This was the second of the art journal pages I created while at my monthly art journaling group. I created it in response to two Art Journal Adventure prompts – bird and the letter I. I am being a bit cheeky with the letter I since I decided it is covered by my use of indigo. What inspired the illustration, however, was the song ‘Wings of a Dove’ by Madness. I have been on a bit of a musical nostalgia kick recently, introducing my sons to more of the music I was into when I was their ages and younger. For that reason, I had been listening to the track shortly before heading out to the meet up and, with the lyrics still in my mind’s ear, I decided to come up with an illustration. It’s drawn with Inktense pencils with a little bit of micron pen for the vine patterns on the clothing. I find my Inktense pencils are ideal for portable art because they can be easily activated with a water brush, are fixed when dry, and dry pretty quickly.
The second exercise in the first lesson of the Let’s Face It course was to draw a portrait plucked from our imaginations. Therefore, in contrast to the first exercise in which we used a photograph as the inspiration for the painting, we were to use no reference material at all. I very much welcomed this lesson. After a lot of intense arting and some steep learning curves, it was a luxury to be able to retreat to my comfort zone. I decided to produce two drawings because they are fairly small – 6×9 inches – and I used ink with which to draw and Inktense blocks with which to add colour in areas of the drawing.
My style is naturally quite illustrative and non-realistic. It is what I enjoy and what I am happy doing. My aim in undertaking this course is to refine my skills with drawing (and painting) faces in order to hone and progress my own style. This exercise then is a measure of my starting point.
This week’s Life Book lesson was taken by Effy Wild and, since the end of the year is nigh, the lesson was essentially reflecting on what we have experienced in 2015, what things we wish to carry forward into 2016, and recording that in a visual way. The exemplar was on a theme of sunshine and roses and reminded me of a lovely piece of stained glass, specifically the panels in the doorways of houses from the 1930s. As lovely as the design was, it just wasn’t me. I, therefore, had to think about my version for a bit and wait for inspiration. When inspiration arrived, it was in the form of zombie bunnies. These wee characters have cropped up time and time again in my artwork over the years so it is probably apt that they should feature in a piece about reflection and development, about progress. I used Inktense block and ink to create it. I wanted it to be vibrant and bright. I then wrote my intentions for the coming year – which arose from my reflection on the year about to end – in gold ink in each of the rainbow stripes. I kept my intentions broad for now. I will generate a list of goals closer to the end of the year.
This week’s main lesson on Life Book was taken by Jane Davenport, a mixed media artist famed for her paintings of women. I found undertaking the lesson to be intimidating at points – I felt sure I was going to mess up at every stage – but completely enjoyable. The lesson was essentially about using collage and carving out a figure using the negative space. I also had the opportunity for some much needed practice at painting faces and improve a little more as a result. I also finally cracked open my tin of inktense blocks for the wash over the hair and I love them. I wish the collage I had created that became the hair had been a bit more random. It was supposed to be constructed out of things that appealed to me so I had to make conscious decisions as I raked through my files of paper and ephemera which then led me to be a bit too intentional with their placement in the overall collage. But that is the only thing I would alter if I had a do-over. I really loved the process and am pleased with the final result.