The next page in the blue section of my Rainbow Art Journal was an almost blank slate. Apart from some small scrapings of leftover blue paint, all it contained was a wine label containing the word “Wonderful”. That label became my starting point for constructing a column comprising odds and ends of washi tape. The column then became the herma-esque body form for a female figure. Having painted the background a solid blue, I decided her hairstyle should take the shape of a simplified cloud. I think she has emerged with a bit of a silent screen actress look.
This next page in the blue section of my Rainbow Art Journal was actually created back in February. It was made with the contents of that month’s Art Snacks box. I received blue and green products so I decided to produce an illustration of an Air Sprite. The blue of her clothing is an acrylic ink and the colour of her hair was actually produced by diluting the pigment from a metallic green marker. That same marker has a nib that produces dots of varying sizes depending on the pressure placed on it. As you can see, I had a lot of fun creating those dots.
Having just committed to getting back into the swing of making regular time for art and sharpening my skills again, I quickly lapsed because of a nigh impossible schedule. I literally had to make a spreadsheet titled “Schedule Hell” in order to navigate all of the many schedule clash problems I had to resolve. Essentially I need to be able to clone myself or develop teleportation. Since I suck at STEM, I just get to be burned out from the stress of having to be in multiple places at once.
Anyway, this is the page I managed to complete in my Rainbow Art Journal because the blue background was ready and waiting for me. This background is the result of painting leftover acrylic from other projects onto the page in a haphazard way. Since I enjoy drawing inaccurate skeletons, I decided to attempt a whale. The proportions are actually wackier than even I intended but that’s OK.
I feel like I have been working on my Rainbow Art Journal for an eternity. I definitely work on this project in fits and starts with long periods of neglect. Deciding it was time I got those mixed media muscles working again, I cracked open my Rainbow Art Journal and play around with some acrylic – a medium I have not used in months.
I am still malingering in the blue section of the Art Journal. I don’t think I am even half way through the pages yet but finally getting to the end of the blue section will, I suspect, feel like movement*. Blue often makes me think of sea and sky so that is what inspired this illustration of a lighthouse. It did not take me long to recognise the extent to which my painting skills have atrophied due to an extended period of not practicing. The results are ugly. It’s a very rough and patchy page and my lines are very wonky and wobbly, even by my own standards. It was tempting to give everything an additional coat of paint and start over but a) I did not have the time available and b) I figured it would be a place marker in my Art Journal, demarcating where I returned to the project and started over, and therefore provide a measure of the progress I can make from this point forward.
*A check of my blog reveals that I embarked on the blue section in September of last year. Even more staggering is the fact that I started the whole Rainbow Art Journal in January of 2017. I really am tortoising my way through this project!
I have accidentally established a tradition in my Rainbow Art Journal whereby each colour section contains an illustration of some kind of sprite-like creature. For the blue section, I was thinking of water. I drew a figure who is drenched in water (or, as I would say in Scots, “drookit”), her body morphing into a puddle on the floor, her hair dripping across her face.
Another completed page in the blue section of my Rainbow Art Journal. This one was easy to finish up because I actually drew the original in March of 2020 – which feels like years ago now – in response to an Art Snacks challenge. I had drawn it in the blue section of the art journal thinking the media I had received were, well, much more blue than they turned out to be. They were far too green and it was annoying me that I had misjudged the colours and stuffed up the colour theme in the sketchbook. I had, therefore, walked away from it for a while – which turned out to be a long while – to come up with a solution. I was so annoyed with myself initially that I considered covering up the whole thing and starting over with essentially a new substrate but I loved that graphite watercolour and the way it had dried in puddles far too much to cover that up. My solution in the end was a quick and easy one so I could call this page “done” and move on: I simply layered some blue ink washes over some of the most green areas of the illustration to knock them back. It is definitely a blue-green piece but that’s acceptable to me.
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.
Over Winter break, I have picked up my Rainbow Art Journal again. I am determined to get it finished this year. It has been one of those projects I have dipped in and out of for far too long. It’s time to wrap it up.
This page is my first attempt at properly using gouache. I was gifted a set of gouache paints for my birthday in November and I finally found time to start experimenting with them. I am a natural born pessimist and not given to self-confidence but I daftly thought I would take to gouache. I assumed it would be close enough to watercolour that I would have a sense for how to work it and apply it. Spoiler alert: I was wrong. The gouache does not react to water in the same way that watercolour paint does. Being thicker, it was harder for me to dilute it in a way that was pleasing. I got lots of ugly streaks. It was also harder for me to work with the brush. I am used to being able to gently encourage watercolour and ink into edges and shapes but I had to be more forceful with the gouache.
I kept my first experiment simple, a silly little doodle of a selfie, because my focus was on the application of the paint rather than the outcome of a finished illustration. As first experiments go, it is not a disaster but nor is it as proficient as I hoped it would be. That’s OK though. That’s what my art journals are for.
I have been neglecting my art journals these past several months because all of my art time has been focused on my Star Wars character challenge. I have especially been neglecting my Rainbow Art Journal, a project I really should have completed by now whereas in actuality I don’t think I am even half way through. This month’s Art Snacks box, however, contained a colour palette that was perfect for transitioning out of the green section of that journal and into the blue. On the theme of transitions, this weekend was really the first feeling of Autumn nipping at the heels of Summer. After a hot and humid Summer, we have had some misty, chilly mornings and I actually donned an extra layer of clothing. Maybe that was what inspired me to sketch out a figure being blown in the wind.
I actually completed this page in my Rainbow Art Journal ages ago. I started drafting this blog post, must have been interrupted, saved it to drafts, and then my brain did a combination of forgetting about it and misremembering by thinking I had actually published the post. My mixed media art journals have been very neglected lately while I have been focused on my Star Wars illustration challenge so finding this blog post is a useful reminder to me to crack open the supplies and get experimenting again.
I wanted to experiment with green and pink but I honestly have no idea what was in my head when I sketched out the subject matter. I guess I do have female figures with herma type torsos and skeletal elements in my “go to” list of art motifs so it is not completely out of left field. The exposed rib cage then made me think of the exposed veins of skeletal leaves and so I had my idea for the whole composition. I took this photo when the light was dull and flat which is making the pink photograph as being a little too purple but in reality it is a sort of bubblegum pink.