Rainbow Art Journal – Sphynx Cat in Stripes

I am a cat person. I am currently owned by two cats, Satchi and Peanut. My youngest son has an obsession with cats so we often scroll through cat content on my phone when we are bored in waiting rooms. Cats make me happy. A new addition to my cat joy, however, is sphynx cats and here’s the thing: I don’t even particularly like them. All of the cats who have ever owned me have just been moggies, not a breed among them, and sphynx cats are a very specific breed with a very peculiar aesthetic. My husband, however, finds them repellant. The thought of a bald cat curling up on his lap skeeves him out. This discovery has led me to seek out photos and videos of sphinx cats to randomly send to my husband just to aggravate him. (Please don’t worry about marital discord – bugging each other in insignificant ways is one of our family’s love languages.) Website algorithms being what they are, the net result of all of this is that I have been consuming an awful lot of sphynx cat content lately.

All of this preamble is the context of why I chose to draw a sphynx cat in the final page of the pink section of my Rainbow Art Journal. The drawing itself was simple and easy so the challenge for me was with the media I used to add colour. I am determined to get to grips with gouache but simultaneously keep procrastinating over using it. I was actually pretty pleased with what I accomplished with painting the head of the cat. I effectively treated the gouache as watercolour but it worked out. The background disc and the strips gave me more difficulty because I was using a thicker dilution of the gouache.

87 - Sphynx Cat in Stripes

I could not get this illustration to photograph accurately, partly because of the lighting conditions and partly because the hot pink seems to knock the other hues out of kilter. What reads as neutral-brown and mustard tones in the photograph are actually orange and yellow-orange in real life. Making adjustments was just making things worse so this is the best version of the image I could produce.

PS I smudged paint with my hand in the bottom right of the page and I tried to cover it up using white gouache. The patch job is much less obvious in real life but I still need a better solution to covering up smudges. I also need to stop being so messy in the first place.

Rainbow Art Journal – Watermelon

This was another page in which I had adhered some wine labels. I seem to always start collage layers in the centre of a page so luckily these two labels were also forming a column so you know what that means: yup, I turned it into one of my herma illustrations. The art work on the Cocomero label inspired the subject matter so I decided to draw a female figure who was the personification of a watermelon. Random fact about me: while I love other types of melon, I absolutely cannot abide watermelon. It just tastes like sugary water to me and I don’t like the fluffy texture on my teeth. I set myself the challenge of drawing a lopsided smile (I have a very wonky smile myself so that was the inspiration) and I think I pulled it off without it looking too much like a smirk.

86 - Watermelon

Rainbow Art Journal – Pink and Gold

This illustration was another experiment in combining different colours. I mixed a deep fuchsia shade by combining two pinks and then set that against a pale and sugary metallic pink and a yellow gold. I also used this illustration as a way to practice drawing hands. They are far too small in proportion to the face but I think I have made some progress with at least suggesting dimension to the hands. Ultimately, I like the fuchsia juxtaposed with the gold but I don’t like the sugary pink against the bolder pink colour as it looks insipid through comparison.

85 - Pink and Gold

Rainbow Art Journal – Indigo and Rose

One of the functions of my Rainbow Art Journal is a place in which I can play around with different colour combinations to determine which ones I really like and which I do not. This page, therefore, is an exploration in a blue and pink colour palette, specifically indigo and quinacridone rose. Since I was working with rose watercolour, I decided to draw a figure holding a rose. Drawing flowers is a real challenge for me but it turned out that it was the girl’s nose that gave me the most trouble. I fussed with it until I really could fuss no more as the pigments were staining ones and were creating mud through all of the painted and lifted layers. It was not quite right at the point of abandonment but it is also not a total wreck. I really do like this colour palette though.

84 - Indigo and Rose

Rainbow Art Journal – Rose and Yellow

This is a “vintage” page in my Rainbow Art Journal. It is an illustration I created with the contents of an Art Snacks box some time back in the Summer of 2019. And doesn’t 2019 feel like even longer ago than it actually is? It is actually interesting to revisit older drawings and to observe areas of improvement. I think I am better at drawing faces in full profile now than I was back when I drew this. I really like that Daniel Smith Quinacridone Rose and think I shall use that again soon.

83 - Rose and Yellow

Rainbow Art Journal – Candy Sprite

Since I instituted a tradition of creating a sprite figure in each colour section of my Rainbow Art Journal, I decided upon a candy sprite for the pink section. I was thinking of what I call candy floss and Americans know as cotton candy. I personally cannot abide the stuff – the texture on my teeth makes me spine crawl – but it was what popped into my head when I was thinking of pink things that could inspire the illustration. As you can see, open mouth smiles are still an area of challenge for me. This has turned out as a bit of a rictus grin. Teeth are tricky too. Something to keep working on.

82 - Candy Sprite

Rainbow Art Journal – Pink Herma

This page already had an element of collage pasted into it, specifically the wine label that forms the basis of the figure. I, therefore, decided to extend the collaged area into a taller column to become the basis of one of my “herma” type figures. I was very out of practice with layering media, particularly when it comes to constructing faces, so I am actually pretty pleased with how this face turned out. I was so indecisive about what to do with the background that I decided upon nothing at all, just leaving it as solid pink.

81 - Pink Herma

Rainbow Art Journal – Pink Explosion

I think you can probably tell that I love vintage photos and old movies from the way I “style” the figures I draw. It is not a conscious choice on my part but I think those influences come through nevertheless. I wanted to try and draw a figure with a bit of a twist in the pose. It took me a while to get that curve to the body right and then I could not get the arms quite right. My solution was to put big puffy sleeves on the arms and to tuck one arm behind the body. Now I am wondering, however, if the arm on the right looks like it is missing its lower portion. I thought it would be fun to “explode” the form to create shapes and make it a bit more visually interesting. I don’t often use the Daniel Smith Opera Pink, even though I love it, because it is such an attention-grabbing colour that it can be difficult to use it among other colours. Using it in an otherwise monochrome, greyscale illustration, therefore, works perfectly.

79 - Pink Explosion

Rainbow Art Journal – Pink and Yellow

This is another page that I actually completed a while ago as it was created with the contents of the May 2021 Art Snacks box. The pink and yellow are Royal Talens gouache, a medium I am still not that familiar or confident with. This was an experiment in using it in different dilutions. I am definitely more comfortable using it in a way that mimics watercolour but I enjoy the possibility of using it in thicker layers too. The colour palette was dictated by what happened to be in the box but I surprisingly rather like this combination. It’s very summery.

78 - Pink and Yellow

Rainbow Art Journal – Nebula

There are so many layers of watercolour on this page. I usually only work in two or three layers so this was a real exercise in patience for me as I waited for each saturated layer to (slowly) dry. The idea was to depict a figure floating inside a nebula. Is that even scientifically possible? No idea! I didn’t bother consulting my astronomy nerd husband because accuracy doesn’t bother me. The spacesuit would possibly set someone’s teeth on edge too as I cobbled it together from various references to spacesuits from different countries and different eras and then simplified the forms.

75 - Nebula