Rainbow Art Journal – Beetle

Peaks and valleys.  Rough and smooth.  Successes and failures.  Not every experiment in my art journal is going to be a success.  Indeed, most are probably lacking in some way but that’s acceptable to me because they are just experiments and my art journals are for relaxation and play.  Some pages, however, are just abject failures.  This is one such page.  I almost didn’t blog about it because it is so bad but every failure is a learning opportunity so here it is.

My Rainbow Art Journal is a work in progress, evolving all the time.  Some pages I complete from start to finish but others are more dynamic and shifting, emerging from leftover paint smooshed here, scraps of collage pasted there, until ultimately I decide what to do with that page.  This page had had lots of red, yellow, and orange paint scraped onto it.  I had also had to slap on some washi tape to reinforce the perforations.  It was a pretty ugly base layer but it was something to work on.  Incidentally, the background colour is much more orange than it appears in the photo.  I think the metallics throw the camera off.  Anyway, unfortunately I didn’t manage to lose the ugly.  I painted on a beetle in a pearlescent yellow.  The shimmer was nice but the whole thing looked washed out in comparison to the background colours.  I, therefore, smudged on some gold to make the beetle a bit warmer in hue and add yet more shimmer.  The idiom “You can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear” came to mind.  I added some ink and some paint pen for detailing.  Nope.  Still ugly.  That’s when I decided that I hated this page and that I was investing no more time in it.  Time to abandon it and call it quits.  On to new and hopefully better pages.

25 - Beetle

 

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Elemental Sprites

Last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was “4” with an additional challenge to use three or more media in the creation of the page.  The obvious subject was the Four Elements and initially I resisted because it was so glaringly obvious.  However, having just depicted a Flame Sprite in my Rainbow Art Journal, I liked the idea of creating an image of other elemental sprites so I decided to go with my first thought and see what developed on the page.  I used micron pens, watercolour, and Inktense pencils in creating the illustration so I fulfilled the side challenge too.  Time and other life limitations meant this page was a much quicker and simpler illustration than the Flame Sprite and the figures are simplified as a result.  However, there is a germ of something in each of them that I might return to and nurture into a more detailed illustration at a later date.

33 - Four Elements Sprites - Art Journal Page

Rainbow Art Journal – Flame Sprite

In addition to being a place for creative play and experimentation, I am aiming for my Rainbow Art Journal to be a record of what I can do with the various art materials and media I own.  This page, therefore, is a record of how three of the Jane Davenport Mermaid Markers interact with each other.  Consequently, I knew that I wanted to produce an illustration that was splotchy and liquidy and involved puddles and blossoms of pigment.  I decided that flame would be the perfect subject for such an experiment in the orange section of the journal so I chose to draw a flame sprite.  The page got very wrinkled from all the liquid media but I am happy with the final outcome.  I think she is a pleasing wee character and I got some lovely interactions between the different watercolour markers.

 

24 Flame Sprite

Rainbow Art Journal – Peaches and Cream

This page is another example of me cannibalising my own work and seeing if I can regurgitate it in a different way or using a different media.  The basis for this page is an ink and watercolour illustration I produced as part of a challenge to produce 100 faces.  I decided to attempt reproducing the face but using mixed media.  The orange background has photographed a little brighter than it actually is.  In reality it is closer to an apricot hue, hence me titling this page “peaches and cream” for the contrast between that orange shade and the white disc that frames the head.  I also kept the skin tones quite pale which means she could be said to have a peaches and cream complexion.

22  Peaches and Cream

Rainbow Art Journal – Fantastic Mr Fox

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.

21 Fantastic Mr Fox

Rainbow Art Journal – Orange Ink

I had not done much in my Rainbow Art Journal since March so I decided to use some free time to start and finish a page in one sitting.  I turned to a blank page in the orange sector, got out some orange drawing ink and some black India ink, a pot of water, and got to work.  My intention had been to keep things loose because that is something I find to be challenging.  I started out well and it is possible to detect the areas where I let the ink puddle and run and dribble.  I struggle with abstraction because I don’t know how to balance the elements and create focus so I decided I would carve a figure out of the ink.  Of course, inevitably, I ended up with a too tight illustration as a result.  Fail!  Ugh.  Maybe I should just give up trying to work in a loose, uninhibited, less intentional way.

20 Orange Ink

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