Rainbow Art Journal – Skeleton Leaves

I actually completed this page in my Rainbow Art Journal ages ago.  I started drafting this blog post, must have been interrupted, saved it to drafts, and then my brain did a combination of forgetting about it and misremembering by thinking I had actually published the post.  My mixed media art journals have been very neglected lately while I have been focused on my Star Wars illustration challenge so finding this blog post is a useful reminder to me to crack open the supplies and get experimenting again.

I wanted to experiment with green and pink but I honestly have no idea what was in my head when I sketched out the subject matter.  I guess I do have female figures with herma type torsos and skeletal elements in my “go to”  list of art motifs so it is not completely out of left field.  The exposed rib cage then made me think of the exposed veins of skeletal leaves and so I had my idea for the whole composition.  I took this photo when the light was dull and flat which is making the pink photograph as being a little too purple but in reality it is a sort of bubblegum pink.

51 - Skeleton Leaves

Woman in Cloak

This illustration is what I came up with using just the contents of my May Art Snacks box.  There were brush markers, a coloured pencil, an India ink marker, and a copic fineliner.  I appreciated that all of the items were portable art supplies (when combined with a water brush) because I was able to knock this drawing out while supervising my youngest doing his distance learning lessons for the day.  I have been doing the drawing part of my Star Wars illustrations while supervising the boys’ education each morning (and then painting them in the afternoons) so I took a break and knocked this out instead.  Messing about with the shapes in the cloak was a welcome distraction from 5th Grade algebra.

Art Snack - May 2020 - 2

Rainbow Art Journal – Thrive & Survive

This page was another one where I had lobbed down scrapings of leftover paint and scraps of collage material.  As with the majority of the pages in the green section of my Rainbow Art Journal, my brain wandered to plants.  Because I was thinking about all of the weird bits of rejected odds and sods that made up the substrate of the page, I thought about weeds and that idea that weeds are just plants growing where someone doesn’t want them.  The plant doesn’t know it’s a weed; the plant thinks it is a flower with as much merit as the one a human is caring for in a garden.  So then I thought about the fortitude of weeds and their feisty attitude.  I pretty much started identifying with weeds.  So that was the theme and idea for this journal page.

I used a negative space painting approach to pick out the shape of a weed growing across the page.  I then stamped “survive” and “thrive” on to some green paint chip cards I had.  Unfortunately, I was distracted when gluing them onto the page and transposed the words.  Oops.  It didn’t bother me enough to either remove them or cover them up, however.  Anyway, survival and being determined to thrive no matter what seem like good messages for these pandemic times we find ourselves in.

54 Thrive & Survive

 

Rainbow Art Journal – Sea Glass

This page was one of those messy pages crammed full of pieces of collage, odds and ends of washi tape, and surplus gesso and paint.  It was, therefore, very textured and incredibly visually busy.  It has been in my Rainbow Art Journal for months waiting for me to finish it.  I focused on on the wine label that reads “seaglass” and used that as my colour palette inspiration.  I used to collect sea glass as a child.  I had different jars for the different colours.  I found some really cool pieces.  I have a vase filled with sea glass from Scotland in my home now.  I collected it when I went back home to Fife in 2015 so it’s a visual reminder to my childhood.

I struggled to pull this page together partly because the lumpy, scratchy texture made it hard to work with and partly because I was so sick of looking at this unfinished page for so long.  The page was just annoying me and I wanted to get it finished so that I could move on and forget about it.

53 - Seaglass

PS There is a weird colour caste in my photo of this piece, a sort of pinkish glow.  When I try to adjust it, it just throws the greens and aquas out too much.  The background colour is white gesso so that should give you some indication of the actual colours.

Ribbons

Today marks 21 days since our lockdown started.  Life has been transformed pretty rapidly.  As a preschool teacher, I am now unemployed for the foreseeable future; we’ve had to create a home office space in our bedroom for my husband – who is thankfully still able to work; and the four boys are now having to adjust to distance learning.  Overseeing four kids who are using technology to learn is a massive challenge for me.  While the older three boys have lots of experience with using chromebooks for learning, my youngest son (aged 10) has not had that degree of exposure.  It is, therefore, a steep learning curve for both him and for me.  I am not finding any of the processes to be intuitive and it seems every teacher and every subject area is intent on using a different mode.  Thank goodness my oldest son is a bit of a computer whizz and can step in to problem solve and guide his little brother through all the technological hurdles.  I did not anticipate transitioning to distance learning being a smooth process but it is proving to be a more stressful experience than I predicted.

After a particularly snaggy and challenging morning, therefore, I was feeling particularly frazzled.  It was critical that I find a way to decompress before I combusted.  Last month, I received a bonus box from Art Snacks containing Tombow products.  I had not done anything with it because I am not remotely skilled at using alcohol markers.  However, I decided that I would delve into the box and try to produce an illustration using just its contents.  An art challenge is, after all, much more preferable to me than a technological one.  This is the illustration I produced.  I am happy to report that I did not combust today.  Not yet anyway.

Ribbons - Art Snacks Tombow Box

Rainbow Art Journal – Valley Cottage

I had this page that was covered in smears and spatters of leftover green paint, washi tape, and offcuts of origami paper.  I had placed the collage elements with the intention of them eventually becoming some sort of landscape.  Once I began to draw lines around the patches, the drawing started to take form and I had the idea of where the cottage should be placed within the scene.  The finished piece is reminiscent of a journal page I created in 2017 and a page from the orange section of this rainbow art journal.  I guess this is my style and approach to landscapes.

49 - Valley Cottage

Coral Orbs

This is the art journal page I created with this month’s Art Snacks supplies.  The figure is painted using two Faber-Castell markers that can be activated with water to imitate watercolour.  What I really got addicted to, however, was a Kuretake pen that makes circles.  I had thought I would just add a few dots in the background but clearly I got carried away.  You can see how  much of a battering I put my art journal through by how crinkled and buckled this page is.  It will flatten out over time because of the weight in the rest of the journal.  It’s one of the reasons why I find photographing my doodlings to be a challenge.

Art Snacks - Feb 2020

Rainbow Art Journal – Heart of the Forest

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.

47 - Heart of the Forest

Woman in Red

I had not worked in my random art journal for a while so a good way to grease the cogs and grind the rust off my creative gears was to complete this month’s Art Snacks challenge and complete a page using just the supplies in this month’s box.  I used the pencil to draw the face – and it was refreshing to use a pencil as more than just a medium for rough sketching – and then set about using the other items to create the rest of the illustration.  I had no idea how either of these media worked and had no vision of how I wanted the finished piece to look and, well, it probably shows.  I truly did just mess around and created puddles of pigment and scraped things around, let things puddle, and encouraged dribble.  My conclusion was that I did not particularly like either of the materials that are new to me and that I had very little skill with either of them.  I don’t like the finished illustration.  However, I am happy to have experimented and sometimes learning what doesn’t work for you is of as much value as learning what does.

Woman in Red - Art Snacks - Jan 2020

Rainbow Art Journal – Skeleton Deer

If my calculations are correct, then this is the 50th illustration in my Rainbow Art Journal.  If my assessment is correct, it is going to take me several years to actually complete every single page in this particular art journal and complete this rainbow themed project.  I need to pick up the pace.  This page was super quick and easy to work on because all of that background layering of green paint had accumulated as side projects over time.  When I have some leftover paint (or scraps of paper or whatever) I have just been lobbing them on a page in this art journal and that way some pages just fill up over time.  Therefore, when I was in a coffee shop with my local art journaling group, this page was ready and waiting for me to add to it.  Maybe it’s the time of year – Rudolph and all that – but I almost immediately thought about drawing a deer skeleton.  Part of my inspiration certainly came from the Ouroboros I drew a couple of years ago.  That illustration was more effective, perhaps because it could pass as more anatomically correct.  This deer skeleton is, however, weirdly proportioned and overall looks pretty dorky and derpy.  But that’s OK.  Whimsically weird has its charms too.

50 - Skeleton Deer