Rainbow Art Journal – Icarus

One of my sons is obsessed with Greek Mythology – all of my kids were at one point – and that means that, thanks to osmosis, I have become a bit of a Greeky Mythology nerd myself.  The mythological figures, especially the monsters, therefore often appear in my sketchbooks.  A few years ago now, that theme was even the basis for a challenge I did to draw 40 drawings in 40 days.  I have contemplated returning to that theme for a whole series of drawings – but without the time challenge – but that shall be for some future juncture.  For now, I decided to draw Icarus in my Rainbow Art Journal.

I am currently working through the yellow section of my art journal and bold yellow suggested sunshine and sunshine suggested Icarus’ wings melting … This was my thought process.  This was another page that had some little underlying texture as I had previously scraped leftover white acrylic over the page.  You can spot the lumps and bumps.  I kept the illustration simple and, therefore, kept the colour palette limited.  I generally suck at drawing wings but I actually really like the way these turned out given that they are supposed to be a) manmade and b) broken.  I tried using spray inks to create some visual texture between the sun disc and the falling figure but it seems that the inks don’t perform well on top of acrylic – hello, learning opportunity – but it adds a sort of glow around the sun so at least it did not ruin the illustration.

39 - Icarus

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Rainbow Art Journal – Yellow Bubbles

This was a page that I had gradually filled with scraps of yellow hued collage – including scraps of origami paper, images from cookery magazines, photographs from National Geographic.  I sketched in a figure over the top of the collage and then painted the negative spaces in a lemon acrylic so that the background became covered in bubble shapes that revealed the collage layer beneath.  When it comes to the figure, I was plagiarizing myself again since I copied her from an ink and watercolour drawing from over two years ago.  I prefer that original version but it is fun to translate an illustration into a different medium and see what differences emerge.

35 - Yellow Bubbles

Rainbow Art Journal – Fire and Ash

This art journal page was really an exploration of ways to create visual texture.  My inspiration was a painting I did for Life Book last year because I like the visual imagery of flame and ash.  I actually thought to take progress shots of this art journal page so I can show the different stages of its creation.  I started with a really simple line drawing.

19a Fire and Ash

To create the background texture, I scraped some orange paint onto the page with an old hotel room card.  I then used that same card to lift up some of the paint from the page so that it created some texture, sort of feathering and ripples.  To create the texture on the torso, I painted it black and then layered some red paint over the top.  Before the red paint had fully dried, I pressed down some damp paper onto the surface so that it lifted up some of the paint and created a visual texture that I hoped would be reminiscent of charring.

19c Fire and Ash

The final element of visual texture was my old friend spatter.  I spattered some black and red paint to create the idea of ash and embers floating upwards from the flames.

19d Fire and Ash

I liked the effect of all of the techniques I used in this page.  It might be a bit much that I used them all at once but maybe it works for my thematic purposes.  I am definitely pleased that the finished page still resembles my initial sketch as  that has not always been the case.

19e Fire and Ash

19f Fire and Ash

Autumn Glow

I have not been doing a great job of keeping up with Life Book lessons and, as such, my mixed media skills are getting a tad rusty.  A quieter weekend than usual afforded me the opportunity to tackle the most recent lesson.  I took the concept of that lesson and put my own spin on it.  I have been doing a lot of drawing lately – for my extended Inktober and the Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbook Project – so the drawing that underpinned this piece was actually really strong.  I am, therefore, frustrated that I completely lost the quality of that drawing as I layered media on top of it.  It proves the point, however, that I have allowed that particular skill set to rust up.  Still, as disappointing as the outcome is to me, I enjoyed spending a decent ration of time sitting at my art table this weekend.

45a - Autumn Glow

45b - Autumn Glow

 

Lilac Dusk

I have had an exhausting week, physically and mentally.  Being crazily busy is my norm but this week has been beyond the norm.  I almost fell asleep on the sofa one afternoon.  Whenever everyday life gets a bit overwhelming, I know I have to try and scratch out some art time as a way to find balance and decompress.  That is why I decided to tackle this week’s Life Book lesson.  This week’s lesson was taken by Annie Hamman.  I have viewed and responded to a few art lessons taken by Hamman by this stage in my exploration of mixed media and I decided some time ago that her style of painting, her technique, was not something that was going to work for me.  I want to hone and develop my own style of art, after all, so pushing myself to try a mode of painting that prevents me from achieving that goal makes no sense.  I, therefore, pick and choose elements from the lesson that I can utilise for pushing my own creativity while ignoring the aspects like layering paint with a palette knife.

When I thought of a figure who was serene and peaceful, I thought of one whose arms were crossed because she was not busy doing something.  Hands at rest.  In my busy week, idle hands would definitely be a luxury.  The female figure I painted ended up looking a bit huffy because of the pose but that doesn’t matter to me because I know what made me choose that position for the hands.  I tried to keep the colour palette light and pale to suggest calm.  The finished piece makes me think of my Twilight Garden painting from last year.  I take that as a good sign that I am developing my own style – or at least one of many of my styles.

38 - Lilac Dusk

While my art time is limited, I am still beavering away with my Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbook project, approaching the half-way mark.  You can see what I am up to on my other blog and on Instagram.

Protective Pod

Last week’s Life Book lesson was taken by Connie Solera.  It was a bit too “art as therapy” for my personal taste but I was inspired by the imagery of the painting Solera demonstrated and decided to create my own twist on the idea, moulding the lesson to fit my own style.  There are many layers in this mixed media painting, more layers than I typically work with, but I enjoyed switching between the chaotic looseness of the background and the more tight illustration of the female figure curled up inside a pod shape in the centre, even if it probably makes the piece visually unbalanced.

36 - Protective Pod

Frida Kahlo Portrait

This week there were two Life Book lessons.  I only had time available to tackle one of them so I opted to respond to the lesson taken by Tamara Laporte which involved creating a mixed media portrait of Frida Kahlo.  I am absolutely not a portraitist.  I cannot capture people’s likenesses accurately at all.  The idea of even attempting to portray someone as immediately recognisable as Frida Kahlo was pretty intimidating but that was precisely why I decided to dive in and give it a try: growth through challenge.

Frida Kahlo seems to be pretty zeitgeisty at the moment.  I am seeing lots of homages and merchandise here and there.  I confess I am not a massive fan of Kahlo’s art.  I appreciate it and recognise its worth but it just doesn’t speak to me in the same way that the work of other artists does.  I actually find her more inspirational as a person than I do as an artist.  As such, I didn’t have an immediate idea of how to portray her.  I flicked through some photographs of her and scribbled down some ideas and sketches – the hair style, the daring clothing that emphasised her female sexuality, the use of bold colours.  All of those found their way into my finished piece.  Laporte had incorporated a parrot into her portrait of Kahlo and I took that idea and turned it into a parrot wing.  I had also thought I would add some big jungle leaf shapes into the background, a feature I noted in several of Kahlo’s self-portrait, but in the end I decided that it would all get a bit too busy and let it be.

35 - Frida Kahlo

I am not sure how I feel about this piece yet.  I think I need to give it some time before I make a judgement about its successes and flaws.  My husband, who has a minimal interest in the history of art, immediately recognised this as being a portrait of Frida Kahlo, however, so at least I must have somewhat met the challenge of painting a passable likeness.