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.
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.
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.
I started this art journal page on Earth Day (22 April) but did not make much headway beyond covering the page in fragments of map from an old atlas and painting a white area for the face and neck. I was able to return to the page this weekend when I met up with some local art friends at a coffee shop. The circumstances necessitate the use of non-messy, portable, quick-drying art supplies. I, therefore, completed the page using Neocolor II crayons and Inktense pencils. Because I started the page on Earth Day, this illustration is of a sort of Mother Earth figure. I like that the text and shapes of the maps can still be seen through the layers of colour. The beady eyed among you will be able to detect that I used mainly Scandinavia with a wee bit of the Caribbean. I wish I had made her face more expressive but drawing while chatting is a challenge. I was productive and managed to create another illustration during the meet up but I will blog about that page tomorrow.
The Art Journal Adventure prompt this week was “heart” but, of course, I did not go all sweet and whimsical with my take on that prompt. Rather than the typical “love” heart, I decided to create an illustration inspired by an anatomical heart. Don’t expect it to be medical-textbook-accurate, however, because realism isn’t my thing either. What I came up with was a female figure with an exposed heart. I used her hair as a sort of curtain being pulled back to reveal some abstracted ribs and that bright red heart. My first impulse was to show her peeling her skin back to reveal the internal organs so I am glad I came up with the more aesthetically pleasing option of the long, dark hair. I do enjoy working with a limited palette so I kept this illustration to just the monochrome and splashes of red.
I had this idea that I should create an illustration of a sun goddess in the yellow section of my art journal. Once I got started, however, the figure evolved into a pseudo ancient Egyptian woman and the yellow sun ended up golden. I basically cannot be trusted around metallic paints as I almost always go overboard with them. There’s so much gold and bronze all over this piece that there is barely any yellow left beyond the background. Oops. I guess I was still in a Klimty mode after the piece I did a few weeks ago because I ended up creating all sorts of Klimt-esque patterns all over the figure to. If this is the type of thing that happens when I go with the flow without having a clear plan in mind, I definitely need to leave my control freakery be and let it come up with a vision to work towards.
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.