Last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was “music”. I love music and as a family we listen to music a lot. I listen to music when I am doing household chores as a distraction from the boredom and monotony and I also listen to music when I am sitting at my art table creating. The struggle, therefore, was trying to condense such a wide ranging theme into an art journal page. Some weeks I want for inspiration and other weeks I have so many ideas bouncing around in my head that I simply cannot focus and determine which would be worth distilling into a visual page. I decided, therefore, that I would base my art journal page on the very next piece of music I heard. That so happened to be my two youngest sons singing ‘Blackbird’ by The Beatles.
‘Blackbird’ was the perfect selection because there was automatically an obvious and strong visual element for the page – the blackbird itself. I created a neutral, muted background by scraping paint across the page using an old hotel key card. Then I painted the black body of the bird. Then my week got massively busy and I did not add to the page for almost an entire week. Happily, on Sunday I had my monthly meet up with some other local art journallers. That then gave me a block of time on which to work on this page (and another) but it also meant I was limited to using portable art materials. The rest of the page, therefore, was created using Posca paint pens. I wish I had used a ruler to organise the text on the page. How many years now have I stated that I will work on my typography? Some day.
This page of my art journal was inspired by my very own ruby slippers. I bought a pair of red, sequinned, cosy, comfy slippers a couple of months ago and I premiered them on my feet on Oscars night. Nowadays I watch the Academy Awards while wearing my jammies so the sparkly slippers were my nod to red carpet glamour. I love ‘The Wizard of Oz’ which was why I had to have the pair of ruby slippers for my feet in the first place. Oddly, however, Oz only crops up ever so often in my art work. Possibly my favourite illustration in my altered book was of one of the Witch’s flying monkeys wearing ruby slippers. Anyway, that was the inspiration for the page. It does not show very well in the photograph but there is metallic red on the shoes to make them glint and glimmer, as close to a suggestion of rubies as I could muster with my supplies. I framed the illustration with text and regret that I did not map it out before I started writing because, clearly, I got the spacing and composition of the typography out of kilter. But that is OK because I am only playing in my art journal.
Continuing with the monochrome black and white theme in my Rainbow themed art journal, I decided to challenge myself to work in white on top of black. I did not have a subject in mind as I loaded the black acrylic on to the pages and actually cannot remember if anything in particular sparked the idea but I decided to draw an illustration of a female Death figure. I opted against using pencil to sketch anything in so I worked directly in paint pen and gel pen to build up the figure, shape by shape, piece by piece. The lack of pencil scaffolding meant that some of my proportions went skew-wiff (the arm on the right is too long) but otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed the freedom and spontaneity of working directly in pen and piecing all of the fragments together into one whole. I did, however, completely use up my broader tipped paint pen so I really put the tools through a work out. It took me a few sessions of drawing to complete it but it was a relaxing activity.
This is a self-portrait of my arm. I drew around my hand and arm to create the outline and then filled it with a mixture of white gesso and Stabilo All pencil to create and to capture the shapes and shades of my hand and arm. After that, I was stuck. The painting of the limb alone, surrounded by black, was too dull but I had a creative block and didn’t know what to do with it. I, therefore, left it for a few days waiting for inspiration to strike. I even asked some art friends for advice but I knew I could not pull off their suggestions. In the end, I just picked up a paint pen and doodled one evening while dinner was cooking. One of my sons said, “I see what you did there: vines instead of veins.” I wish I had been that clever but, nope, just random doodles. The stamped words – grow and thrive – were an afterthought but I think they help pull the whole thing together. Not my best effort but it was good to practice creating tones with the Stabilo All pencil and the gesso.