Abominable Snowman

It is only January and I am already so over Winter.  I like to be warm and cosy.  I dislike shovelling.  My kids have not and will not have a full week of school this month thanks to snow days, early dismissals, and late arrivals.  While I love spending time with my kids, it has been pretty disruptive and we are a family who does better with routine.  Winter is the price I pay for getting to enjoy the other seasons of the year.  Alas, it is too early for me to even start searching out the first signs of Spring.

Anyway, thoughts of snow, ice, and winter chill inspired my most recent art journal page.  Technically it is a response to the Art Journal Adventure prompt which was the letter A.  I had already been thinking about creating an illustration of a Yeti so I am just labelling him as the Abominable Snowman to fulfil the prompt.  I love monsters and mythology and cryptids so I always enjoy drawing them.  This yeti is inspired by a painting I did in my altered book of monsters a couple of years ago.  That painting was just the face but this time I drew the whole body.

2 Abominable Snowman - Yeti - Art Journal Page

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Year of the Dog

We had a Snow Day yesterday with schools closed and my preschool closed due to the winter storm and the bitter temperatures.  It was definitely a day for hibernation.  I tidied and read and baked and found time to work in my art journal.  My January Art Snacks box had just arrived the previous day and I was eager to experiment with the contents.  I used the Art Journal Adventure prompt as my starting point – year of the dog.  As a cat owner, that might be a bit treacherous but it has been a while since I drew a dog so I thought I should take the opportunity to practice.  My dog ended up super goofy and long and bendy but he’s playful and that is what guddling about in my art journal is all about.  It was also fun to experiment with the products in the box, all of which I liked and all of which I will use again and again.  The photos are not great thanks to the very dull lighting conditions and the fact that I was wrestling one of my cats at the time.  He definitely did not approve of this dog illustration.

1a Year of the Dog - Art Journal Page

1b Year of the Dog - Art Journal Page

Alpha & Omega

Happy New Year!

My final Art Journal Adventure prompt for 2017 was “Endings and Beginnings”, obviously an apt subject for the turn of the year.  This year there will be no page in my art journal that sets an inspirational, aspirational or encouraging word to focus on, no listing of goals, nothing like that.  I have never been one for setting resolutions but I have previously fallen prey to setting myself goals.  I am increasingly failing to achieve (m)any of the goals I set for myself.  Apart from participating in and completing a set of drawings for Inktober, I achieved not a single one of my goals for 2017.  Not. A. One.  In fact, I still have a goal for 2016 that I did not complete in either that year or last year.  So my sole goal for this year is to not set myself up for failure.

Therefore, my turn of the year art journal page is neither about reflecting on the year past or looking ahead to what 2018 might have in store for me.  Instead, I chose to focus on the theme of beginnings and endings, of cycles of time, of opposites, of cusps, alpha and omega.  This is what I came up with: two figures in a composition that has echoes of yin and yang without the required geometric precision.  Once the figures were dry, I decided to unify them in some way and plumped for writing.  I defaulted to my own handwriting, albeit a little higgledy-piggledy, for the phrase “Alpha & Omega” but I think my own handwriting works effectively enough in this piece.

52a - Alpha & Omega

52c - Alpha & Omega

52g - Alpha & Omega

52h - Alpha & Omega

Frosty Tree

Last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was “trees”.  The obvious subject would have been a Christmas tree but I really was not in the mood to draw or paint one.  I, therefore, chose to depict a frosty tree but in a slightly abstracted way.  I worked on this page gradually over the week before Christmas and got it finished thanks to having two days off work while my kids were still in school.  It is a bit sloppy and imperfect thanks to being worked on inconsistently and in a bit of a rush each time but it’s only an art journal page so that’s quite OK.

51 - Frosty Tree - Art Journal Page

Next year, I am not signed up for any courses and I have no art based commitments or obligations.  I am just going to do my own thing and will try to be disciplined about eking out some art time each week without having a prompt to do so.

Flu, Fever, and Festive Words

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may have noticed that it has been quiet for a while.  You may also have noted that – other than finishing off my extended Inktober challenge – I have not produced any art in weeks.  The reason for both is that I was laid low by some mysterious nasty viral thing.  It probably all started on Thanksgiving Day when I spent a large chunk of the day at Urgent Care.  That illness then segued into what I thought was a sinus infection.  I get sinus infections a couple of times every winter so I am used to just treating the symptoms and pushing through.  But then I started to feel really cruddy.  Seriously awful.  What I assumed was a series of separate cruddy illnesses was, it appeared, probably all part of a bigger illness.  A nurse friend diagnosed me with ‘flu from a distance but who really knows.  I just know it was completely debilitating and was the most ill I have felt since I had ‘flu when my 8 year old was a newborn.  During my entire working life, I have had seven sick days off work; three of them were this month.  I had fevers, chills, aches, zero appetite, and a pounding headache that stretched from the backs of my eyes all the way down my neck.  Thankfully my kids are all now old enough to largely fend for themselves and get themselves to and from school because I really was not functioning as a human being let alone as a parent.  Since recovering, I have been very tired – perhaps with some sort of post-viral fatigue – so I have had almost zero free time because staying on top of regular work, chores, family life, and festive planning is taking me longer than usual.  Still, worse things happen at sea and I am thankful to have my health generally.  That, however, is why I have been absent from blogging and why I have not spent any time at my art table.

Still, I was desperate to do something arty because I don’t feel fully like myself unless I am doing something creative.  I, therefore, picked up my Art Journal because it does not matter a jot if I complete the page or not or make a mess in my art journal.  I looked at last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt which was to  use a quotation.  I am not one of those people who has inspirational quotations to hand so I was pondering what to write while overhearing my kids, who were decorating a gingerbread house in an adjacent room.  They were listening to Christmas music so that gave me my inspiration.  I have been thinking about practicing some brush lettering for a while so I thought that writing down some festive words using a brush dipped in watercolour paint would be an easy, fuss-free way to fill a journal page.  My brush lettering still needs a great deal of work, especially since I have a tendency to be inconsistent and to lapse into just using my own handwriting, but it was fun to practice and it was therapeutic to sit down at my art table again and splash around in some paint.

50 - Festive Words

Fiji Mermaid

I have not worked in my art journal for weeks.  This time of year is just busy to a crazily hectic degree.  I decided to grab some little pockets of time over the past few days to produce an illustration in my art journal.  I decided to work on an Art Journal Adventure prompt that I had missed.  Last week’s prompt was “clown”.  That was never going to happen given that I am a massive coulrophobe so I pondered the broader prompt, which was circus.  My clown phobia is actually tied up in a milder phobia of circuses.  However, I have an interest in the history of sideshows and “freaks” so that was the avenue my creative imagination wandered down.  I have illustrated the Pig-Faced Lady of Manchester Square before in my art journal and this time I intended to draw another favourite “freak”, Lionel the Dog-Faced Boy.  However, I was so short on art time that I decided to produce a much simpler and more whimsical illustration.  I, therefore, chose to depict a version of the Fiji Mermaid.  This was a curiosity exhibited by PT Barnum as the mummified remains of a mermaid when it was actually the head and torso of a monkey stitched onto the tail of a fish.  This is just a simple ink drawing coloured with a very loose wash of watercolour.

46 - Fiji Mermaid - Art Journal Page

A Jar of Eyes

The Art Journal Adventure prompt for last week was “Eyes”.  I knew instantly what I wanted to do – it just took me almost an entire week to find the time to do it.  When I was a wee girl, I became fascinated with glass eyes.  I saw some in a junk shop I was in with my Gran and thought they looked amazing.  I was a massive fan of marbles so to me they were like really cool marbles.  I wanted them but my request was denied, whether for price or for taste reasons I do not know.  I would repeatedly tell my parents that I wanted to start collecting glass eyes.  It never happened.  This journal page, however, is inspired by that lifelong fascination with glass eyes and depicts an imagined collection of them.

44 - Jar of Eyeballs - Art Journal Page