My Rainbow Art Journal has segued out of its initial black stage into a red phase, as you may have observed. I knew that somewhere in this section an interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood would appear because she and the wolf are characters who have cropped up time and time again in my art work over the years. There is a definite connection in terms of palette and pattern between this new painting and a previous art journal page from 2015 but stylistically they are quite different.
I don’t know why I have always been drawn to Red Riding Hood as a fairytale because I was so wee when my moderate obsession started. I do like wolves, love werewolves, and the psychological possibilities of the story of a girl journeying into the wilderness to confront and overcome a dangerous aspect of that wilderness. With this art journal page, I wanted to depict the idea of the innocent girl and the bestial, primal wolf being interconnected, almost like a yin-yang balance. That gave me the idea for the composition. I actually thought to take some process shots as I worked on the double page spread over the course of a couple of weeks. From the basic sketch, I then blocked in large areas of colour using acrylic paint. I find that getting that one layer down really helps me as it creates a uniform surface on which to build additional layers and use a wider variety of media and it also immediately eliminates the white page so that I can more easily push some areas into the background while bringing other areas forward for emphasis. It was then just a case of working away on the piece in little rations and gobbets of time, building up the tones and details. I think of all of the Red Riding Hood pieces I have ever created, this is my favourite so far.
This week’s Documented Life Project prompt was to use tissue paper. The idea of using tissue paper in mixed media art projects is that much of the tissue disappears when it is adhered to the substrate so that only the chosen image remains prominent and the rest of the tissue becomes a background layer. Tissue paper is not something I have used in my art work and it is not something I own. I improvised with what I did have which was some tissue paper used for wrapping Christmas gifts. It is not thin enough to disappear but I thought it would “make do”.
As the tissue paper was red, the idea of Little Red Riding Hood came to mind. I created the clothing and cloak for Little Red out of the tissue paper and used acrylic paint and paint pen for the rest of the page. I like to work with a limited palette so I stuck to red, black and white for this page. It, therefore, annoys me that I mixed the black and white to make the wolf grey; I should have kept the wolf black to make the whole page more cohesive. My stencilling also annoys me as I continue to be too heavy handed and messy with it. Overall, however, I am happy with how this page turned out and my kids – who are my biggest cheerleaders – love the page so I guess this art journal page qualifies as a success.