1980s Girl

I desperately needed some art time but I was completely lacking in motivation and inspiration.  I did, however, have my November Art Snacks box sitting untouched on my art table so I decided to tackle this month’s challenge as a way to jump start some creative time.

I did cheat a bit on the challenge because I used a black ink pen that did not come with the box.  The bright pink of the marker, the citrus green of one of the pencils, and the neon yellow of the brush pen suggested a 1980s pop vibe so I sketched out a girl wearing 1980s fashions – based simply on my recollection rather than any references so probably not super accurate.

It’s certainly far from my best work but it felt therapeutic to create something in my art journal and, as I have written many times before, often the journey is more important than the destination.

Art Snacks - November 2020

Sunshine and Lavender

Between completing my Star Wars illustration challenge and participating in Drawlloween, it took until mid-November for me to find the time and motivation to experiment with the supplies in my October Art Snacks box.  Even when I did break them out, I kept things very small and manageable.  This illustration is the scale of a bookmark.  Indeed, I have a number of these skinny drawings now and I think I am going to laminate them so they can all become bookmarks.

I think this drawing ended up with a bit of a 1910s vibe to it.  The combination of the lavender paint pen, which I watered down as well as using straight out of the barrel, and the bright sunshine yellow of the ink brush is quite a pleasing colour combination I think.

Art Snacks - October 2020 - 2

Rainbow Art Journal – Windy Day

I have been neglecting my art journals these past several months because all of my art time has been focused on my Star Wars character challenge.  I have especially been neglecting my Rainbow Art Journal, a project I really should have completed by now whereas in actuality I don’t think I am even half way through.  This month’s Art Snacks box, however, contained a colour palette that was perfect for transitioning out of the green section of that journal and into the blue.  On the theme of transitions, this weekend was really the first feeling of Autumn nipping at the heels of Summer.  After a hot and humid Summer, we have had some misty, chilly mornings and I actually donned an extra layer of clothing.  Maybe that was what inspired me to sketch out a figure being blown in the wind.

55 Windy Day

Alfred Hitchcock

I had a bit of a cruddy day yesterday.  We’ve had some flooding to deal with (a lot) lately and the day started with lashing rain yet again, I consequently changed my plan for the day which is something I always find unsettling and disappointing, and then I spent hours problem solving another unexpected problem that cropped up.  It was all small beer in the greater scheme of things and certainly all piffling in the context of a global pandemic.  On the other hand, living in the midst of a pandemic is also mentally and emotionally fatiguing so maybe that is why smaller problems are getting to me more.

The point of this preamble is that two things that do the best job at calming me down when I am a powder keg of stress and anxiety: art and horror movies.  So I settled down with a cup of tea in front of ‘Shadow of a Doubt’, one of my favourite Hitchcock movies (and not strictly a horror), and decided to draw Alfred Hitchcock using the supplies from this month’s Art Snacks box.  I thought the combination of black ink, the sepia ink pencil, and the crimson paint suited the subject.

Alfred Hitchcock - Art Snacks Aug 2020

Rainbow Art Journal – Skeleton Leaves

I actually completed this page in my Rainbow Art Journal ages ago.  I started drafting this blog post, must have been interrupted, saved it to drafts, and then my brain did a combination of forgetting about it and misremembering by thinking I had actually published the post.  My mixed media art journals have been very neglected lately while I have been focused on my Star Wars illustration challenge so finding this blog post is a useful reminder to me to crack open the supplies and get experimenting again.

I wanted to experiment with green and pink but I honestly have no idea what was in my head when I sketched out the subject matter.  I guess I do have female figures with herma type torsos and skeletal elements in my “go to”  list of art motifs so it is not completely out of left field.  The exposed rib cage then made me think of the exposed veins of skeletal leaves and so I had my idea for the whole composition.  I took this photo when the light was dull and flat which is making the pink photograph as being a little too purple but in reality it is a sort of bubblegum pink.

51 - Skeleton Leaves

Woman in Cloak

This illustration is what I came up with using just the contents of my May Art Snacks box.  There were brush markers, a coloured pencil, an India ink marker, and a copic fineliner.  I appreciated that all of the items were portable art supplies (when combined with a water brush) because I was able to knock this drawing out while supervising my youngest doing his distance learning lessons for the day.  I have been doing the drawing part of my Star Wars illustrations while supervising the boys’ education each morning (and then painting them in the afternoons) so I took a break and knocked this out instead.  Messing about with the shapes in the cloak was a welcome distraction from 5th Grade algebra.

Art Snack - May 2020 - 2

Rainbow Art Journal – Thrive & Survive

This page was another one where I had lobbed down scrapings of leftover paint and scraps of collage material.  As with the majority of the pages in the green section of my Rainbow Art Journal, my brain wandered to plants.  Because I was thinking about all of the weird bits of rejected odds and sods that made up the substrate of the page, I thought about weeds and that idea that weeds are just plants growing where someone doesn’t want them.  The plant doesn’t know it’s a weed; the plant thinks it is a flower with as much merit as the one a human is caring for in a garden.  So then I thought about the fortitude of weeds and their feisty attitude.  I pretty much started identifying with weeds.  So that was the theme and idea for this journal page.

I used a negative space painting approach to pick out the shape of a weed growing across the page.  I then stamped “survive” and “thrive” on to some green paint chip cards I had.  Unfortunately, I was distracted when gluing them onto the page and transposed the words.  Oops.  It didn’t bother me enough to either remove them or cover them up, however.  Anyway, survival and being determined to thrive no matter what seem like good messages for these pandemic times we find ourselves in.

54 Thrive & Survive

 

Rainbow Art Journal – Sea Glass

This page was one of those messy pages crammed full of pieces of collage, odds and ends of washi tape, and surplus gesso and paint.  It was, therefore, very textured and incredibly visually busy.  It has been in my Rainbow Art Journal for months waiting for me to finish it.  I focused on on the wine label that reads “seaglass” and used that as my colour palette inspiration.  I used to collect sea glass as a child.  I had different jars for the different colours.  I found some really cool pieces.  I have a vase filled with sea glass from Scotland in my home now.  I collected it when I went back home to Fife in 2015 so it’s a visual reminder to my childhood.

I struggled to pull this page together partly because the lumpy, scratchy texture made it hard to work with and partly because I was so sick of looking at this unfinished page for so long.  The page was just annoying me and I wanted to get it finished so that I could move on and forget about it.

53 - Seaglass

PS There is a weird colour caste in my photo of this piece, a sort of pinkish glow.  When I try to adjust it, it just throws the greens and aquas out too much.  The background colour is white gesso so that should give you some indication of the actual colours.

Ribbons

Today marks 21 days since our lockdown started.  Life has been transformed pretty rapidly.  As a preschool teacher, I am now unemployed for the foreseeable future; we’ve had to create a home office space in our bedroom for my husband – who is thankfully still able to work; and the four boys are now having to adjust to distance learning.  Overseeing four kids who are using technology to learn is a massive challenge for me.  While the older three boys have lots of experience with using chromebooks for learning, my youngest son (aged 10) has not had that degree of exposure.  It is, therefore, a steep learning curve for both him and for me.  I am not finding any of the processes to be intuitive and it seems every teacher and every subject area is intent on using a different mode.  Thank goodness my oldest son is a bit of a computer whizz and can step in to problem solve and guide his little brother through all the technological hurdles.  I did not anticipate transitioning to distance learning being a smooth process but it is proving to be a more stressful experience than I predicted.

After a particularly snaggy and challenging morning, therefore, I was feeling particularly frazzled.  It was critical that I find a way to decompress before I combusted.  Last month, I received a bonus box from Art Snacks containing Tombow products.  I had not done anything with it because I am not remotely skilled at using alcohol markers.  However, I decided that I would delve into the box and try to produce an illustration using just its contents.  An art challenge is, after all, much more preferable to me than a technological one.  This is the illustration I produced.  I am happy to report that I did not combust today.  Not yet anyway.

Ribbons - Art Snacks Tombow Box

Rainbow Art Journal – Daphne

As in so many of Greek myths, Daphne’s is the story of a woman victimised by a man and ultimately punished by the patriarchy.  Essentially poor Daphne was used by Eros to curse Apollo, one of Cupid’s arrows having created his obsessive infatuation with the naiad Daphne.  An arrow fired at her ensured that she would always flee Apollo.  Therefore, poor Daphne was basically stalked by Apollo, which effectively means she was being punished for no reason.  In order to escape Apollo’s sexual violence, Daphne pleaded with her father, a river god, and his solution was to transform her into a laurel tree.  Daphne, treated like an object by these male gods, was therefore rendered completely and utterly passive – so much so, in fact, the Apollo ended up possessing the laurel as his special tree.  Ugh.

Anyway, still plodding on through the green section of my Rainbow Art Journal, I decided to illustrate Daphne’s tragic story.  I wanted to communicate something of the violence of her situation and of her transformation while also suggesting something of the fact she was forced to become even more passive.

 

48 - Daphne