The first full lesson of Life Book was taken by Tamara Laporte. As with previous years, the first lesson focused on creating a whimsical figure using mixed media techniques. The concept for this figure was that she was to be holding a star. I messed around for a while with a star shape between the hands but I just couldn’t get it to work in harmony with the figure. Perhaps because my figure is not whimsical enough, the star just did not look right. I, therefore, resolved it by creating a golden glow between the hands. I then added more gold around the piece with a bit of spatter and a halo around the head. Although there is room for improvement, I think this is my best Life Book first week lesson so far. That is a good way of measuring my progress with mixed media techniques.
Having done the warm up exercise, it was time to turn my attention to the first full lesson of Life Book 2016. Again, the lesson was taken by the delightful Tamara Laporte. I must admit that I pared back my approach to the lesson a bit by removing a collaging step from my process and also not constructing a little pocket and integrating it into the painting. I had to be realistic about my time management and be pragmatic.
The idea behind the lesson was to create a figure who would represent a Traveller since we students are at the beginning of this year’s art journey. We were to choose an animal or two to accompany the figure. My mind was flitting about from animal to animal and various possibilities, especially since we have just welcomed a three-legged cat into our home, and I just could not settle on an idea when – out of the corner of my eye and just feet from the kitchen table where I do my art thing – I saw a scarlet feathered male cardinal visit my feeder and nibble on seeds. Ta da! Choosing the cardinal then helped me select my colour palette for the painting and I was off and away. For whatever reason, the idea of a Traveller made me think of a travelling cloak and from there I thought of an Edwardian lady and that then became the scaffolding for my painting of the female figure. She has ended up looking rather stern and serious. I am not sure I would particularly want to be setting off on a journey with her in that mood. Maybe that golden sun will thaw her out a bit and improve her mood.
There are lots of aspects of this painting that make me wish I could find time for a do-over. I know, I know: I give way too much broadcasting time to my Inner Critic. However, when I compare it to the Beacon of Light figure I painted for my first proper Life Book lesson last year I can see that I have come on in leaps and bounds not just in terms of my skill level but also in terms of my confidence in approaching each lesson and in tackling new things. If that is how far I have come in one year, it makes me excited to think how much further I might have progressed by the end of the year.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I have committed to Life Book 2015 for this year – my first ever online art course – in order to develop my skills and confidence with mixed media. The first lesson was by Tamara Laporte, the creative mastermind behind the course, and involved the creation of a figurative painting on the theme of “Beacon of Light”.
I followed the lesson as closely as I could with the media and materials that I possess but used my own style of drawing for the figure instead of adopting the tutor’s whimsical style. This was my first experience of using Caran D’Ache Neocolor II water soluble crayons and already I am smitten. They are rich and creamy with strong, vibrant pigment and a little goes a long way – which is just as well since they were a bit of an investment. The tutorial video incorporated glitter to add additional sparkle and light to the painting. I don’t own glitter so I used some of my gold ink for some of the key elements of the drawing and used dots of white acrylic paint to suggest light.
There are definitely things I would change about the painting if I were to start over but for a first lesson I am pretty pleased with what emerged on the paper.