This page is the transition between the orange section of my art journal (which is finally completed after a year – woohoo!) and the yellow section. Those colours combined with the idea of transitions made me think of the cycle of sunrise and sunset and gave me the inspiration for this illustration. It also left me with the earworm of “Sunrise, Sunset” from ‘Fiddler on the Roof’. Sidebar: when I lived in Edinburgh in the 1990s, I saw a production of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ at the Playhouse starring Topol. It remains one of the best productions I have ever seen, especially the set design. So, yes, while that song played on repeat in my head, I created this art journal page. I plagiarized my own artwork for the concept and composition as this is a version of my “Alpha & Omega” page from last January.
Last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was “Time”. Time is a major stressor for me because I am perpetually over-scheduled, often needing to be in two places at once, and because I am a control freak who is neurotically punctual. The conflict between those pragmatic and psychological states generates a whole load of mental exhaustion. And that is precisely why I thought of the White Rabbit. His being late has him strung out and fizzing with frenetic energy, so needing to propel himself that he is almost paralysed by how overwhelmed he is. I can relate.
I went whimsical for this illustration. I used old book pages as my substrate since the White Rabbit is, of course, a book character. The brown hue of the paper then inspired the colour palette. I think he looks pretty cute and surprisingly relaxed and cheery for someone who is running so late for a very important date.
This is the last illustration in the orange section of my Rainbow Art Journal. Phew. Orange is not my favourite colour so it has been a bit of a slog to get through this section, which also coincided with a lean period when it came to free time. Looking back through my blog posts, I learned that it was almost exactly a year ago that I created the first illustration in the orange section. Yikes. That isn’t very speedy progress, is it? Let’s hope it doesn’t take me a year to complete the next section which is, of course, yellow.
On the subject of transitions, this illustration was inspired by the transition between seasons. As frequent readers will know, I am very much not fond of Winter. This Winter has not been too abysmal in that we have not had any big monster storms. We had a surprise snow storm in November that caused a lot of chaos but we really got off lightly in terms of quantity of snow. What we have experienced instead is a number of smaller winter weather events that caused disruption – days when my kids had snow days or late arrivals when I had to still go to work, for instance. The landscape looks beautiful when blanketed in sparkling white, but shoveling it is not so appealing. Shoveling it while your husband is working in Hawaii is even less appealing. Anyway, there are finally definite signs of Spring around and the temperatures are steadily increasing. This means we can venture out wearing slightly fewer layers and can feel comfortable in less bulky coats or in cosy sweaters.
I wanted the composition to be quite narrow in order to accentuate the idea of cosiness. Since this is a page in a journal with an illustration already on its reverse, I could not crop the paper down. I, therefore, used strips of washi tape to “frame” my drawing. The tape then inspired my colour palette.
Last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was to use black. I know a lot of artists who avoid black, including some who think black should never form part of an artist’s palette, but I am not one of them. You may have noted that I use black a lot. In fact, I have no doubt that black and grey probably feature more in my artwork than any other colours (and, yes, I know black isn’t technically a colour but whatever). I like to use it along with a pop of colour. It’s kind of one of my jams. I am quite comfortable working in monochrome. It may be partly laziness and partly down to limitations of time but I like working with a very limited palette. All of which is to say that for me to use black was not much of a challenge really. My challenge, therefore, was to create visual interest and texture while only using black and grey. I used the Ecoline liquid watercolour used in my previous art journal page for the background. Once I added the black, I realised what a warm grey it is but I opted to use it because I liked the way it pooled to create blossoms and blooms for a bit of soft visual texture. To create the visual texture on the figure’s clothing, I did the old sprinkle salt onto wet watercolour trick. I went entirely overboard with the salt, however, as I was rushing to get out the door to my youngest son’s Open House night at school. Better than ingesting that quantity of salt I suppose but it was definitely too much. No time to even attempt to rectify my action, of course, so I let it be. It definitely resulted in visual texture, that’s for sure.
The materials that arrived in my March Art Snacks box happened to be grey and orange so I thought I would use them to create another page in the orange section of my Rainbow Art Journal. I love working with grey because it goes with everything and I like the way it works with the orange in this illustration. I am still playing around with these female figures with the disconnected arms so I drew another one. Previous versions have had very angular torsos, I think because I was initially inspired by classical herma. This time, I decided to try the idea of the floating forearms along with a more twisted torso shape. I don’t know whether this whole detached limb thing is aesthetically pleasing or successful but I am enjoying being liberated from proportions so I will probably experiment with it for a wee while longer.
On Friday – thanks to another dose of snow because this Winter is apparently never going to end – the school district gifted my kids with a delayed arrival and an early dismissal. Yes, you read that correctly. Both ends of the day were curtailed meaning they were in school for a whopping two hours and twenty minutes. My four kids attend three different schools, each of which operates on a different schedule. This staggering meant that my youngest had not long since gone to school before my oldest arrived home again. Meanwhile, I still had to go to work on my regular schedule but with extra Dr Seuss party fun thrown into the mix which meant I was dressed as the Cat in the Hat all day. I got some very peculiar looks and a few chuckles from the other parents at pick up time at my youngest’s school. So, yes, Friday was a bit of a stressful day and that meant that, when I got home that afternoon, I decided to sit at my art table to decompress – and fortunately my late afternoon schedule was flexible since all my kids were home by that point.
Last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was “Flame”. Fire and ashes have been recurring themes in my art journal. This time I thought about a figure representing a matchstick. I used orange and yellow ink for the background, letting the ink do its thing in wet paper to create random forms and puddles of pigment and hopefully suggest flames. My Daniel Smith Lunar Black was the perfect paint for the torso of the figure since the way it granulates and separates was so reminiscent of a struck, burned out match.
Is that the distant sound of Gustav Klimt spinning in his grave?
When I saw the Art Journal Adventure prompt of “Silence is Golden”, a nudge to use metallics, I immediately thought that a Klimt homage was in order. He is one of my favourite artists because of the way he combines influences like psychology and mythology, blending the contemporary with the classical, juxtaposing the human form with bold areas of shape and pattern. He’s a pretty inspirational artist and I like to dip into aspects of his style with my own illustrations from time to time.
I like the effect of metallic paints but I do find them tricky to work with. I had to build up several thinner layers of bronze and gold before it looked smooth and not brushstroke-patchy. The sheen of the metallic paint also makes it a bit tricky to get subsequent layers to behave well on top of the base layer. I let the layer where I was building up the larger shapes of pattern get a bit sloppy as a result. Klimt would not have approved, I’m sure. I could have been more meticulous by taking my time but that didn’t happen. Often in my art journal I start with a head and face and work outwards from there but this time the head and face were blanks until I had played around with all the patterns, though I had pencilled in the lozenge shape of the hair in advance as a frame to the face.