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


I have never participated in official Art Therapy but I would definitely vouch for art being therapeutic.  I personally use it for stress busting and to invest in myself by topping up my reserves by taking some time out of life’s flurry of activity and just doing something focused and creative.  Therefore, while dealing with the aftermath of our basement flood, feeling completely frazzled, and being physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted, I knew that the best way in which I could recharge my batteries was to take some time out for art.  It was just the tool for decompression that I needed.

I used a recent Art Journal Adventure prompt – Celestial – and cracked open my art journal and opened my box of watercolours and got stuck in.  As those who follow my blog will know, I am interested in Greek Mythology so I decided to depict Nyx, the goddess of Night.  In Classical art, she was depicted as having wings or riding in a chariot but I kept the shapes and forms simple and made her body a flowing shape, a sort of cloak of spreading darkness.  By keeping the composition simple and letting wet paint run and flow, other than drying time, this whole illustration was done and dusted in no more than 20 minutes.  It was, therefore, really took no time at all out of my hectic day but left me feeling recharged and ready to battle on.

22 - Nyx - Goddess of Night - Art Journal Page

Rainbow Art Journal – Icarus

One of my sons is obsessed with Greek Mythology – all of my kids were at one point – and that means that, thanks to osmosis, I have become a bit of a Greeky Mythology nerd myself.  The mythological figures, especially the monsters, therefore often appear in my sketchbooks.  A few years ago now, that theme was even the basis for a challenge I did to draw 40 drawings in 40 days.  I have contemplated returning to that theme for a whole series of drawings – but without the time challenge – but that shall be for some future juncture.  For now, I decided to draw Icarus in my Rainbow Art Journal.

I am currently working through the yellow section of my art journal and bold yellow suggested sunshine and sunshine suggested Icarus’ wings melting … This was my thought process.  This was another page that had some little underlying texture as I had previously scraped leftover white acrylic over the page.  You can spot the lumps and bumps.  I kept the illustration simple and, therefore, kept the colour palette limited.  I generally suck at drawing wings but I actually really like the way these turned out given that they are supposed to be a) manmade and b) broken.  I tried using spray inks to create some visual texture between the sun disc and the falling figure but it seems that the inks don’t perform well on top of acrylic – hello, learning opportunity – but it adds a sort of glow around the sun so at least it did not ruin the illustration.

39 - Icarus


When life gives you lemons sit back and enjoy a margarita.  My response to this week’s Life Book lesson went messily wrong but I kept going and enjoyed the creative process regardless.

The lesson was taken by Jill Berry and was about using tissue paper and acrylic gel skins as materials in collage.  The process of creating the skins looked fantastic in the instructional video and I felt very inspired.  The fault was absolutely not in the instructions, which were very clear and looked fairly straightforward; the fault was definitely down to user error.  As soon as I started to peel the skins, I knew it had all gone horribly wrong: instead of coming off in nice sheets, the paint was stretching like elastic and snapping off into little fragments which then had a tendency to clump up and stick together.  Beyond frustrating.  But what to do with the utter mess I had created?

With no time in which to make new acrylic skins, I decided to just embark on the collage regardless.  Lemons into lemonade, right?  I had painted deli paper to incorporate into the collage too so I started laying down scraps of torn deli paper and the fragments of acrylic paint all over the watercolour paper.  My vision for the piece had been an owl soaring across a dusk sky but my piece was becoming far too “textural” for that to be a feasible plan.  I looked at all my black, blue, purple and silver collage materials and decided that a choppy sea would work.  Upon settling on that idea, I immediately decided upon making a painting of a selkie.  A selkie is a creature in Scottish and Irish folklore that lives as a seal in the sea and then transforms into human form on land.  A sort of wereseal.  I think I got the idea from my 8 year old who created some selkie art a couple of weeks ago.

The ugly phase lasted a long time for this piece but I determined not to give up and just keep ploughing onwards, making the best I could out of my flawed materials.  I added spatter to the piece not just because I love spatter but because it helped unify all the little scraps of deli paper and dried paint and I think it did make it more coherent.  I am not sure how well it shows up in the photographs but the texture of the piece is actually quite interesting and is certainly different for me and there are lots of metallic and sparkling elements which hopefully contributes to the magical aspect of the selkie.

Week 38 - Acrylic Skins - Selkie - A

Week 38 - Acrylic Skins - Selkie - B

Week 38 - Acrylic Skins - Selkie - C

I don’t think I snatched success from the jaws of failure but I also don’t think this piece is a disaster either.  It might be a while before I try making acrylic skins again though.

Now where’s that margarita?