Post-It Art

Along with the vast majority of people on the planet, I have found myself overwhelmed during the pandemic. Aside from the stress of trying to conduct life and parent and teach preschool in-person in this very peculiarly stressful context, I am one of the people whose schedule has become even more busy and intense. All of which preamble is to explain why my creative mojo disappeared.

Art has always been a stress-buster for me but, of course, it is one of life’s little ironies that it is normally when life is at its most demanding that I cannot find time for that therapeutic dose of art. It is also true that the longer time passes when I am not making time for art, the more my creative gears seize up and my creative mojo departs. Finding my way back to art and scraping the rust from those gears is always a slow process. I know from experience that I get creatively crippled if I try too much at once and it just leads to another setback. I, therefore, tend to start small and then build myself back up to a normal level of art time and degree of ambitiousness with a project.

My small start on this occasion involved using Post-It notes as my substrate. It started by accident. I drew doodles on them as “lunch notes” for my kids and stuck them to the fridge door so that they had a surprise. We are a family of movie fans and my two middle sons in particular are obsessive movie nerds. Consequently the drawings on the Post-It notes were inspired by movies we had watched. You might observe from the selection here that there is a particular penchant for the movies of Ingmar Bergman and for mid-century Soviet cinema.

This is Andrei Rublev from the film of the same name.

PostIt - Andrei Rublev

This one is a take on the Bluray cover of ‘The Ascent’, awkward foreshortening and all.

PostIt - Sotnikov

My 14 year old adores Liv Ullman so I had to draw her.

PostIt - Liv Ullman - Hour of the Wolf

This duo are Death and Antonius Block from ‘The Seventh Seal’.

PostIt - Death
PostIt - Antonius Block

Finally this is Flyora from ‘Come and See’. That movie is absolutely one of the best I have ever seen but my goodness it is a hard watch.

PostIt - Flyora

I hope this selection illustrates the fact that this very simple activity actually succeeded in getting me back into regular drawing and started greasing those creative gears so that I could recover my atrophying art skills.

Rainbow Art Journal – Waterlogged

I have accidentally established a tradition in my Rainbow Art Journal whereby each colour section contains an illustration of some kind of sprite-like creature.  For the blue section, I was thinking of water.  I drew a figure who is drenched in water (or, as I would say in Scots, “drookit”), her body morphing into a puddle on the floor, her hair dripping across her face.

59 - Waterlogged

Rainbow Art Journal – Graphite Girls

Another completed page in the blue section of my Rainbow Art Journal.  This one was easy to finish up because I actually drew the original in March of 2020 – which feels like years ago now – in response to an Art Snacks challenge.  I had drawn it in the blue section of the art journal thinking the media I had received were, well, much more blue than they turned out to be.  They were far too green and it was annoying me that I had misjudged the colours and stuffed up the colour theme in the sketchbook.  I had, therefore, walked away from it for a while – which turned out to be a long while – to come up with a solution.  I was so annoyed with myself initially that I considered covering up the whole thing and starting over with essentially a new substrate but I loved that graphite watercolour and the way it had dried in puddles far too much to cover that up.  My solution in the end was a quick and easy one so I could call this page “done” and move on: I simply layered some blue ink washes over some of the most green areas of the illustration to knock them back.  It is definitely a blue-green piece but that’s acceptable to me.

58 - Graphite Girls - Final

Rainbow Art Journal – Capuchon

This is the other page in my Rainbow Art Journal that I completed over Winter break.  The page was covered in all sorts of collaged odds and ends.  Essentially any scrap of blue leftover from another project, any blue postage stamp, any interesting labels ended up adhered to this page.  One prominent label was from a wine bottle and the name of it – Capuchon – gave me the idea for the illustration.  I made the hat wonky because that asymmetry is something I enjoy and the side benefit of the floppy brim was that I only had to draw one eye.  No challenge of creating two matching eyes.

57 Capuchon

Rainbow Art Journal – Selfie in Blue Gouache

Over Winter break, I have picked up my Rainbow Art Journal again.  I am determined to get it finished this year.  It has been one of those projects I have dipped in and out of for far too long.  It’s time to wrap it up.

This page is my first attempt at properly using gouache.  I was gifted a set of gouache paints for my birthday in November and I finally found time to start experimenting with them.  I am a natural born pessimist and not given to self-confidence but I daftly thought I would take to gouache.  I assumed it would be close enough to watercolour that I would have a sense for how to work it and apply it.  Spoiler alert: I was wrong.  The gouache does not react to water in the same way that watercolour paint does.  Being thicker, it was harder for me to dilute it in a way that was pleasing.  I got lots of ugly streaks.  It was also harder for me to work with the brush.  I am used to being able to gently encourage watercolour and ink into edges and shapes but I had to be more forceful with the gouache.

I kept my first experiment simple, a silly little doodle of a selfie, because my focus was on the application of the paint rather than the outcome of a finished illustration.  As first experiments go, it is not a disaster but nor is it as proficient as I hoped it would be.  That’s OK though.  That’s what my art journals are for.

56 Selfie in Blue Gouache

Midsommar

I have not been creating any art for a month now which, for me, is quite a long time.  Partly this was a consequence of needing a break after several months of near daily drawing and partly it was a symptom of just being burned out from everyday life in 2020.  My creative mojo had temporarily departed.  Not wanting rust to settle into my artistic joints, I decided to try the December Art Snacks challenge as a way to grease the machine.

In order to avoid overwhelm, I opted to work on one of those small, narrow samples of paper I have that I have been turning into bookmarks.  When I looked through the media contained in my Art Snacks box and thought about the colours, I immediately thought of summer flowers.  Summer flowers made me think of the May Queen from the horror movie ‘Midsommar’ and so that became the basis for my illustration.  I did cheat a wee bit in that I used a micron pen for the outlines of the face and the very loose flower shapes.

Art Snacks - Dec 2020 - Midsomar

Art Snacks - Dec 2020 - Midsomar May Queen

Now that I have broken my creative drought with this small illustration, I hope to get back to at least pootling around in my art journals over winter break.

1980s Girl

I desperately needed some art time but I was completely lacking in motivation and inspiration.  I did, however, have my November Art Snacks box sitting untouched on my art table so I decided to tackle this month’s challenge as a way to jump start some creative time.

I did cheat a bit on the challenge because I used a black ink pen that did not come with the box.  The bright pink of the marker, the citrus green of one of the pencils, and the neon yellow of the brush pen suggested a 1980s pop vibe so I sketched out a girl wearing 1980s fashions – based simply on my recollection rather than any references so probably not super accurate.

It’s certainly far from my best work but it felt therapeutic to create something in my art journal and, as I have written many times before, often the journey is more important than the destination.

Art Snacks - November 2020

Sunshine and Lavender

Between completing my Star Wars illustration challenge and participating in Drawlloween, it took until mid-November for me to find the time and motivation to experiment with the supplies in my October Art Snacks box.  Even when I did break them out, I kept things very small and manageable.  This illustration is the scale of a bookmark.  Indeed, I have a number of these skinny drawings now and I think I am going to laminate them so they can all become bookmarks.

I think this drawing ended up with a bit of a 1910s vibe to it.  The combination of the lavender paint pen, which I watered down as well as using straight out of the barrel, and the bright sunshine yellow of the ink brush is quite a pleasing colour combination I think.

Art Snacks - October 2020 - 2

Rainbow Art Journal – Windy Day

I have been neglecting my art journals these past several months because all of my art time has been focused on my Star Wars character challenge.  I have especially been neglecting my Rainbow Art Journal, a project I really should have completed by now whereas in actuality I don’t think I am even half way through.  This month’s Art Snacks box, however, contained a colour palette that was perfect for transitioning out of the green section of that journal and into the blue.  On the theme of transitions, this weekend was really the first feeling of Autumn nipping at the heels of Summer.  After a hot and humid Summer, we have had some misty, chilly mornings and I actually donned an extra layer of clothing.  Maybe that was what inspired me to sketch out a figure being blown in the wind.

55 Windy Day

Alfred Hitchcock

I had a bit of a cruddy day yesterday.  We’ve had some flooding to deal with (a lot) lately and the day started with lashing rain yet again, I consequently changed my plan for the day which is something I always find unsettling and disappointing, and then I spent hours problem solving another unexpected problem that cropped up.  It was all small beer in the greater scheme of things and certainly all piffling in the context of a global pandemic.  On the other hand, living in the midst of a pandemic is also mentally and emotionally fatiguing so maybe that is why smaller problems are getting to me more.

The point of this preamble is that two things that do the best job at calming me down when I am a powder keg of stress and anxiety: art and horror movies.  So I settled down with a cup of tea in front of ‘Shadow of a Doubt’, one of my favourite Hitchcock movies (and not strictly a horror), and decided to draw Alfred Hitchcock using the supplies from this month’s Art Snacks box.  I thought the combination of black ink, the sepia ink pencil, and the crimson paint suited the subject.

Alfred Hitchcock - Art Snacks Aug 2020