Rainbow Art Journal – Rust and Bone

I had to redeem myself and my art journal after the hideous beetle page so I returned to what for me is apparently a favourite subject – skeleton women.  I have no idea what in my psyche or imagination keeps compelling me to illustrate these skeletal ladies.  I just go with it.  This one was an experiment with a colour palette of orange, rusty red, and teal.  I like the combination and can see me using it again.  While the orange and red suggest rust, the teal suggests verdigris so they all work together quite well thematically as well as in terms of colour.

26 - Rust and Bone

I probably won’t return to either of my art journals for the rest of this month because I am going to be consumed with other art projects.  I am still filling my Brooklyn Art Library sketchbook with zombies and I am also participating in Drawlloween.  I have joined in with Inktober the past couple of years but this year I decided to push myself out of the habit of just doing ink linework illustrations by joining in with Drawlloween.  I am working bigger than in previous years and I am adding colour.  That’s the plan anyway.  You can follow the results of both of these projects on my other blog, Pict Ink, or on Instagram.

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Rainbow Art Journal – Beetle

Peaks and valleys.  Rough and smooth.  Successes and failures.  Not every experiment in my art journal is going to be a success.  Indeed, most are probably lacking in some way but that’s acceptable to me because they are just experiments and my art journals are for relaxation and play.  Some pages, however, are just abject failures.  This is one such page.  I almost didn’t blog about it because it is so bad but every failure is a learning opportunity so here it is.

My Rainbow Art Journal is a work in progress, evolving all the time.  Some pages I complete from start to finish but others are more dynamic and shifting, emerging from leftover paint smooshed here, scraps of collage pasted there, until ultimately I decide what to do with that page.  This page had had lots of red, yellow, and orange paint scraped onto it.  I had also had to slap on some washi tape to reinforce the perforations.  It was a pretty ugly base layer but it was something to work on.  Incidentally, the background colour is much more orange than it appears in the photo.  I think the metallics throw the camera off.  Anyway, unfortunately I didn’t manage to lose the ugly.  I painted on a beetle in a pearlescent yellow.  The shimmer was nice but the whole thing looked washed out in comparison to the background colours.  I, therefore, smudged on some gold to make the beetle a bit warmer in hue and add yet more shimmer.  The idiom “You can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear” came to mind.  I added some ink and some paint pen for detailing.  Nope.  Still ugly.  That’s when I decided that I hated this page and that I was investing no more time in it.  Time to abandon it and call it quits.  On to new and hopefully better pages.

25 - Beetle

 

Rainbow Art Journal – Flame Sprite

In addition to being a place for creative play and experimentation, I am aiming for my Rainbow Art Journal to be a record of what I can do with the various art materials and media I own.  This page, therefore, is a record of how three of the Jane Davenport Mermaid Markers interact with each other.  Consequently, I knew that I wanted to produce an illustration that was splotchy and liquidy and involved puddles and blossoms of pigment.  I decided that flame would be the perfect subject for such an experiment in the orange section of the journal so I chose to draw a flame sprite.  The page got very wrinkled from all the liquid media but I am happy with the final outcome.  I think she is a pleasing wee character and I got some lovely interactions between the different watercolour markers.

 

24 Flame Sprite

Rainbow Art Journal – Sunset over the Harbour Village

When it comes to subjects for my art, I am always drawn to faces and figures or monsters or anthropomorphised animals.  What I really don’t tend to touch upon is botanicals, still life, or landscapes.  I decided, therefore, to challenge myself to produce a landscape in the orange section of my Rainbow Art Journal.  Having grown up in Fife, I thought of the orange pantiles that adorn the roofs in villages like Culross – a result of the tiles initially being imported as ballast.  I grew up in the post-war new town of Glenrothes but always enjoyed visiting the fishing villages of the East Neuk so I decided to illustrate a harbour village in my art journal.  There is zero verisimilitude in my illustration and I didn’t use any photo references so my buildings are all a fusion of memory and imagination.  Landscape is definitely not my thing but I really enjoyed creating this page.  I don’t even care that the scale is bonkers, including monstrous seagulls.  Maybe I will force myself to do landscapes more frequently.

23 Sunset over the Harbour Village

Rainbow Art Journal – Peaches and Cream

This page is another example of me cannibalising my own work and seeing if I can regurgitate it in a different way or using a different media.  The basis for this page is an ink and watercolour illustration I produced as part of a challenge to produce 100 faces.  I decided to attempt reproducing the face but using mixed media.  The orange background has photographed a little brighter than it actually is.  In reality it is closer to an apricot hue, hence me titling this page “peaches and cream” for the contrast between that orange shade and the white disc that frames the head.  I also kept the skin tones quite pale which means she could be said to have a peaches and cream complexion.

22  Peaches and Cream

Rainbow Art Journal – Fantastic Mr Fox

Roald Dahl’s ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ was one of the first chapter books I ever read to myself and I absolutely loved it.  I would often return to it, as an old friend, when I was mooching around for something to read.  I thought it would be apt, therefore, for Mr Fox to appear in the orange section of my Rainbow Art Journal.  I started with a layer of “newsprint” deli paper, partly as a nod to Mr Fox’s textual origins but mostly to cover up some messy ink mess that had bled through from the other side of the page.  The painting of Mr Fox took me no time at all, probably 20 minutes in total, broken down into painting as base layer and then another small dollop of time in which to add some shading and detail.    Having been executed in a bit of a rush, he’s not my best effort but he’ll do.

21 Fantastic Mr Fox

Rainbow Art Journal – Orange Ink

I had not done much in my Rainbow Art Journal since March so I decided to use some free time to start and finish a page in one sitting.  I turned to a blank page in the orange sector, got out some orange drawing ink and some black India ink, a pot of water, and got to work.  My intention had been to keep things loose because that is something I find to be challenging.  I started out well and it is possible to detect the areas where I let the ink puddle and run and dribble.  I struggle with abstraction because I don’t know how to balance the elements and create focus so I decided I would carve a figure out of the ink.  Of course, inevitably, I ended up with a too tight illustration as a result.  Fail!  Ugh.  Maybe I should just give up trying to work in a loose, uninhibited, less intentional way.

20 Orange Ink