I desperately needed some art time but I was completely lacking in motivation and inspiration. I did, however, have my November Art Snacks box sitting untouched on my art table so I decided to tackle this month’s challenge as a way to jump start some creative time.
I did cheat a bit on the challenge because I used a black ink pen that did not come with the box. The bright pink of the marker, the citrus green of one of the pencils, and the neon yellow of the brush pen suggested a 1980s pop vibe so I sketched out a girl wearing 1980s fashions – based simply on my recollection rather than any references so probably not super accurate.
It’s certainly far from my best work but it felt therapeutic to create something in my art journal and, as I have written many times before, often the journey is more important than the destination.
Between completing my Star Wars illustration challenge and participating in Drawlloween, it took until mid-November for me to find the time and motivation to experiment with the supplies in my October Art Snacks box. Even when I did break them out, I kept things very small and manageable. This illustration is the scale of a bookmark. Indeed, I have a number of these skinny drawings now and I think I am going to laminate them so they can all become bookmarks.
I think this drawing ended up with a bit of a 1910s vibe to it. The combination of the lavender paint pen, which I watered down as well as using straight out of the barrel, and the bright sunshine yellow of the ink brush is quite a pleasing colour combination I think.
I have been neglecting my art journals these past several months because all of my art time has been focused on my Star Wars character challenge. I have especially been neglecting my Rainbow Art Journal, a project I really should have completed by now whereas in actuality I don’t think I am even half way through. This month’s Art Snacks box, however, contained a colour palette that was perfect for transitioning out of the green section of that journal and into the blue. On the theme of transitions, this weekend was really the first feeling of Autumn nipping at the heels of Summer. After a hot and humid Summer, we have had some misty, chilly mornings and I actually donned an extra layer of clothing. Maybe that was what inspired me to sketch out a figure being blown in the wind.
I had a bit of a cruddy day yesterday. We’ve had some flooding to deal with (a lot) lately and the day started with lashing rain yet again, I consequently changed my plan for the day which is something I always find unsettling and disappointing, and then I spent hours problem solving another unexpected problem that cropped up. It was all small beer in the greater scheme of things and certainly all piffling in the context of a global pandemic. On the other hand, living in the midst of a pandemic is also mentally and emotionally fatiguing so maybe that is why smaller problems are getting to me more.
The point of this preamble is that two things that do the best job at calming me down when I am a powder keg of stress and anxiety: art and horror movies. So I settled down with a cup of tea in front of ‘Shadow of a Doubt’, one of my favourite Hitchcock movies (and not strictly a horror), and decided to draw Alfred Hitchcock using the supplies from this month’s Art Snacks box. I thought the combination of black ink, the sepia ink pencil, and the crimson paint suited the subject.
All of my art time lately has been funneled towards my Star Wars challenge. It is always good to have a break from things, however, so I opened up my art journal and decided to create something using the supplies from my July Art Snacks box. I received two Kurteake watercolour pans in a dark grey with hints of indigo and a sort of citrus chartreuse and a Daniel Smith watercolour stick in vermilion so I basically had a slight twist on the three primary colours. The lime-yellow-chartreuse immediately made me think of a raincoat I had when I was very wee and then I thought about how the grey-blue was reminiscent of heavy rain clouds on a stormy day. That, therefore, gave me the theme for my illustration.
Incidentally, I painted this while I was on a lengthy phone call – having done the drawing earlier – so how is that for multitasking in order to ensure I still got my art time?
I actually completed this page in my Rainbow Art Journal ages ago. I started drafting this blog post, must have been interrupted, saved it to drafts, and then my brain did a combination of forgetting about it and misremembering by thinking I had actually published the post. My mixed media art journals have been very neglected lately while I have been focused on my Star Wars illustration challenge so finding this blog post is a useful reminder to me to crack open the supplies and get experimenting again.
I wanted to experiment with green and pink but I honestly have no idea what was in my head when I sketched out the subject matter. I guess I do have female figures with herma type torsos and skeletal elements in my “go to” list of art motifs so it is not completely out of left field. The exposed rib cage then made me think of the exposed veins of skeletal leaves and so I had my idea for the whole composition. I took this photo when the light was dull and flat which is making the pink photograph as being a little too purple but in reality it is a sort of bubblegum pink.
This illustration is what I came up with using just the contents of my May Art Snacks box. There were brush markers, a coloured pencil, an India ink marker, and a copic fineliner. I appreciated that all of the items were portable art supplies (when combined with a water brush) because I was able to knock this drawing out while supervising my youngest doing his distance learning lessons for the day. I have been doing the drawing part of my Star Wars illustrations while supervising the boys’ education each morning (and then painting them in the afternoons) so I took a break and knocked this out instead. Messing about with the shapes in the cloak was a welcome distraction from 5th Grade algebra.
These illustrations were created with the contents of my April Art Snacks box. It has been a while since I completed a proper illustration of my zombie critters, as opposed to a doodle. I have drawn zombie bunnies in any number of compositions and colours but I think this is the first time I have drawn a tower or stack of zombie cats. I used the warm colours (two watercolour pencils and a water based marker) for the zombie cats and coloured the zombie bunnies in shades of blue using different dilutions of ink from the blue marker. The darkest blue right at the top of the illustration is the colour straight from the nib. These were fun to draw. I hope they are also fun to look at.
This page was another one where I had lobbed down scrapings of leftover paint and scraps of collage material. As with the majority of the pages in the green section of my Rainbow Art Journal, my brain wandered to plants. Because I was thinking about all of the weird bits of rejected odds and sods that made up the substrate of the page, I thought about weeds and that idea that weeds are just plants growing where someone doesn’t want them. The plant doesn’t know it’s a weed; the plant thinks it is a flower with as much merit as the one a human is caring for in a garden. So then I thought about the fortitude of weeds and their feisty attitude. I pretty much started identifying with weeds. So that was the theme and idea for this journal page.
I used a negative space painting approach to pick out the shape of a weed growing across the page. I then stamped “survive” and “thrive” on to some green paint chip cards I had. Unfortunately, I was distracted when gluing them onto the page and transposed the words. Oops. It didn’t bother me enough to either remove them or cover them up, however. Anyway, survival and being determined to thrive no matter what seem like good messages for these pandemic times we find ourselves in.
This page was one of those messy pages crammed full of pieces of collage, odds and ends of washi tape, and surplus gesso and paint. It was, therefore, very textured and incredibly visually busy. It has been in my Rainbow Art Journal for months waiting for me to finish it. I focused on on the wine label that reads “seaglass” and used that as my colour palette inspiration. I used to collect sea glass as a child. I had different jars for the different colours. I found some really cool pieces. I have a vase filled with sea glass from Scotland in my home now. I collected it when I went back home to Fife in 2015 so it’s a visual reminder to my childhood.
I struggled to pull this page together partly because the lumpy, scratchy texture made it hard to work with and partly because I was so sick of looking at this unfinished page for so long. The page was just annoying me and I wanted to get it finished so that I could move on and forget about it.
PS There is a weird colour caste in my photo of this piece, a sort of pinkish glow. When I try to adjust it, it just throws the greens and aquas out too much. The background colour is white gesso so that should give you some indication of the actual colours.