Nyx

I have never participated in official Art Therapy but I would definitely vouch for art being therapeutic.  I personally use it for stress busting and to invest in myself by topping up my reserves by taking some time out of life’s flurry of activity and just doing something focused and creative.  Therefore, while dealing with the aftermath of our basement flood, feeling completely frazzled, and being physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted, I knew that the best way in which I could recharge my batteries was to take some time out for art.  It was just the tool for decompression that I needed.

I used a recent Art Journal Adventure prompt – Celestial – and cracked open my art journal and opened my box of watercolours and got stuck in.  As those who follow my blog will know, I am interested in Greek Mythology so I decided to depict Nyx, the goddess of Night.  In Classical art, she was depicted as having wings or riding in a chariot but I kept the shapes and forms simple and made her body a flowing shape, a sort of cloak of spreading darkness.  By keeping the composition simple and letting wet paint run and flow, other than drying time, this whole illustration was done and dusted in no more than 20 minutes.  It was, therefore, really took no time at all out of my hectic day but left me feeling recharged and ready to battle on.

22 - Nyx - Goddess of Night - Art Journal Page

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Hot Pink and Sunshine

My June Art Snacks box presented me with a challenging colour palette.  Along with the neutral mechanical pencil and the fine tip black gel pen, I had two water based pens in bright yellow and a grey-mauve, and a juicy fine tip brush pen in hot pink.  I could see how I could just about turn the grey-mauve into a neutral and make it work with either the yellow or the pink but making all three work in some coherent way definitely presented me with a challenge.  I also found that grey-mauve watercolour pen tricky to work with.  Even though the yellow was the exact same brand, its pigment behaved much differently.  That grey-mauve, however, didn’t blend well and I was left with a hard line wherever I had drawn with it.  I found the saturation of its pigment very variable too.  I do like that colour, however, so I will persevere and continue to experiment with it.  There must be a way to get it to cooperate and behave in the same way the yellow did.  I very much like the hot pink brush pen, however.  It was super juicy and activated really well when I added water and a little goes a long way.  I probably should have had the pink dominate the illustration since it was easier to work with.  I had not intended to give the female figure a turban.  I had originally sketched in that shape to be hair but I decided I needed a bit more yellow in the illustration to make the colours balance out a bit more so a turban it became.  There is something about the combination of colours and the style of the figure that makes me think of the 1980s and the New Romantic pop bands of my youth.

Art Snacks - June 2019 2

Rainbow Art Journal – Sunshine

As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, one of the ways in which I use  my Rainbow Art Journal is as a record of art supplies I own and the way they behave on the paper I use for art journaling (Canson Mixed Media).  This illustration, therefore, was created using the two shades of yellow in my set of Dr Ph Martin Hydrus watercolours – hansa yellow and gamboge.  My intention was to be much looser in my creation of a figure on the page but I guess I couldn’t suppress my control freakery enough so the illustration ended up pretty tight regardless.  She is one of those sprite type characters I have drawn before and I decided she could represent sunshine.  I added a circle in the background using a yellow watercolour pencil and then I filled the rest of the background with spatter.  It’s a very imperfect drawing but I had fun creating her and process is much more important to me than outcome when art journaling.

38 - Sunshine

Rainbow Art Journal – Bumble Bee Woman

I actually painted this illustration over a year ago as it was produced in response to an Art Snacks challenge.  It was drawn in the yellow section of my Rainbow Art Journal – hence its relevance now.  At the time I created it, I thought I might eventually circle back to it and add something to it but ultimately I have left it just as is, as a simple little ink and watercolour illustration.  Sometimes, after all, less is more.

36 - Bumble Bee Woman

Cherry and Pistachio

Using all of the media in my Art Snacks box was very much a challenge this month.  There were two gelatos in colours labelled cherry and pistachio.  I don’t have much success with red and green colour palettes and I have even less success with using gelatos.  I know people who absolutely love gelatos and achieve a great deal of success with them.  I meanwhile only seem able to achieve scribbly, scratchy, puddly messes.  The box also contained an acrylic spray and sprays are again something I have no aptitude with.  I tend to make an absolute mess with those.  I was feeling very daunted about embarking on an illustration using these materials.

I received a peach hued marker in the box so I knew I would draw a human figure.  I was using the three narrow paper samples provided so that format suggested the composition to me.  I was actually surprised with how successfully I managed to create flesh tones using the beige base of the paper and the peach marker as I usually make a streaky mess with markers.  And then it all went wrong.

I smooshed some gelato onto the paper and activated it water and moved the pigment around.  However, no matter what I did, my initial scribbles remained visible and the pigment settled unevenly so it all ended up looking rather patchy.  Evidently I need much more practice with using gelatos.  And then I added the spray and made even more mess and really stuffed up the illustration.  I drew on some branches dipped in the ink actually using the spray pump tube as my mark-making tool.  When I tried to use it as a spray, however, I didn’t achieve fine mist but instead got large puddles and ugly drips.  Such a mess.  Time to step away and call this piece done.  You can’t win them all.

Art Snacks - May 2019 - 1

 

Rainbow Art Journal – Yellow Bubbles

This was a page that I had gradually filled with scraps of yellow hued collage – including scraps of origami paper, images from cookery magazines, photographs from National Geographic.  I sketched in a figure over the top of the collage and then painted the negative spaces in a lemon acrylic so that the background became covered in bubble shapes that revealed the collage layer beneath.  When it comes to the figure, I was plagiarizing myself again since I copied her from an ink and watercolour drawing from over two years ago.  I prefer that original version but it is fun to translate an illustration into a different medium and see what differences emerge.

35 - Yellow Bubbles

Rainbow Art Journal – Easy Peasy

Some pages in my Rainbow Art Journal are blank slates; others are covered with bits of collage or scrapings of paint or handwritten notes or even the odd doodle.  When I have leftover paint, I scrape or smear it onto a page in the appropriate colour sector of my journal and, when I have a collage scrap, I similarly paste it in.  This was one such page that had such a messy start of leftovers.  There was some textured gesso on the page and also a prominent wine label.  I decided to turn that wine label into the basis of clothing for a female figure.  The rest of the clothing element is made of washi tape.  Initially, that female figure was youthful but I decided to challenge myself to draw an older face so I did a sort of “age progression” on the face until it looked right to me.  I decided to lean into the texture of the gesso by adding more texture on the page, scraping thick paint onto the page, scraping into that paint as it was starting to dry.

34 - Easy Peasy - Art Journal Page