This week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was to use a hand on the page. Well pants! I used my hand shapes a few weeks ago in a different journal page. My challenge, therefore, was to come up with a quick, easy, simple idea that neither duplicated or echoed the page I had created before – or any other journal pages where I had used my hand as inspiration. Since the previous page had started with my hand shape and built up from there – using masses of colourful dots – I had the idea of doing the reverse and starting with the hand silhouette and peeling away a layer. Skeleton hand! I have a bit of a thing for (not anatomically correct) skeleton drawings at the moment so I was enthused by the idea.
I had to create a background for my page. Wanting a bit of a macabre feel for the skeleton hand, I opted for a red and green colour scheme, connotations of flesh, blood, putrefaction, and decay. Having so recently had such a sucky result from using my gelli plate, I decided to give it another whirl and see if I could get a better result. This time I used my miniature gelli-plate in the hopes it would provide me with a bit more control over the placement, slow me down a bit, and make me think. I used it to build up a patchwork of red and green rectangles. The red and green looked a bit bogging together but that was, after all, part of the point and the feel I was aiming for.
When it came to the hand, I drew around my own hand and filled it in with black acrylic paint. I used Dylusions paint as I find that black gives a really rich black, smooth, velvety finish which is ideal for drawing on top of. Once that was dry, it was just a case of using a white paint pen to draw in the bones. I had a quick glance at a photo of a skeletal hand but clearly did not make my drawing anatomically correct.
This is a self-portrait of my arm. I drew around my hand and arm to create the outline and then filled it with a mixture of white gesso and Stabilo All pencil to create and to capture the shapes and shades of my hand and arm. After that, I was stuck. The painting of the limb alone, surrounded by black, was too dull but I had a creative block and didn’t know what to do with it. I, therefore, left it for a few days waiting for inspiration to strike. I even asked some art friends for advice but I knew I could not pull off their suggestions. In the end, I just picked up a paint pen and doodled one evening while dinner was cooking. One of my sons said, “I see what you did there: vines instead of veins.” I wish I had been that clever but, nope, just random doodles. The stamped words – grow and thrive – were an afterthought but I think they help pull the whole thing together. Not my best effort but it was good to practice creating tones with the Stabilo All pencil and the gesso.
The Let’s Face It course has left profiles behind and has moved on to depicting hands within portraits of faces. I found full profiles pretty challenging but I think I am going to find hands possibly even more difficult. It will be interesting to see if this section of the course helps me develop and improve my aptitude with drawing and painting hands – not hard since I tend to draw them either like Nosferatu claws or bunches of parsnips.
First up was a monochrome sketch of a face that incorporated a hand. Kara Bullock’s tutorial demonstrated using conte crayon. I do not own conte crayons so I pondered what other medium I might experiment with. I have been enjoying exploring the possibilities of the Stabilo All pencil in mixed media pieces so thought I would dabble with using it solo in this sketch.
I used the Stabilo All in the same way I would use a charcoal pencil or thin stick of willow charcoal and then, when activated with water, attempted to use it in the same way I would use ink. That methodology did not quite work out as I could not make the medium flow in the same way as I can with ink. As a first experiment, however, I think there is potential for the Stabilo All as a drawing tool. I like the fact, for instance, that even when activated some of the pencil like marks show through.
The less said about the drawing of the hand the better.
Incidentally, should you be interested, I am working on a challenge to create 100 illustrations of faces in ink and watercolour over on my art blog, Pict Ink.
It was a relief to find that the majority of the Life Book lessons I had missed were bonus lessons which meant they were instantly accessible, minimum fuss and make efficient use of time. One such lesson was delivered by Rachael Rice – who had delivered an earlier LB lesson on feathers – and was about creating a hamsa hand symbol using watercolour as the medium.
I am not from a culture or faith group that utilises hamsa hand symbols so I did not feel much of a connection to the idea of creating a spiritual symbol that has actual meaning to those who do form part of those cultures or faiths. However, I did engage with the idea of creating art revolving around a hand symbol. It was, after all, one of the first forms of artistic expression that early humans opted for: hand prints on the cave wall.
I painted the whole thing with watercolour and then used paint pen to draw stylised branches and blossoms along the fingers, the palm of the hand becoming a trunk. I quite like the way it turned out, specifically the bleeding together of the colours and the branch patterns.
This week’s Documented Life Project prompt was to trace the outline of your hand. Way back in week 10 of the project – which I think was my second week of participating in the DLP – I had actually traced my hand (and stamped my finger prints) in response to the prompt to document words that describe me. Since I had used my left hand and used words that time, I decided to use my right hand and use pictures this time. My “me time” is severely curtailed right now because the Pict family is so incredibly busy with various commitments and projects so I kept it simple with just three colours of gel pen (black, red and green – to tie into the beginning of the festive season) and I sat and doodled while watching a movie with the Pictlings. It’s a bit smudgy and messy as a result but it is what it is.
So here is my traced hand for Week 49 of the DLP 2014 project:
For comparison, here is my hand from back in Week 10 (before I had started blogging about my creative hobbies):
I’ve been driving on the US for a month now and finally, just today, I managed to undertake an entire car journey without my hand reaching out for a non-existent gear stick. My left leg fell into listless line about a week ago but my hand would not so kept reaching for the phantom gear stick – or stick shift as they say here. Now my left hand gets to be mostly indolent too.