This page is the transition between the orange section of my art journal (which is finally completed after a year – woohoo!) and the yellow section. Those colours combined with the idea of transitions made me think of the cycle of sunrise and sunset and gave me the inspiration for this illustration. It also left me with the earworm of “Sunrise, Sunset” from ‘Fiddler on the Roof’. Sidebar: when I lived in Edinburgh in the 1990s, I saw a production of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ at the Playhouse starring Topol. It remains one of the best productions I have ever seen, especially the set design. So, yes, while that song played on repeat in my head, I created this art journal page. I plagiarized my own artwork for the concept and composition as this is a version of my “Alpha & Omega” page from last January.
This is the last illustration in the orange section of my Rainbow Art Journal. Phew. Orange is not my favourite colour so it has been a bit of a slog to get through this section, which also coincided with a lean period when it came to free time. Looking back through my blog posts, I learned that it was almost exactly a year ago that I created the first illustration in the orange section. Yikes. That isn’t very speedy progress, is it? Let’s hope it doesn’t take me a year to complete the next section which is, of course, yellow.
On the subject of transitions, this illustration was inspired by the transition between seasons. As frequent readers will know, I am very much not fond of Winter. This Winter has not been too abysmal in that we have not had any big monster storms. We had a surprise snow storm in November that caused a lot of chaos but we really got off lightly in terms of quantity of snow. What we have experienced instead is a number of smaller winter weather events that caused disruption – days when my kids had snow days or late arrivals when I had to still go to work, for instance. The landscape looks beautiful when blanketed in sparkling white, but shoveling it is not so appealing. Shoveling it while your husband is working in Hawaii is even less appealing. Anyway, there are finally definite signs of Spring around and the temperatures are steadily increasing. This means we can venture out wearing slightly fewer layers and can feel comfortable in less bulky coats or in cosy sweaters.
I wanted the composition to be quite narrow in order to accentuate the idea of cosiness. Since this is a page in a journal with an illustration already on its reverse, I could not crop the paper down. I, therefore, used strips of washi tape to “frame” my drawing. The tape then inspired my colour palette.
This week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was “7”. It’s the type of prompt that allows a lot of scope for interpretation and creates a lot of possibilities. I was thinking continents, layers, or colours of the rainbow. I liked the idea of working with lots of vibrant colours as an antidote to all of these desaturated winter days so I decided to go with the rainbow idea. I divided my page up into seven strips and then the little figures with the curling hoods just emerged on the page. They are a little reminiscent of the Alpha and Omega figures I painted recently, though the echo wasn’t conscious. I filled the figures with watercolour, added the facial features, and that was it. Quick and easy.
Happy New Year!
My final Art Journal Adventure prompt for 2017 was “Endings and Beginnings”, obviously an apt subject for the turn of the year. This year there will be no page in my art journal that sets an inspirational, aspirational or encouraging word to focus on, no listing of goals, nothing like that. I have never been one for setting resolutions but I have previously fallen prey to setting myself goals. I am increasingly failing to achieve (m)any of the goals I set for myself. Apart from participating in and completing a set of drawings for Inktober, I achieved not a single one of my goals for 2017. Not. A. One. In fact, I still have a goal for 2016 that I did not complete in either that year or last year. So my sole goal for this year is to not set myself up for failure.
Therefore, my turn of the year art journal page is neither about reflecting on the year past or looking ahead to what 2018 might have in store for me. Instead, I chose to focus on the theme of beginnings and endings, of cycles of time, of opposites, of cusps, alpha and omega. This is what I came up with: two figures in a composition that has echoes of yin and yang without the required geometric precision. Once the figures were dry, I decided to unify them in some way and plumped for writing. I defaulted to my own handwriting, albeit a little higgledy-piggledy, for the phrase “Alpha & Omega” but I think my own handwriting works effectively enough in this piece.
This week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was “opposites”. I ran through a lot of ideas in my head before choosing to depict Night and Day as female figures. This was something I had tried before in my Rainbow Art Journal but I had not been satisfied with the result. This was an opportunity to revisit the subject and hopefully accomplish a better outcome. Whereas before I had worked across two pages, this time I confined the composition to a single page. To further enhance the concept of opposites, I placed the figures top to tail as I knew I had liked that composition when I used it in my most recent Red Riding Hood page.
To create a bit more visual interest to the page, I adhered some collage materials as a first layer and ensured that those still showed through subsequent layers in places. While the composition and colour scheme places the Night and Day figures in opposition to each other, I also wanted to connect them, because they are cyclical, so I drew their hair swirling into the sector of the other and had the metallic dots sweep across the diagonal dividing line in places.
Last week’s Life Book lesson was taken by Tamara Laporte and involved drawing two figures. I had not gotten around to working on Life Book lessons for a few weeks so I was keen to tackle this one over the weekend. I find drawing more than one figure in a piece to be fairly challenging because of the need to make them cohere and keep proportions and angles of light consistent. That was another good reason to complete the lesson. I had to improvise a lot with the lesson because I don’t own the markers that Laporte demonstrated. I, therefore, used ink and watercolour instead. I tried to stay true to one of the focal points of the lesson, however, by working on creating a range of skin tones. This is a skill I definitely still need to develop but I was nevertheless reasonably pleased with the flesh tones I created in this piece because at least I avoided making them too sallow or adding too much ochre.
I actually managed to complete an art lesson this week. I worked on this in stages while cooking dinner over several evenings so I am glad it was a project that allowed me to break it down to that extent. The phased stages mean that I for once thought to take some process photos. The lesson was for Let’s Face It and was taken by Angela Kennedy. The idea was to paint a trio of female figures interlinking or interlocking in some way, subtly different but cohering through use of the media. I used ink and watercolour only because that was what I had easily to hand and those are the media I work most quickly with. Instead of adding detail to the figures’ clothing, I sprinkled salt on to create some interest. I think that also helps maintain focus on the faces. I have two sisters (and a bundle of brothers) but I don’t know that this trio are three sisters together. Maybe three witches ready for Halloween.