person so I just dipped in and out of such activities but I enjoyed sitting in the sunshine and watching the boys larking around in the water. I was able to spend some time on art and reading and we also played a lot of board games as a family.
We also got to enjoy terrific sunsets every evening.
Our week at the beach was a much-needed break away from our daily stresses and our usual routines and ruts. It was definitely relaxing and restorative. Next year, however, I am hoping for some travel plans that expand my experiences.
There are so many layers of watercolour on this page. I usually only work in two or three layers so this was a real exercise in patience for me as I waited for each saturated layer to (slowly) dry. The idea was to depict a figure floating inside a nebula. Is that even scientifically possible? No idea! I didn’t bother consulting my astronomy nerd husband because accuracy doesn’t bother me. The spacesuit would possibly set someone’s teeth on edge too as I cobbled it together from various references to spacesuits from different countries and different eras and then simplified the forms.
I have scores of Draw This In Your Style challenges saved over on Instagram. I find them useful when I have time for art but am short on inspiration. They are also useful for both reinforcing and honing the elements of illustration that make something identifiably my style.
One of the ones I have had saved for months was a witch with moss hued hair created by Heather Mahler. She has a very distinctive style and is also a digital artist so I thought it would be fun to give it a try in analogue. Working on this drawing, I realised how much more practice I need with drawing faces in profile. My skills in that regard have definitely atrophied over the several months in which I was not putting pen to paper. I never add tattoos to the figures I draw so it was fun to add all of those little glyph details to the drawing. This was a relaxing drawing to work on because I didn’t get stuck in my own head coming up with an idea or composition.
These skeleton women do insist on appearing in my art journals but I decided to keep this one much simpler. I also decided to work in a colour palette that I thought might be really clashing and visually discordant. Chartreuse is a colour I actually quite like in isolation but which I find often looks horrid juxtaposed against other colours so I decided on chartreuse and violet. It struck me that the colours were reminiscent of the colours of a bruise at different stages of healing. Not something a skeleton really needs to think about.
I was trying to decide what to draw while making my morning mug of tea. I like to look at the birds at my feeder while the kettle boils and I was enjoying the way the light was highlighting the beautiful colours in the feathers of a grackle. Flashes of blues, purples, greens were shining among the rich black. And that was when I decided to draw a figure with wings in those jewel tones. I thought about making the background deep black to better reflect the grackle inspiration for the drawing but decided against it. Maybe I should at a later date? I have annoyed myself by making the wing on the right too stubby. I should have done a bit more pencil scaffolding before I went in with the ink. Apparently this is a lesson I will never learn. Otherwise I quite like this illustration – in large part because I love that Daniel Smith Phthalo Turquoise so much.
I seem to be cycling through a number of mixed media methodologies and, though it was subconscious, I think I am testing myself to see which skills I have retained and which I have lost but – more importantly – what techniques I still enjoy.
This is my first attempt at paint over really basic collage in a good while and – ooft! – I have definitely gotten rough. What did not help me at all was the fact that, through lack of use, my gel matte medium has gotten really thick and unyielding. I kept at it because I didn’t have a reasonable alternative available and because I thought the rough texture it was creating might be fun to work with. I was wrong. Not only did it create an awful texture, I was also working on this on a really humid day so everything began to wrinkle and warp. Honestly, had I not had a decent illustration on the reverse of this page, I probably would have ripped it out and binned it. Maybe if I persevered I could pull it out of the ugly phase? Nope. It stayed ugly.
I like the concept of a little white house beneath a glowing moon in a landscape using this colour palette but otherwise I pretty much detest this page in my Rainbow Art Journal. However, I have to accept the bad and the ugly if I also want to achieve the good along the way. It is all experimentation. And one important thing I have gleaned from returning to this technique is that I no longer find it interesting. While I will no doubt still build some collage elements into my mixed media dabblings, I am really not interested in paint over collage any more. And knowing that has real value in terms of knowing how to invest my art time.
This page in the purple section of my Rainbow Art Journal was simply inspired by a desire to use complementary colours. I pivoted to what is apparently my default setting of drawing a female figure in front of a disc. My husband asked why the people I draw always look miserable. My guess is it may be because neutral expressions are easier for me to draw. So I am making a note to self to try and draw a wider range of expressions.