This Art Journal illustration is my response to this month’s Art Snacks challenge. The idea is to create something using only the supplies in that month’s box. Among the goodies, I received a paint pen in a strong red colour and a pencil in what was described as “light cobalt” but which I think of as an ice blue. Trying to make something coherent out of a palette so tonally at odds was, therefore, the real challenge. I used the paint pen at full strength and diluted with water. It is honestly probably a bit glossy for my taste. I continue with my lifelong inability to use coloured pencils in a way that is aesthetically pleasing. There is no discernible difference between the way I colour in and the way my 9 year old colours in. I think, however, that I have managed to create an illustration that makes those two very different colours work well together.
I had this idea that I should create an illustration of a sun goddess in the yellow section of my art journal. Once I got started, however, the figure evolved into a pseudo ancient Egyptian woman and the yellow sun ended up golden. I basically cannot be trusted around metallic paints as I almost always go overboard with them. There’s so much gold and bronze all over this piece that there is barely any yellow left beyond the background. Oops. I guess I was still in a Klimty mode after the piece I did a few weeks ago because I ended up creating all sorts of Klimt-esque patterns all over the figure to. If this is the type of thing that happens when I go with the flow without having a clear plan in mind, I definitely need to leave my control freakery be and let it come up with a vision to work towards.
This page is the transition between the orange section of my art journal (which is finally completed after a year – woohoo!) and the yellow section. Those colours combined with the idea of transitions made me think of the cycle of sunrise and sunset and gave me the inspiration for this illustration. It also left me with the earworm of “Sunrise, Sunset” from ‘Fiddler on the Roof’. Sidebar: when I lived in Edinburgh in the 1990s, I saw a production of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ at the Playhouse starring Topol. It remains one of the best productions I have ever seen, especially the set design. So, yes, while that song played on repeat in my head, I created this art journal page. I plagiarized my own artwork for the concept and composition as this is a version of my “Alpha & Omega” page from last January.
This is the last illustration in the orange section of my Rainbow Art Journal. Phew. Orange is not my favourite colour so it has been a bit of a slog to get through this section, which also coincided with a lean period when it came to free time. Looking back through my blog posts, I learned that it was almost exactly a year ago that I created the first illustration in the orange section. Yikes. That isn’t very speedy progress, is it? Let’s hope it doesn’t take me a year to complete the next section which is, of course, yellow.
On the subject of transitions, this illustration was inspired by the transition between seasons. As frequent readers will know, I am very much not fond of Winter. This Winter has not been too abysmal in that we have not had any big monster storms. We had a surprise snow storm in November that caused a lot of chaos but we really got off lightly in terms of quantity of snow. What we have experienced instead is a number of smaller winter weather events that caused disruption – days when my kids had snow days or late arrivals when I had to still go to work, for instance. The landscape looks beautiful when blanketed in sparkling white, but shoveling it is not so appealing. Shoveling it while your husband is working in Hawaii is even less appealing. Anyway, there are finally definite signs of Spring around and the temperatures are steadily increasing. This means we can venture out wearing slightly fewer layers and can feel comfortable in less bulky coats or in cosy sweaters.
I wanted the composition to be quite narrow in order to accentuate the idea of cosiness. Since this is a page in a journal with an illustration already on its reverse, I could not crop the paper down. I, therefore, used strips of washi tape to “frame” my drawing. The tape then inspired my colour palette.
The materials that arrived in my March Art Snacks box happened to be grey and orange so I thought I would use them to create another page in the orange section of my Rainbow Art Journal. I love working with grey because it goes with everything and I like the way it works with the orange in this illustration. I am still playing around with these female figures with the disconnected arms so I drew another one. Previous versions have had very angular torsos, I think because I was initially inspired by classical herma. This time, I decided to try the idea of the floating forearms along with a more twisted torso shape. I don’t know whether this whole detached limb thing is aesthetically pleasing or successful but I am enjoying being liberated from proportions so I will probably experiment with it for a wee while longer.
On Friday – thanks to another dose of snow because this Winter is apparently never going to end – the school district gifted my kids with a delayed arrival and an early dismissal. Yes, you read that correctly. Both ends of the day were curtailed meaning they were in school for a whopping two hours and twenty minutes. My four kids attend three different schools, each of which operates on a different schedule. This staggering meant that my youngest had not long since gone to school before my oldest arrived home again. Meanwhile, I still had to go to work on my regular schedule but with extra Dr Seuss party fun thrown into the mix which meant I was dressed as the Cat in the Hat all day. I got some very peculiar looks and a few chuckles from the other parents at pick up time at my youngest’s school. So, yes, Friday was a bit of a stressful day and that meant that, when I got home that afternoon, I decided to sit at my art table to decompress – and fortunately my late afternoon schedule was flexible since all my kids were home by that point.
Last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was “Flame”. Fire and ashes have been recurring themes in my art journal. This time I thought about a figure representing a matchstick. I used orange and yellow ink for the background, letting the ink do its thing in wet paper to create random forms and puddles of pigment and hopefully suggest flames. My Daniel Smith Lunar Black was the perfect paint for the torso of the figure since the way it granulates and separates was so reminiscent of a struck, burned out match.
I met up with my local art journal group a few weeks ago and decided to work in my Rainbow Art Journal. This page had been started before I went along, just a first quick, scrubby layer of acrylic paint. I could then build up the figure using more portable media. I was a bit distracted during the meeting and not really in a creative head space and consequently that lack of focus and mojo is evident on the page. I wanted to concentrate on drawing a more interesting pose but I think I ended up frittering over the angles of the figure’s limbs so much that I neglected the face. All the proportions of the face went wonky. Sigh. I was tempted to gesso and paint over this page but I decided to let it stay as it was – at least for now. Since I don’t use my art journal for personal reflection, I thought I should at least let it exist as a faithful record of my art experiments, the failures as well as the successes.