I am one of those people who can rarely settle down to do just one thing at a time. I know it is not efficient to multi-task but I apparently find it challenging to engage in passive activities and I especially need to be doing something with my hands. Therefore, while I was watching some professional development workshops on my laptop early one morning, I grabbed my Art Journal, pencil and pens, and decided to draw at the same time. As I had just drawn Bear Girl the previous morning, I decided to draw a couple of similar characters. The squatting pose for this little Deer Girl involved lots of erasing and reworking of pencil guidelines and I am still not convinced the weight of the pose is correct but at least I tried, right? I also went a bit awry with mixing the skin tone as it ended up a bit too yellow-ochre. Nevertheless, I had fun drawing this illustration and it was the perfect way to occupy myself while listening to workshops.
I woke up really early one morning and powered through most of the things I needed to do that day, including making dinner, before 10am. I, therefore, bought myself lots of free time, including art time. That afforded me the opportunity to develop this little character and create details within the illustration. The proportions are whack but that’s kind of my style so I embrace it. I have struggled to identify my visual voice but, in recent years, I have gradually gained a sense of what my drawing style is. I think this little Bear Girl is a good exemplar of the elements that embody my style. I certainly had a great deal of fun creating this illustration and this is really the approach to art I want to focus on going forward.
For the penultimate day of Inktober, the Drawlloween prompt was “Skulls and Skeletons” so I decided to draw a skeleton girl. It had been a time since I splashed some red ink into my Inktober sketchbook so I decided to add a sort of silhouette and hair to the skeleton figure for added interest. She reminds me a little of a mixed media piece I did for a Life Book lesson back in May. She was drawn in a bit of a rush and I am confident there is not anatomical accuracy present in my drawing but, on a day that was manically busy, I did still manage to squeeze my Inktober drawing in.
I missed so many Life Book and Let’s Face It lessons while I was on the road trip that there was just no way I was going to be able to catch up and get them all done – especially not with kids with me 24/7. I, therefore, plucked out two lessons I was going to tackle from those I missed. The first of these was a Life Book lesson with Jane Davenport. I decided on it because the use of watercolour meant that it should not be too time consuming.
It all went wrong from the first step because I used coloured pencil for the sketching. The idea was that this would loosen us up as we would not be able to erase and make things perfect. After two weeks of no drawing, my draughtsmanship skills were seriously lacking. I was aiming for a more teenage face but the face I drew ended up being a bizarre mixture of teenage features with toddler proportions. Ugh. No time for a do over so I thought I would plough on and see if I could improve it with the watercolour layer. Nope. A little bit of black ink to pull it all together brought some features more sharply into focus but it was still a hot pink mess. What I do like about my painting, however, is the colour palette. The violet, deep pink, cadmium red, and a little touch of cobalt blue are a pleasing combination to my eye at least.
This week’s Let’s Face It lesson was an easily digested bonus lesson from Muriel Stegers. The last lesson of hers led me to paint the Girl with Bronze Eyes and I noted that I kept drawing the same type of face over and over. I, therefore, made a conscious effort to draw a different type of face, rounder, softer, broader, maybe a bit younger.
I chose my colours based on the flowers that are blooming in my garden, especially the azaleas and rhododendrons, because I am enjoying seeing everything bursting into bold life during this grey and soggy spring. She’s the colour of May. I used the purple for the shadows in her skin tones. I cannot decide whether I think that is effective or not. I need to ruminate on that a little longer. I do think I achieved my personal goal of painting a rounder face.
We were gifted a bonus lesson by Tamara Laporte last week on the Life Book course. Happily, having had enough time to get through the scheduled lesson early in the week, I had time to work on the bonus lesson too.
The lesson was titled ‘Tree of Life’. It was another practice in painting on top of collage elements and depicted a girl swinging from a tree. I departed completely from the style of the exemplar but I used the techniques and the colour palette. All Winter I seem to have been drawn to the cooler colours, the blues, purples, greens and pinks. I probably need to challenge myself to use a warm colour scheme soon. Perhaps that will force Spring to arrive!
This was truly a mixed media effort as I used watercolour (for the face), acrylics, collage, aquamarkers and neocolors all in the one piece. This was a piece that definitely evolved over the days I spent on it and it most certainly went through a scruffy. This was mainly thanks to the background looking chaotic but somehow painting over it and pushing it back saved it from ugliness.
One creeping realisation I have had since starting the Life Book course is that my ability to draw faces has regressed, markedly so, probably as a consequence of having not attended a life drawing class since I left Britain in October 2013. This is something I will need to attend do in some way. I cannot have my skills rusting any further. Time to grease those artistic joints.