Nyx

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

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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

Minotaur

This week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was “goddesses or monsters”.  As long term readers of my blog will know, I love mythology and especially Greek mythology.  I was, therefore, overwhelmed by the possibilities and suffered from a creatively crippling bout of indecision.  In the end, however, I decided to whip up a quick ink and watercolour illustration of a Minotaur.  The Minotaur is one of my favourite monsters and I had not drawn one for a while.  This one echoes the body shape and proportions of one I painted in an altered book three years ago.  I placed him on a grey background and used a more muted palette so suggest his labyrinth dwelling.  I kept second guessing myself as I am usually a bit more bold with my use of colour.  However, I am calling this illustration done.

21 - Minotaur

Ouroboros Skeleton

I hate to waste paint so, if I find I have some paint left over from a project, I smear it into a page in my art journal where it stays as a potential first layer for some future creating.  One such page of leftovers was the basis for this week’s art journal page.  It was created in response to the Art Journal Adventure prompt for this week: the letter O.  I like vague prompts because they give me the nudge to create while giving me the scope to really do whatever I want.  You may have noticed that I like to illustrate skeletons.  They are never anatomically correct and I cannot really put my finger on why I am so drawn to them as a subject but I just go with it.  Do what you enjoy, right?  I, therefore, ended up illustrating the skeleton of an ouroboros.  The O had made me think of circles and hoops and infinity and that made me think of ouroboros, which handily begins with the letter O, and it instantly became a skeleton in my mind’s eye.  An ouroboros – just in case you didn’t know – is a serpent consuming its own tale, an image found in many mythologies, symbolising eternity through the endless cycle of life and death.

4 Ouroboros Skeleton - Art Journal

 

Selkie – Art Journal Page

This week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was to take inspiration from mythology, folk stories, and fairy tales.  If you are thinking to yourself that the prompt seems right up my street that is because it is.  Precisely so in fact.  That is because I was asked by Bonnie and Barbara to be a guest artist this week.  I was flattered and honoured to do so and, of course, that meant it was up to me to choose the prompt.  You can find my post on the Joggles blog here and that outlines my process, illustrated with photos, in creating this art journal page.

I chose a selkie as the subject of my art journal page.  Selkies are creatures from my country’s mythology (and that of Ireland) and I grew up hearing tales of seals that could transform into people, of stolen seal skins, and wives who fled back to the sea.  I draw them quite often and have featured art work inspired by them twice on my blogs: once as a mixed media painting of a selkie in seal form and once in my altered book of monsters.  I think this is my favourite of the mixed media selkies I have painted so far.

Week 33 - Selkie21

Week 33 - Selkie23b

Vesta – Mixed Media Mythology

The last of my Mixed Media Mythology lessons was taken by Sarah Leonard.  The subject of this final lesson was Vesta, the Roman goddess of the hearth and home.  Because Mr Pict is a complete and utter nerd about ancient Rome, I was very familiar with Vesta (and her Greek counterpart Hestia).  Vesta was both the oldest and the youngest of the major gods in that she was the first born child of Kronos and Rhea but the last to be released from her father’s stomach when Jupiter killed Kronos and freed his siblings.  She chose to remain a virgin (hence Vestal Virgins) and she took care of Jupiter’s house for him, which leads to her association with domesticity.

The thing I particularly appreciated about Leonard’s lesson was that it was about translating concepts, ideas, connections into a visual medium.  I liked the flexibility and freedom that afforded.  Therefore, as happened with my response to Leonard’s lesson on Freya, my art work massively diverged from the exemplar.  My painting is mainly watercolour with some ink and I worked in shades of brown to reflect my home, which is mainly neutral, natural colours.  I painted the “hearth” bowl copper (acrylic) because my living room has a large copper trough beneath the window.  The flames are collaged scraps of gelli print and the embers of red and gold are spatters of acrylic.

I focused on Vesta’s connection to the hearth because for me a fireplace has become an important element of a house feeling like home.  We had our last home, in Scotland, built for us and as such I designed the fireplace.  It was more of an emotional wrench for me to leave that fireplace behind than it was to leave the rest of the house.  One of the reasons why our current house particularly appealed to me was that it had a fireplace I could envision us sitting around in winter.  My painting of Vesta, therefore, does stick to the lesson brief in being about domesticity.

8 Vesta

Maat – Mixed Media Mythology

My penultimate lesson for Mixed Media Mythology was a depiction of the Egyptian goddess Maat.  Maat represented justice, truth, balance and morality.  She brought order to the heavens and was often symbolised by a feather.

Lezette Markham was the tutor for this lesson and her demonstration was of a much more symbolic, representational art work.  However, since I have produced figures in all of my work in this series, I decided I wanted to actually have a crack at painting Maat herself while incorporating ideas from Markham’s tutorial.

And that was where I went wrong.

I often feel like I have to take two steps backwards in order to make one step of forward progress with my art.  This piece was one such step backwards.  The profile went badly wrong, her head becoming smooshed in its proportions.  It reminded me of the way in which I went wrong with the profile of Zebra Woman in my Altered Book of Monsters.  Note to self: must practice profiles more often.  I do like the puddly, mixing, liquidy background – one of the elements I took from the tutorial – but otherwise this piece is consigned to my “I learn from my mistakes” pile.

7 Maat