Rainbow Art Journal – Fire and Ash

This art journal page was really an exploration of ways to create visual texture.  My inspiration was a painting I did for Life Book last year because I like the visual imagery of flame and ash.  I actually thought to take progress shots of this art journal page so I can show the different stages of its creation.  I started with a really simple line drawing.

19a Fire and Ash

To create the background texture, I scraped some orange paint onto the page with an old hotel room card.  I then used that same card to lift up some of the paint from the page so that it created some texture, sort of feathering and ripples.  To create the texture on the torso, I painted it black and then layered some red paint over the top.  Before the red paint had fully dried, I pressed down some damp paper onto the surface so that it lifted up some of the paint and created a visual texture that I hoped would be reminiscent of charring.

19c Fire and Ash

The final element of visual texture was my old friend spatter.  I spattered some black and red paint to create the idea of ash and embers floating upwards from the flames.

19d Fire and Ash

I liked the effect of all of the techniques I used in this page.  It might be a bit much that I used them all at once but maybe it works for my thematic purposes.  I am definitely pleased that the finished page still resembles my initial sketch as  that has not always been the case.

19e Fire and Ash

19f Fire and Ash

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Rainbow Art Journal – Lobster Girl

Maybe it was because I recently collaged a lobster into an art journal page or maybe it is my fondness for all things monstrous, but the next subject in my Rainbow Art Journal turned out to be a Lobster Girl.  It’s the page where I am transitioning between red and orange so I guess that combination of colours sparked my imagination and set it off in that direction.  Whatever the inspiration, when I put pencil to paper, this was the illustration that emerged.

18a Lobster Girl

18b Lobster Girl

Rainbow Art Journal – Red Column Woman

Someone asked me recently if I ever return to past works and have another stab at them in order to apply sharpened skills or a more developed style.  I do return time and again to certain subjects – zombies, Red Riding Hood, skeletal elements, mythology – but I don’t generally have another crack at a past artwork.  I thought, however, that maybe it could be an interesting exercise to take a few works in a medium I am more comfortable with -namely ink and watercolour – and try depicting the exact same subject using mixed media.  I decided to use some of my illustrations from my 100 Faces challenge.

First up for the experiment was my 85th drawing in the series, which I had titled “Confidence”.  I chose it largely because I was working in the red section of my Rainbow Art Journal and I had remembered how much I liked the effect of the bold red ink pooling and puddling.  I also chose it because it was an illustration I actually really liked in the series.  I lost the more diagonal composition, which I definitely prefer, and I think the new version of the face looks more sullen and bored than confident.  I am also not happy with that busy, blotchy background and may paint that out at some stage.  However, as first experiments go, it is not such a failure that I will abandon the whole enterprise.  Not just yet anyway.

17 Red Column Woman

Rainbow Art Journal – Masque of the Red Death

Since visiting two of Edgar Allan Poe’s former houses recently, I wanted to include something Poe-inspired in my Rainbow Art Journal.  So, still focusing on the red section, I decided to create a page inspired by the story ‘The Masque of the Red Death’.  I enjoy working with a limited colour palette and that was true of this page which is restricted to just red, black, and white.  You may have noted that I also return fairly regularly to the subject of skulls and skeletons.  I don’t think I am generally a macabre person; I just find that sort of thing fascinating.  I am fairly pleased with how this page turned out.  It was a struggle to maintain the proportions across the two pages and ultimately I failed to do so but I think the illustration still works.  Just.  I use spiral bound journals for convenience but they definitely hinder my ability with double page spreads, that’s for sure.  Still, I like the finished pages enough that I may use them as inspiration for a proper painting at some stage.

16a Masque of the Red Death

16b Masque of the Red Death

Rainbow Art Journal – Visions of Lobster and Berries

It has been months since I completed a page in my Rainbow Art Journal but the winter break afforded me the opportunity to sit at my art table while my kids played video games or otherwise kept themselves occupied.  This particular page has been progressing for a good couple of months now as I just kept adding on layers of collage and then of paint.

The background is a photo (by Yan Gao) from a National Geographic magazine depicting an aerial view of a town in Tibet.  I thought the pattern of red roofs might prove to be an interesting background to a page in the red section of my Rainbow Art Journal.  I then glued down a random face cut from a magazine, some raspberries, red butterfly wings and a lobster just to add to the red theme.  Apart from ensuring the face was central, it was all placed in a pretty haphazard way.  It then sat at that stage for many weeks until I could return to it and practice painting over collage.

15a Visions of Lobster and Berries

It is interesting to me that the face ended up so flat.  Having started with a photograph of a face as my scaffolding, one would assume that the face painted on top of it would be similar.  I suspect I layered the paint too thickly and lost all sense of there even having been a face below.  The wings and berries became a sort of headdress or headband and the lobster became a sort of outsized brooch I suppose – unless we choose to imagine that the woman is being attacked by a lobster.  I painted the lobster a more vivid red, however, so he’d have to be an undead zombie lobster attacking the figure.

15b Visions of Lobster and Berries

Not a very successful page by any measure then but I am glad to have finally completed this page after the journal being untouched and the page having been in stasis for so long.  Onward and hopefully upward.

Rainbow Art Journal – Puff Sleeves

It’s been ages since I completed a page in my Rainbow Art Journal.  I think perhaps I have over-stretched myself when it comes to art projects as I just never seem to get near this particular art journal.  This particular page sat half-finished at ugly carbuncle stage for ages.  I just wasn’t inspired to work on it when I did have extra free time because the page was a raging hot mess.  However, a couple of days ago I forced myself to return to this page and complete it.  I pushed through.  It is never going to be my favourite page – it was really an experiment in combining red and purple – but it is a lot better than where it was headed so I at least feel like I have saved it.  Best of all, now I feel like I have eradicated that page as a creative mental block.

 

14 Red-Purple-Gold

 

Rainbow Art Journal – Poppies

I turned another page in my Rainbow Art Journal and decided to do another two page spread.  I am still in the red section of my journal and thought of poppies.  I didn’t want to use a monochromatic palette so decided to incorporate some grey and green too but I probably used too much of those and not enough red in the end.  Not being very adept at painting flowers, I created the poppy blooms from clippings from magazine pages collaged onto the background.  I am pleased with how the hands turned out but otherwise I think this is one of the “blah” pages in my art journal.

13 Poppies