I love the combination of red and turquoise. I love turquoise generally but there is just something about the combination of those two colours that really makes both sing, perhaps because it is an unexpected palette that works surprisingly well. It’s a palette I have used quite a few times in my art work so when it came to the red pages in my Rainbow Art Journal I knew that turquoise would put in a guest appearance. This piece turned out to be reminiscent of my Resting Acrobat from a few months ago. I think that previous piece is more successful overall but the face is better in this piece since I managed to keep it closer to my original sketch and not let the proportions wander.
My Rainbow Art Journal has segued out of its initial black stage into a red phase, as you may have observed. I knew that somewhere in this section an interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood would appear because she and the wolf are characters who have cropped up time and time again in my art work over the years. There is a definite connection in terms of palette and pattern between this new painting and a previous art journal page from 2015 but stylistically they are quite different.
I don’t know why I have always been drawn to Red Riding Hood as a fairytale because I was so wee when my moderate obsession started. I do like wolves, love werewolves, and the psychological possibilities of the story of a girl journeying into the wilderness to confront and overcome a dangerous aspect of that wilderness. With this art journal page, I wanted to depict the idea of the innocent girl and the bestial, primal wolf being interconnected, almost like a yin-yang balance. That gave me the idea for the composition. I actually thought to take some process shots as I worked on the double page spread over the course of a couple of weeks. From the basic sketch, I then blocked in large areas of colour using acrylic paint. I find that getting that one layer down really helps me as it creates a uniform surface on which to build additional layers and use a wider variety of media and it also immediately eliminates the white page so that I can more easily push some areas into the background while bringing other areas forward for emphasis. It was then just a case of working away on the piece in little rations and gobbets of time, building up the tones and details. I think of all of the Red Riding Hood pieces I have ever created, this is my favourite so far.
Perhaps it was because the adjacent page was inspired by the fictional, dreamy world of Oz, or perhaps it was all the shiny red apples in the fruit bowl, but when I sat down at my art journal and looked at the blank page I decided that it should be a fairy tale and that tale should be Snow White.
I had fun experimenting with lots of different mixed media techniques on this journal page. I collaged tissue paper, painted with gesso, and lifted paint to create texture. I also forced myself to draw hands in a particular gesture.
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.
I rarely ever work across two art journal pages. The fact that I use a spiral bound journal does not lend itself to double spreads. I thought, however, that I might attempt a sort of diptych, two pieces on two different pages but somehow visually linked. I am glad I tried something new but the results didn’t leave me feeling I had accomplished much. There is a strong visual connection between the two pages, which could be regarded as a success. I introduced colour in order to differentiate between the two pages. One of my kids suggested the idea of blue and yellow to represent night and day so I opted for those colours but otherwise did not pursue the idea of different lighting conditions. I wanted to maintain the monochromatic theme and to connect the figures through use of silhouette. Not being overly keen on the outcome of this pair of paintings, I kept circling back to these pages in my art journal, adding a tiny bit more here and there. But I have now reached a point where I no longer feel inspired to tinker with the pages and want to call these pages done and set them by. So done they are.