Thank goodness this is absolutely the last page in my Rainbow Art Journal plastered in collage. As I did with the Flying Pig, I decided to keep the illustration very simple. This is partly because I no longer enjoy the challenge of painting over collage, partly because I did not want to commit too much time to completing this page, and partly because experience has taught me that keeping shapes blocky and limiting layers works best. I share my art table with my two cats. It is situated in the sunniest corner of my kitchen so, of course, while I like the position because of the natural light, the cats like it because they can snooze in the warm sunshine. They often, therefore, watch my while I am at work at my art table and I suspect they are critiquing me. That is what inspired the subject of this page. I suspect my two cats would have scathing feedback about this illustration. I agree with their assessment but I am just glad to have finished off this page so I can move on and not have to deal with a collage substrate again.
paint over collage
Rainbow Art Journal – Flying Pig
When I declared “never again” to the idea of painting over collage, I neglected to remember that I had been pasting random scraps of collage materials throughout pages in my rainbow art journal. I, therefore, have to experience the challenge of working with collage as a substrate a few more times before I finally close this art journal.
This page of pink scraps and book pages was at least fairly flat as I had glued it down while my matte medium was still in a smooth and pliable state. Given the challenges of painting over collage, I decided to create an illustration that involved chunky shapes, something whimsical without much detail. The result was this flying pig. While it was not intentional, the “clothing” on the torso is reminiscent of the Disney version of Piglet.
Rainbow Art Journal – Wonky House at Twilight
I seem to be cycling through a number of mixed media methodologies and, though it was subconscious, I think I am testing myself to see which skills I have retained and which I have lost but – more importantly – what techniques I still enjoy.
This is my first attempt at paint over really basic collage in a good while and – ooft! – I have definitely gotten rough. What did not help me at all was the fact that, through lack of use, my gel matte medium has gotten really thick and unyielding. I kept at it because I didn’t have a reasonable alternative available and because I thought the rough texture it was creating might be fun to work with. I was wrong. Not only did it create an awful texture, I was also working on this on a really humid day so everything began to wrinkle and warp. Honestly, had I not had a decent illustration on the reverse of this page, I probably would have ripped it out and binned it. Maybe if I persevered I could pull it out of the ugly phase? Nope. It stayed ugly.
I like the concept of a little white house beneath a glowing moon in a landscape using this colour palette but otherwise I pretty much detest this page in my Rainbow Art Journal. However, I have to accept the bad and the ugly if I also want to achieve the good along the way. It is all experimentation. And one important thing I have gleaned from returning to this technique is that I no longer find it interesting. While I will no doubt still build some collage elements into my mixed media dabblings, I am really not interested in paint over collage any more. And knowing that has real value in terms of knowing how to invest my art time.
Rainbow Art Journal – Capuchon
This is the other page in my Rainbow Art Journal that I completed over Winter break. The page was covered in all sorts of collaged odds and ends. Essentially any scrap of blue leftover from another project, any blue postage stamp, any interesting labels ended up adhered to this page. One prominent label was from a wine bottle and the name of it – Capuchon – gave me the idea for the illustration. I made the hat wonky because that asymmetry is something I enjoy and the side benefit of the floppy brim was that I only had to draw one eye. No challenge of creating two matching eyes.
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.
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.
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.
Rainbow Art Journal – Valley Cottage
I had this page that was covered in smears and spatters of leftover green paint, washi tape, and offcuts of origami paper. I had placed the collage elements with the intention of them eventually becoming some sort of landscape. Once I began to draw lines around the patches, the drawing started to take form and I had the idea of where the cottage should be placed within the scene. The finished piece is reminiscent of a journal page I created in 2017 and a page from the orange section of this rainbow art journal. I guess this is my style and approach to landscapes.
Rainbow Art Journal – Lemon and Lime
This page is another example of me plagiarizing myself because I sketched this up from an ink and watercolour illustration I did just over three years ago. It is always interesting to see how I translate the same (or similar) drawing between mediums. This mixed media version was also an experiment in using a lemon yellow and lime green palette. I think the combination is as fresh as you would expect from citrus inspiration. I suspect it would have more zing to it if not dulled down with the flesh tones. I am finding that I really like to use text papers in my mixed media pieces. Maybe it is my love of books and reading but I also just like the sort of mark-making quality it contributes, all those shapes and forms.
Rainbow Art Journal – Yellow Bubbles
This was a page that I had gradually filled with scraps of yellow hued collage – including scraps of origami paper, images from cookery magazines, photographs from National Geographic. I sketched in a figure over the top of the collage and then painted the negative spaces in a lemon acrylic so that the background became covered in bubble shapes that revealed the collage layer beneath. When it comes to the figure, I was plagiarizing myself again since I copied her from an ink and watercolour drawing from over two years ago. I prefer that original version but it is fun to translate an illustration into a different medium and see what differences emerge.
I had oral surgery just over a week ago – annoyingly two days before I took my Oath of Citizenship – and unfortunately experienced some complications which have prolonged my recovery process and caused an exceptional degree of pain. I am trying to be stoic but it has been really pretty miserable. I am very much looking forward to being pain free and being able to eat foods that are not liquid. Consequently, I have not been able to do much or accomplish much but I did think that some time spent pootling around at my art table would be restorative.
Not having much capacity for creative mojo in my current state, I decided to use a couple of Art Journal Adventure prompts to create an art journal page. I chose one involving altering an existing image and one that was the letter Q. I used a page out of a fashion catalogue as my starting point. The previous owner of our house must have been a big catalogue shopper as we still get loads of them in the mail, addressed to the occupant of the house, most of which I plop straight into the recycling bin but some I keep as collage fodder. I filled the gaps around the selected image with more scraps of catalogue page and some washi tape. Then it was time to add paint and start altering the image.
I decided that Q was be for Queen and from there I decided to make the figure a Queen Bee. Given the context of my physical condition, I kept things super simple. Just a layer of paint, enough to alter the image and suggest the bee idea. I had some washi tape with gold hexagons on it which was perfect for this project since the gold tied into the crown and the hexagons suggested honeycomb. And that was that. Quick. Simple. Done. And a welcome distraction from my agonising jaw.
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