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

From the Ashes

One of the reasons I enjoy participating in Life Book is that it exposes me to different techniques, media, and approaches I may not have stumbled across or thought of one my own.  This lesson with Jamie Dougherty was one such example.  Had I not watched the video, I may never have thought to turn ash into paint.  You can see the ash layer was used in the torso of the figure I painted.  The whole idea of taking ash and turning it into something new suggested the flame colour palette for the rest of the piece.  I am actually really pleased with how this piece turned out.  I have managed to find a comfortable balance between my illustrative style and using mixed media techniques.  It just feels quite “me”.  I may not use ash in my art work again (aside from the messiness, it had my kids turning into pyromaniacs) but I am now inspired to think about other things I might be able to transform into paint.

28 From the Ashes

Ashes and Gold

For the first time in at least a year, I managed to not only watch a Life Book lesson on the day the email arrived but also managed to complete the lesson.  All while having four kids and two cats at home.  And having spent time with the kids and on chores.  Woah!  I feel a bit like Wonder Woman.

It did help that Mary Beth Shaw‘s lesson was delightfully straight forward and quick.  It was reminiscent of that therapy exercise where you write out a letter to someone or write out your thoughts and feelings freely on a piece of paper and then burn it.  I decided to get my kids involved and, as an aside, teach them about charcoal manufacturing since we were mark making with burnt paper and wood.  My art work this week, therefore, is really a collaborative effort between my kids and I since I allowed them to help me burn my paper and drag burning paper and wooden skewers across it.  I think I may have created some little pyromaniacs by accident.

Fire raising complete – and two large holes in my paper later – I decided to dribble some gold paint and spatter some black ink onto my paper.  I liked the idea of the gold echoing the bright flames of the fire and also contrasting its warm sheen against the dark smudginess of the burned areas.  The theme of this month’s Life Book lessons is Shadow and Light so my art work conformed to that theme rather nicely too.

Week 29 - Ashes and Gold