This is a quick illustration I created with the contents of this month’s Art Snacks box. I received a very chunky black alcohol marker which presented me with quite the challenge. I am definitely a fan of fine line pens and have accumulated quite a collection of them. I am not very adept at using anything with a broad tip – nor am I very capable with alcohol markers for that matter. My solution was to draw a chubby little character with the marker. I don’t know why I thought to give him branches or antlers sprouting from his head but that choice led me to leave negative forms on his belly in the shape of leaves. Now white gel pens are something I love. Every single one of my pencil cases contains at least one Uni-ball white gel pen. I perhaps went a little over the top with the white pen details but I do like the effect on the antlers in particular.
Roald Dahl’s ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ was one of the first chapter books I ever read to myself and I absolutely loved it. I would often return to it, as an old friend, when I was mooching around for something to read. I thought it would be apt, therefore, for Mr Fox to appear in the orange section of my Rainbow Art Journal. I started with a layer of “newsprint” deli paper, partly as a nod to Mr Fox’s textual origins but mostly to cover up some messy ink mess that had bled through from the other side of the page. The painting of Mr Fox took me no time at all, probably 20 minutes in total, broken down into painting as base layer and then another small dollop of time in which to add some shading and detail. Having been executed in a bit of a rush, he’s not my best effort but he’ll do.
This week’s Documented Life Project prompt encouraged group members to create a page that somehow depicted our older selves dispensing advice to our younger selves. I decided to put a slightly different spin on the prompt, just a slight tangent.
Firstly, as I recently discovered, I don’t really like to use my art journal for the more emotive stuff. It’s escapism and stress-busting for me to work in my art journal rather than it function as a route to introspection and reflection. Secondly, I don’t really chime with the idea of giving my younger self advice. Even if such a thing were possible, I wouldn’t do it. For a start, I don’t give unsolicited advice plus there is nothing I really regret that I would steer myself away from. Sure there are many things in my life I wish had worked out differently but for the most part those are things over which I had no control anyway so nothing I did or didn’t do would have made one iota of difference to the outcome. I also feel happy with where I am in life and I have watched enough sci-fi movies to have contemplated the idea that I am where I am because of all the things I have been through, good and bad, and any small change might have had a ripple effect to land me somewhere else in a different set of circumstances. So, in short, no advice is being dispensed to my younger self.
What I did decide to do was write some words of encouragement to my younger self and I plumped for the vague “Life is full of possibilities”. I drew a simple version of myself aged about 5 in the centre of my page and then surrounded it with triangular doodles, making the words emerge in the negative space. Simple. That was a lot of doodling though. My hand was a bit achy by the time I completed the page.
This week’s Documented Life Project prompt was to use paint and to document “How do I face my biggest challenge?”
It took me a long time to ponder the subject for my page. I have experienced a wide variety of challenges in my life, from the small to the large, the simple to the complex, the flash-in-the-pan to the long-lived. My mind was flibber-gibbeting all over the place. Some ideas I dismissed outright as they were too personal. Then I had a bit of an epiphany. I realised there was a common thread to how I overcame all the hurdles and challenges I have faced in life: I just dig deep, tell myself I will overcome as generations have done before me, as others have done in much more difficult contexts, give myself a bit of a shake and get on with it.
I cannot even recall the mental segues I took to get from that thought to the Willendorf Venus but I decided a version of her would be the central image of my journal page. I used acrylic paint and inktense pencils to create my art journal page. I then stamped the phrase “I am woman; hear me roar” across the top of the page. My sons think this journal page is hilarious.
The Documented Life Project prompt this week was to construct a character and the quotation was “If you’re going to be weird, be confident about it!” Perfect! I instantly had an idea for my art journal page.
One of my geeky interests is in the history of “freaks” and sideshows. I find the social history of how people were treated through time to be fascinating. I probably saw the Tod Browning film ‘Freaks’ at too impressionable an age. One of the historic freaks who first captured my imagination was the Pig-Faced Lady of Manchester Square. She was one of many pig-faced women who gained fame but was possibly the most celebrated – or at least she is the one who has found a place in my memory. Of course, the whole thing was a hoax. A bear was drugged and shaved and made to walk upright while wearing a costume. Completely random and astonishingly awful. However, as weird characters go the Pig-Faced Lady was my inspiration, my bizarre muse.
I did not have much free time this week so I kept my page simple. This is simply a watercolour sketch with the words stamped in archival ink. My kids are hugely amused by it and I am pretty pleased with how it turned out.