An Art Journal Adventure prompt that I missed while on vacation was “Mystery”. I liked how vague that prompt was as it let my creative imagination wander around all sorts of possibilities. Since I was on vacation with no art supplies, I also had time to mull it over. By the time I sat down at my table to create something in my art journal, I had decided that my response would be on the subject of “red herrings”, those distracting clues in many a mystery novel or movie. I decided to make the metaphor literal and illustrate a can full of red herring. Of course, my fish do not resemble herring and are just the product of my imagination but I think the allusion is clear.
This week’s Documented Life Project challenge was to use inks and the phrase was “before the ink was dry”. I love working with ink, it’s my preferred medium, so I was happy with the prompt. The trouble was deciding what to do with it.
In the end I decided to draw a portrait so that I could experience the personal challenge of improving my ability to draw faces. I settled on a portrait of Abraham Lincoln because this month was the 150th anniversary of the end of the American Civil War and of Lincoln’s assassination. I chose to base my drawing on Alexander Gardner’s 1865 portrait of the President, when he looks careworn, weathered and exhausted, sinking under the weight of the War that defined his presidency. My drawing makes him look more alert and assured than the photograph but I think I captured Lincoln’s features. I enjoyed drawing it because the proportions of Lincoln’s face are so interesting.
I drew the portrait onto watercolour paper and I have not yet decided how to incorporate it into my art journal, whether to simply fix it in or whether to create some sort of background or border. I will have to ponder that a little more.
The Documented Life Project’s theme continued to be doodles and this week’s prompts were to make a custom element and “Ride the energy of your own unique spirit”, attributed to Gabrielle Roth who I have never heard of I’m afraid. I do try to conform to the parameters of the prompts, to create a direct response to at least one of them, but this week I did go off piste a bit. Between my trip to New York City, Mr Pict being away in California and the kids being on Spring break, I just had to get cracking with a page regardless of not having had an idea emerge from reading the prompts.
I decided to ignore the quotation and, since I have somewhat exhausted my repertoire of doodles, I decided to interpret the idea of custom doodling a bit differently. I decided that custom doodling could be interpreted as very quick sketching as the mark making involved is somewhat akin to doodling. Since I had just returned from my trip to New York City where I saw the Statue of Liberty, I decided that Liberty would be the subject of my page. I could not sketch in the field, of course, but I did the next best thing which was to give myself a very short period of time in which to sketch out a study of Liberty from my photographs.
I started by getting some colour down onto my page which I did with two colours of Dylusions ink sprays. I then put down some very rough pencil lines just to help my placement of elements on the page. Then I got my India ink and dip pen out and gave myself just a couple of minutes to sketch Liberty’s head and hand clasping the torch. I then added some watercolour pencil for shading around the face and fingers. I am quite pleased with how the page turned out.