Rainbow Art Journal – Nebula

There are so many layers of watercolour on this page. I usually only work in two or three layers so this was a real exercise in patience for me as I waited for each saturated layer to (slowly) dry. The idea was to depict a figure floating inside a nebula. Is that even scientifically possible? No idea! I didn’t bother consulting my astronomy nerd husband because accuracy doesn’t bother me. The spacesuit would possibly set someone’s teeth on edge too as I cobbled it together from various references to spacesuits from different countries and different eras and then simplified the forms.

75 - Nebula

Mossy Witch

I have scores of Draw This In Your Style challenges saved over on Instagram. I find them useful when I have time for art but am short on inspiration. They are also useful for both reinforcing and honing the elements of illustration that make something identifiably my style.

One of the ones I have had saved for months was a witch with moss hued hair created by Heather Mahler. She has a very distinctive style and is also a digital artist so I thought it would be fun to give it a try in analogue. Working on this drawing, I realised how much more practice I need with drawing faces in profile. My skills in that regard have definitely atrophied over the several months in which I was not putting pen to paper. I never add tattoos to the figures I draw so it was fun to add all of those little glyph details to the drawing. This was a relaxing drawing to work on because I didn’t get stuck in my own head coming up with an idea or composition.

Mossy Witch - DTIYS

Rainbow Art Journal – Shades of a Bruise

These skeleton women do insist on appearing in my art journals but I decided to keep this one much simpler. I also decided to work in a colour palette that I thought might be really clashing and visually discordant. Chartreuse is a colour I actually quite like in isolation but which I find often looks horrid juxtaposed against other colours so I decided on chartreuse and violet. It struck me that the colours were reminiscent of the colours of a bruise at different stages of healing. Not something a skeleton really needs to think about.

74 - Shades of a Bruise

Rainbow Art Journal – If I Had Wings

I was trying to decide what to draw while making my morning mug of tea. I like to look at the birds at my feeder while the kettle boils and I was enjoying the way the light was highlighting the beautiful colours in the feathers of a grackle. Flashes of blues, purples, greens were shining among the rich black. And that was when I decided to draw a figure with wings in those jewel tones. I thought about making the background deep black to better reflect the grackle inspiration for the drawing but decided against it. Maybe I should at a later date? I have annoyed myself by making the wing on the right too stubby. I should have done a bit more pencil scaffolding before I went in with the ink. Apparently this is a lesson I will never learn. Otherwise I quite like this illustration – in large part because I love that Daniel Smith Phthalo Turquoise so much.

73 - If I Had Wings

Rainbow Art Journal – Wonky House at Twilight

I seem to be cycling through a number of mixed media methodologies and, though it was subconscious, I think I am testing myself to see which skills I have retained and which I have lost but – more importantly – what techniques I still enjoy.

This is my first attempt at paint over really basic collage in a good while and – ooft! – I have definitely gotten rough. What did not help me at all was the fact that, through lack of use, my gel matte medium has gotten really thick and unyielding. I kept at it because I didn’t have a reasonable alternative available and because I thought the rough texture it was creating might be fun to work with. I was wrong. Not only did it create an awful texture, I was also working on this on a really humid day so everything began to wrinkle and warp. Honestly, had I not had a decent illustration on the reverse of this page, I probably would have ripped it out and binned it. Maybe if I persevered I could pull it out of the ugly phase? Nope. It stayed ugly.

I like the concept of a little white house beneath a glowing moon in a landscape using this colour palette but otherwise I pretty much detest this page in my Rainbow Art Journal. However, I have to accept the bad and the ugly if I also want to achieve the good along the way. It is all experimentation. And one important thing I have gleaned from returning to this technique is that I no longer find it interesting. While I will no doubt still build some collage elements into my mixed media dabblings, I am really not interested in paint over collage any more. And knowing that has real value in terms of knowing how to invest my art time.

72 - Wonky House at Twilight

Rainbow Art Journal – Purple and Yellow

This page in the purple section of my Rainbow Art Journal was simply inspired by a desire to use complementary colours. I pivoted to what is apparently my default setting of drawing a female figure in front of a disc. My husband asked why the people I draw always look miserable. My guess is it may be because neutral expressions are easier for me to draw. So I am making a note to self to try and draw a wider range of expressions.

71 - Purple and Yellow

Stylish Couple

One of the things I really need to practice and refine is the drawing of poses and of more detailed clothing. Therefore, when I stumbled across the #Tekenuurtje challenge on Instagram, I thought I would have a try at participating. The host artist, Linda van den Berg, shares photos and artists are invited to create an illustration of one of the images in whatever medium they like.

I was immediately enchanted with a portrait of an older couple wearing stylish clothes, complete with statement hats and scarves*. It was fun drawing their poses and all of the elements of their clothing. I think I will try participating in this challenge again.

Stylish Couple

*The easiest way I can share the source photo with you is to link to my Instagram post.

Rainbow Art Journal – Rain Cloud

I guess I was still thinking about the personification of stormy weather when I sat down at my art table because what emerged on the page was this figure who I turned into a rain cloud. The idea came from the way I drew her hair all poofy like a cloud so I decided to make the hair even bigger and rounder. I really didn’t think through how to illustrate the rain drops and probably should have made them a bit less dense but I suppose all those dashes and drips add some visual interest to the page. Returning to mixed media after such an extended break, I realise with this piece that I have lost some skill with layering water-based media over acrylic. Hopefully I will see some improvement next time I attempt it.

70 - Rain Cloud

Rainbow Art Journal – Storm Sprite

After a (too) long break from creating art, I am determined to use Summer break to recalibrate my life, get back into the habit of making regular time for art, rediscover my creative mojo in the process, and hopefully restore some much-needed balance to my life. My gears and joints have all seized up through lack of use so I thought a good way of dipping my toe back into regularly creating art without feeling intimidated would be to keep plodding along in my Rainbow Art Journal.

I cracked the pages of the journal open and the first completely empty page was in the purple section. Since I unintentionally started the tradition of having a Sprite figure in each colour section, I decided to create a purple sprite and I thought of stormy skies and lightning storms. That is, therefore, what this figure is supposed to represent. I was actually surprised by how easy I found it to put pen to paper and draw again but where I really observe the rustiness is in my ability to manage proportions – even in accordance with my own wonky style – and my aptitude with drawing hands. I have really experienced a setback with drawing hands. This is frustrating when I had been making good progress in that regard but, knowing I managed to develop the skill beforehand, I trust I will at least catch up to myself again with more regular practice.

69a - Storm Sprite

Rainbow Art Journal – Ghost Tree

This page is the transition between the blue and purple sections in my Rainbow Art Journal. I created a background without giving it much thought. I had anticipated adding more layers, perhaps some collage, possibly some spatter. However, I decided I would work on this page while stuck in the car while my kids had dental appointments so I grabbed a white paint pen and the background layer had to stay as it was. Waiting in the car can be incredibly tedious so it was good to have all of those branches to absorb me and make the time feel less plodding. It was actually quite meditative working on the branches and twigs. I thought I might add to this page but I have decided not to labour over this art journal and to instead just use it for quick experiments. I have been working in it for so long now that I would prefer my challenge to just be completing it.

68 - Ghost Tree