Rainbow Art Journal – Night and Day

I rarely ever work across two art journal pages.  The fact that I use a spiral bound journal does not lend itself to double spreads.  I thought, however, that I might attempt a sort of diptych, two pieces on two different pages but somehow visually linked.  I am glad I tried something new but the results didn’t leave me feeling I had accomplished much.  There is a strong visual connection between the two pages, which could be regarded as a success.  I introduced colour in order to differentiate between the two pages.  One of my kids suggested the idea of blue and yellow to represent night and day so I opted for those colours but otherwise did not pursue the idea of different lighting conditions.  I wanted to maintain the monochromatic theme and to connect the figures through use of silhouette.  Not being overly keen on the outcome of this pair of paintings, I kept circling back to these pages in my art journal, adding a tiny bit more here and there.  But I have now reached a point where I no longer feel inspired to tinker with the pages and want to call these pages done and set them by.  So done they are.

6a Night & Day

6b Night & Day

6c Night & Day

 

 

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Twilight Garden

Last week’s Let’s Face It lesson was with Regina Lord.  The current focus is on incorporating hands into paintings of faces and figures and this particular lesson was an approach to painting a figure in acrylic.  I find drawing hands to be difficult so I knew painting a hand in acrylic was going to prove challenging for me.

I really liked the dreamscape quality of Lord’s tutorial exemplar so I tried to emulate that in my painting.  I think I ended up with something that has a sort of naive or folksy quality to it.  That is most definitely the best element of this painting.  I feel like I am not making much progress with learning to use acrylic paint.  I am definitely better at drawing and at using ink and watercolour for illustration type art than I am at using acrylic and attempting a more painterly approach.  I am still enjoying exploring something that for me is still fairly new but I definitely am not making progress at a rate I would have hoped for.  I do find trying new things and challenging myself to be stimulating, however, so I will keep beavering away and trying my best.

Week 34 Twilight Garden

Road Trip #20 – Monuments at Night

After a restful and cooling break in the hotel, we headed back out for the evening.  Our plan was to show the boys some of Washington DC’s monuments by night because they look quite different when artificially lit compared to how they appear in daylight and also because it is less busy at night and you can sometimes get a better view as a result.

After a bit of a kerfuffle that caused a delayed departure, we emerged from the metro station late enough in the evening that rats were scuttling all over the place.  From journeying on the London Underground late at night, I am familiar with seeing manky rodents on the tracks but these rats were confidently barging past travellers.  While everyone else was recoiling, my kids thought it was so cool to see such big rats.  They wanted to stay near to the metro station to study them and befriend them.  Nope.  Move on.

First stop was the Washington Monument.  It was positively glowing against the night sky. The kids had seen it during the day two years before but agreed it was quite different to see it at night.  Mr Pict and the kids lay down on the ground with their legs leaning against the Monument’s sides in order to achieve a worm’s eye view.

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Then we tramped across the grass of the Mall, which was not the best idea actually since it was very boggy and uneven underfoot and I managed to fall into a hole.  We popped out at the National World War II Memorial, one we had also visited two years before.  It really did look different at night.  The granite pillars were somehow more assertive when lit against the night sky and the fountains seemed to sparkle and dance.  I noted on my previous visit and it was the case again on this visit that people were permitting their children to wade in the water of the Memorial and even some adults were sitting on the side with their feet dangling in the water.  While I can appreciate the temptation on a sultry, sticky evening, a Memorial to those who fought and died in the Second World War is truly not the place to cool off.

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We emerged from the World War II Memorial and headed off to visit Abe Lincoln.  We were being eaten alive by mosquitoes hovering over the reflecting pool so were disgruntled as well as tired by the time we reached the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  The littlest Pict’s energy levels were flagging so I stayed with him while the older boys trekked up the steps to see the statue, my 10 year old taking my DSLR so that he could take some photos of his favourite President looking thoughtful and wise.

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Next up and just a short stroll away was the Korean War Veterans Memorial.  This was particularly haunting to view at night.  The main feature of the Memorial is a triangle of juniper bushes containing steel statues of 19 military personnel on patrol.  Something about them being surrounded by pitch darkness, their feet being consumed by a dense carpet of foliage, their expressions alert and pensive, made the Memorial even more arresting.

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The plan had been to take the boys to see the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, which I have actually only ever visited at night, and then out to the Jefferson Memorial.  The latter was always ambitious and had been pretty much written off by the delay in embarking on our evening foray into the city centre but sadly we also had to jettison a visit to FDR because the kids were sapped of energy, the little one was half asleep and was shambling like a zombie, and we wanted to call a halt to things before they all started snarling and grumping.  We were, therefore, about to set off back to the metro station when Mr Pict suggested we get an Uber back to the hotel.  My thriftiness made me argue for a return journey on the metro but the prospect of an air conditioned car journey meant I was outvoted by all the male Picts.  I, therefore, got to experience my first ever Uber journey and experience my kids falling asleep in the car of a random stranger.

Soaring through the Night Sky

I should not be surprised that I keep falling behind with Life Book lessons given it is the summer break and I have four kids at home to entertain and chores galore – because kids at home create more mess.  Furthermore, my art time is being invested in working on my History of Art project with the kids.  Still, you know me: Control Freak.  I cannot stand not being on schedule for very long so I had to find time to catch up.

The first lesson I caught up on was one taken by Tamara Laporte.  The thrust of the lesson was about celebrating wisdom and rising above limiting beliefs and negative thoughts.  This was to be visually represented by a soaring figure and various mixed media techniques were demonstrated in the tutorial.  It took me days of stop-start viewing to watch the video tutorial and at one point my 9 year old glanced at the laptop and commented that the exemplar made him think of Nyx.  That was the seed that then germinated in my mind’s eye throughout the rest of the tutorial and by the time I was ready to start painting I decided I was going to paint Nyx, the Greek goddess of the Night.

I used Neocolor II crayons, acrylic paint and Inktense pencils to create my response to this lesson.  I am particularly pleased with how the colours in the background bled in to one another and the spattering with the metallic blue and silver paints.

Week 32 - Soaring Figure

Burn’s Night

Today is the birthday of Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet.  I have celebrated Burns’ Night every year of my life as far as I can recollect.  When I was at Primary School, we used to get haggis, neeps and tatties and a glass of Irn Bru for school dinners.  When I was in Halls of Residence at University, I recited ‘Tam O’Shanter’ as part of the evening’s celebrations.  In a later year at University, I helped organise a Burns’ Night supper.  It is part of my culture as a Scot to celebrate Burns’ night and I also happen to love Burns’ poetry quite independently of any patriotism.  Around the globe, the Scots diaspora will today be piping, slicing into steaming haggis, reciting poetry and singing songs and quaffing whisky.  Unfortunately I will not be among them.  I totally brain-farted and left it too late to research where I might get my mitts on some haggis and some vegetarian haggis here in America.  So tonight  I will still read some Burns poems to the kids but Mr Pict and the boys will be having spaghetti bolognese and I will be having some other type of pasta.  I’m sure Rabbie would have approved.

I have lots of favourite Burns’ poems, depending on which mood I am in, but right now as I type this blog this one is top of the heap.  It is actually a beautiful song as well as being a lovely poem so if you are not familiar with it I recommend you go and find someone singing it on YouTube.

 

 

Green Grow The Rashes

Green grow the rashes , O;

Green grow the rashes , O;

The sweetest hours that e’er I spend,

Are spent amang the lasses, O.

There’s nought but care on ev’ry han’ ,

In ev’ry hour that passes, O:

What signifies the life o’ man,

An’ ’twere na for the lasses, O.

Green grow the rashes , O;

Green grow the rashes , O;

The sweetest hours that e’er I spend,

Are spent amang the lasses, O.

The war’ly race may riches chase, –

An’ riches still may fly them, O;

An’ tho’ at last they catch them fast,

Their hearts can ne’er enjoy them, O.

Green grow the rashes , O;

Green grow the rashes , O;

The sweetest hours that e’er I spend,

Are spent amang the lasses, O.

But gie me a cannie hour at e’en ,

My arms about my dearie, O;

An’ war’ly cares, an’ war’ly men,

May a’ gae tapsalteerie , O!

Green grow the rashes , O;

Green grow the rashes , O;

The sweetest hours that e’er I spend,

Are spent amang the lasses, O.

For you sae douce , ye sneer at this;

Ye’re nought but senseless asses, O:

The wisest man the warl’ e’er saw ,

He dearly lov’d the lasses, O.

Green grow the rashes , O;

Green grow the rashes , O;

The sweetest hours that e’er I spend,

Are spent amang the lasses, O.

Auld Nature swears, the lovely dears

Her noblest work she classes, O:

Her prentice han’ she try’d on man,

An’ then she made the lasses, O.

Green grow the rashes , O;

Green grow the rashes , O;

The sweetest hours that e’er I spend,

Are spent amang the lasses, O.

Cat’s Eyes

Driving in the dark the other night, I suddenly realised I was having to concentrate really hard in order to make out the road markings and it dawned on me: no cat’s eyes!  Now maybe this is just a PA thing rather than an America wide thing but I was a wee bit taken aback by the lack of cat’s eyes in the road surface just because I am so used to having them there to provide guidance as to the road markings when there is no other light source but the car’s own headlight beams.  Just in case you don’t know, reader, cat’s eyes are pods of reflective glass set into the road surface so that they shine when hit by the car’s headlights and they are not only laid out in line with the road markings but the colour of the cat’s eyes indicates the type of marking – lane, slip road, hard shoulder.  I had not realised I was habituated to using them to navigate roads at night until I no longer had them.  

In other driving news, I still have not even contemplated driving on the wrong side of the road.  However, I have discovered that my reverse parking sucks because my spatial awareness for reverse parking has always been from the other side of the car.  It is just as well American parking spaces are wide because I end up squint each and every time.  It doesn’t bode well for my ability to parallel park given that I was pretty sucky at that even in the UK.  And that in turn does not bode well for my ability to pass a driving test here.  I may have to cruise around industrial estates in the evening in order to practice just as I did when I was 17.  It’s weird being catapulted backwards in experience levels in such ways.