This is a quick illustration I created with the contents of this month’s Art Snacks box. I received a very chunky black alcohol marker which presented me with quite the challenge. I am definitely a fan of fine line pens and have accumulated quite a collection of them. I am not very adept at using anything with a broad tip – nor am I very capable with alcohol markers for that matter. My solution was to draw a chubby little character with the marker. I don’t know why I thought to give him branches or antlers sprouting from his head but that choice led me to leave negative forms on his belly in the shape of leaves. Now white gel pens are something I love. Every single one of my pencil cases contains at least one Uni-ball white gel pen. I perhaps went a little over the top with the white pen details but I do like the effect on the antlers in particular.
Will I create an illustration in the green section of my Rainbow Art Journal that does not involve foliage? It is looking doubtful based on the evidence so far. Women with antlers crop up in my artwork from time to time and I really don’t have an explanation for why or what they might symbolise for me. I wish I had a deeper explanation than the fact I just seem to enjoy drawing this subject. Also, I should probably develop my skills with painting leaves as I am pretty sure my abilities in that regard have not developed since my age was in single digits.
I had to diverge a fair bit from last week’s Life Book lesson. The lesson was taken by Effy Wild and was a bit too “art therapy” for my taste. I definitely appreciate the therapeutic function art and other forms of creativity can and do play in people’s lives but it just isn’t for me. For me, art is cathartic just through the act of creating, the calm space it creates in my busy life. I don’t use it for delving into deep feelings or processing them. While I opted out of that aspect of the lesson, I did enter into the spirit of working intuitively. I consciously chose to work in shades of green because it is a colour I don’t often reach for and maybe that woodland palette is why what emerged on the page was a female figure sporting antlers. The antler thing has been happening a lot lately. I have no idea what that is about or what it might represent. I’ll just go with it.
Last week’s Life Book lesson was taken by Annie Hamman. I really love Hamman’s paintings and enjoy watching her process but it is a style and methodology I can never get to work for me as I am neither painterly or loose enough in the way I handle paint. I have, therefore, really enjoyed the previous Annie Hamman lessons I have worked on but I always end up with something much more rigid and controlled than the anticipated outcome. This lesson was no exception.
I enjoyed all of the techniques deployed in the lesson, such as painting over collage and painting negative space, but I was neither intuitive or loose enough in my mark making. That’s OK though. That way of creating just isn’t me. What was disappointing was that my choice to use blue for underpainting and layering up the shadows of the face didn’t dissipate enough in subsequent layers and the flesh tones ended up sallow and sickly looking as a result. (Incidentally, the phone photo makes the colours much paler than they are in real life because the light levels have just been so dreary here lately.) I am, however, happy with the negative painting around the antlers, the pushing back of and forward from the collage layer, and the gold of the halo. I think this is another one of those lessons I will attempt again, perhaps in my art journal, as I liked the approach and have hopefully learned something from the underpainting oops.