This illustration is another experiment in a yellow and green colour palette but this time using just ink and watercolour instead of mixed media. That combination of colours always makes me think of ‘Fern Hill’ by Dylan Thomas. It was one of my favourite poems to teach and I have fond memories of doing so. The colours of green and gold are used throughout the poem to signify different things about life’s changes and stages. That got me thinking about the transitional phase between childhood and adulthood so I chose to draw a tween girl. Lately I have been drawing ears too small but I think perhaps I over-corrected myself this time and gave this girl ears that are a wee bit too large – what were called “jug lugs” when I was wee. Maybe the proportions just add to the sense of tweenage awkwardness. Yes, let’s go with that.
I believe that turquoise is a colour that works with every other colour. I am, therefore, making a record of various turquoise colour palette combinations in my Rainbow Art Journal. This page, therefore, is a record of yellow and turquoise. I have been unable to get this illustration to photograph well. In reality, the skin tones are much warmer and the turquoise much more vibrant.
This page is another example of me plagiarizing myself because I sketched this up from an ink and watercolour illustration I did just over three years ago. It is always interesting to see how I translate the same (or similar) drawing between mediums. This mixed media version was also an experiment in using a lemon yellow and lime green palette. I think the combination is as fresh as you would expect from citrus inspiration. I suspect it would have more zing to it if not dulled down with the flesh tones. I am finding that I really like to use text papers in my mixed media pieces. Maybe it is my love of books and reading but I also just like the sort of mark-making quality it contributes, all those shapes and forms.
Here’s a quick art journal illustration of a figure swimming. I was challenging myself to use a medium I have not used in ages and nothing but that medium so I opened up my bag of watercolour pencils and got to work. This was done super-quickly – definitely no more than 15 minutes – as a stress-buster. I was just promoted (yay!) and I have SO much to do before the beginning of the school year so I was in one of those flaps where my To Do list was so extensive that I could not properly focus on any one task in order to complete it and check it off the list. I decided to take a break at my art table and it did the trick: I was much more focused and efficient when I returned to my crazily long list. Anyway, the concept of relaxing gave me my subject because one of the things I find most relaxing to do is just float around in water. I used to love actually swimming lengths in the pool, never competitively, just for exercise and fun, but nowadays all I really want to do in the water is float around on my back and stare at the sky like a much less adorable otter.
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.
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.
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.