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.
Gaia – Mixed Media Mythology
I won my place on the Mixed Media Mythology course through Julia Osterc and her Loving Road blog. It was her lesson on Gaia that I tackled next. In Greek Mythology, Gaia was one of the first gods, was the creator of Earth, and Mother of the gods and Titans among others.
Osterc’s approach to depicting Gaia was very intuitive, fluid, and organic. That is not an approach that ever particularly rewards me. I, therefore, took a different approach to constructing the painting. I did, however, borrow three particular ideas from Osterc’s exemplar: the idea of Gaia as maternal or even grandmotherly, incorporating maps, and using collage elements as finishing details.
I have not drawn an elderly person for over two years so I really liked the idea of tackling the face of an older woman. That then became the focus of my painting, getting that right. I clearly need some practice in this area but overall I am satisfied with what emerged. I think she looks like a kindly granny. I used a map from an old atlas as the clothing for Gaia, and I used an image of the globe from a postage stamp to become a pendant, forging that connection between her and Earth. I used shades of green and blue for the same reason.
I believe I have mentioned before that my ability to draw convincing, expressive faces has deteriorated since I emigrated no doubt as a result of no longer attending a life drawing class. I confess that in my decade of life drawing it was rare for me to produce a portrait that looked like the sitter but I was able to draw an accurate face with character and expression. Over the past eighteen months, my skills have atrophied to the point of being rusted. I am trying, therefore, to practice faces whenever possible to try and grease up my artistic joints and get my skills limber again.
Therefore, when this week’s Documented Life Project prompt was revealed, I instantly thought to draw faces as another opportunity to practice. The suggestion was to doodle and mark make as a layering element and the prompt was “surviving the elements”. This past month has been excruciatingly cold and icy and a dumping of heavy snow last week led to two consecutive snow days for my boys so I could easily have taken the weather route with the prompt. However, with my mind on faces, I decided to personify the four elements: earth, air, water and fire.
The four faces I drew in response to the art journal prompt still lack personality but I am getting better at proportions and eyes with each face I draw. I bought some Prismacolor pencils on sale earlier in the year so I decided to crack the tin open and have a whirl at using them. I don’t normally work with coloured pencils at all so that was a minor challenge. I then doodled and marked in coloured gel pen to fulfil the other prompt for this week. Not a great success but not a disaster either.