There were two lessons on Life Book this week, both very different but both involving feathers. One was a success for me; the other less so.
The main lesson was taken by Rachael Rice. The object was to create a dimensional piece representing a dream catcher but – for a variety of diverse reasons, including not having all of the materials required – I chose to do something else. I seem to be making a habit of going my own way with LB lessons. I need to learn to steer a path between creating something that speaks to me, inspires me, meshes better with my style, and getting the most out of the lessons by following the instructions. Sometimes I find that path; sometimes I don’t. It was another valuable lesson in painting over collage. It ended up wrinkling a little but I actually quite liked that. I also enjoyed using the metallic paints, gold and bronze. I am not sure it shows up in the photo but they created a nice warm shimmer. My feathers look a bit more like leaves but I liked the technique involved in constructing them. Having no fabric to use in my collage, I ended up using white acrylic paint to produce what are fast becoming my signature dots. What I produced is not a disaster but it is just a bit meh. I will definitely use the techniques I learned in future projects, however.
In comparison, the bonus lesson completely inspired me. It was an Affirmation Feather tutorial taken by Tamara Laporte, the course organiser, and involved me using two new media I have never used before: Dylusions spray inks and Posca paint pens. I loved using both of them and will definitely use both again. My colour scheme for the piece was dictated by the few colours of ink sprays and aquarelle pens that I possess but I rather like the freshness of the lime and teal. The colours make me think of winter melting into spring. I am definitely looking forward to spring. I messed up a little when adding gesso because it smudged the ink but I managed to problem-solve it and recover. I love the whispy feather, really like how this piece ended up and really enjoyed the process of creating it. It definitely makes a difference to me when I engage with the lesson, inspires me more and gets me producing better results.
Tamara’s feather lesson was definitely my favourite so far.
This week’s Documented Life Project prompt was all about feathers. The prompt suggested that group members either draw, paint, doodle or sketch a feather or even add a real feather. I was actually contemplating adding a real feather if I could find one in the garden because we have beautiful blue jays, red cardinals, woodpeckers, tufted titmouses, various finches and even the odd hummingbird visiting our feeders. I thought if one of those shed a feather in my garden, I would incorporate it as I have not yet art journalled with something three-dimensional. However, it turns out that possession of any of those feathers would be illegal. In order to protect a whole long list of North American birds, the law states that you cannot possess any of their feathers no matter how innocently you came by them. So back to two-dimensions.
I full admit I spent very little time on this week’s prompt. I hurriedly drew a pencil outline of a feather, coloured it with watercolour and then sat and doodled the details while watching TV with my kids in the evening. It probably took me twenty minutes in total.
I have actually had a few people quiz me lately about how on earth I find the time to do anything arty. As much as I would love it if I owned Hermoine’s Time Turner, the truth is that I just make the time. I feel better about everything if I can eke out a little bit of time to do something for myself, something creative, something focused and, as such, I carve out the time. It helps, of course, that as of the beginning of this month I have all four of my kids in school on roughly the same schedule but I am still very busy all day long. What I do is take chunks of time to devote to my art. A mid-morning break with a cup of tea might have me sitting and sketching in pencil. Later in the afternoon, I might sit down with a glass of water and fill the pencil drawing with colour. Then, in the evening, instead of watching TV, I will spend some quiet time working in ink, adding detail to the earlier drawing or working on one of my more elaborate projects. I multi-task my way through my art projects and I carve out time that could be spent doing something else. The chores still get done and the kids still get cared for. I just don’t watch a lot of telly and I draw when I am on brief breaks between chores.
However, I am going to admit that recently I have taken on way too many creative projects: I have the DLP on the go for the weekly art journal prompt to keep me practising with mixed media; I have joined in with an art swap organised in another mixed media group I belong to; I have my 40 Drawings in 40 Days challenge on the go; and meanwhile I am still sketching out ideas for lino block prints and have an ever-lengthening list of large ink drawings I want to find time to embark upon. The casualty this week was the DLP feather page. As much as it might have been fun to do something much more elaborate and, frankly, something much more mixed media, this simple feather drawing is my offering this week.