This is the final page in the yellow section of my Rainbow Art Journal. I reflected on what things I associate with yellow, the things my mind conjures up when I think of that colour, and one of the things I kept coming back to was warmth and of feeling cozy. This illustration seems appropriate for the transition from Autumn into Winter when my thoughts turn to hibernation and my habits become more hermit-like. For me, the apex of feeling cozy is about being indoors, all tucked up in a sweater or a blanket, and drinking a steaming hot mug of tea. That gave me both the idea for the illustration and the colour palette – yellow for warmth and light brown for milky tea. I often use neutrals with a brighter colour but the neutrals I use tend to be black, white, or grey, so this was a useful experiment in using brown in that capacity. I think that, in this particular instance, the yellow might be too bold and the brown too pale for the palette to cohere but I will continue to experiment with using brown as a neutral.
Having decided to pick out two lessons to “catch up” on missed art lessons, the second one I picked was another Life Book lesson. I wanted to tackle this one as the layering and creation of texture would present me with challenge and, therefore, learning opportunities but the inclusion of figures meant it was a subject (unlike florals) that automatically appealed to me.
The lesson was by Gillian Lee Smith and I really enjoyed her approach to building up layers and balancing out dark and light elements throughout that process. Once I got the background to a level of grunginess I was happy with – and I used shades of brown for a sort of vintage, sepia feel – it was time to work on the figures. I did not have the materials required for the method Smith demonstrated so I had to improvise. I also decided not to incorporate more than one figure and just focus on one face. I think it was the whole sepia tone thing as it made me think of a carte de visite photographic portrait. I really enjoyed the process of pulling the figure out from the background through use of light and shadow, white paint and black ink. I am not overly keen on the outcome – she looks a bit spectral to me, like something you might find hanging on the wall of a haunted house – but I really did like the process and felt I learned quite a bit from it. Something to return to in future and try again.