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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Vampire Lady

One of the interesting side effects of the way in which I create art these days – always short on time, often in multiple stages, often while multi-tasking – is that it has become clear what my automatic go-to art supplies are.  The fact that I almost always reach for ink and watercolour tells me that that is my creative “home”.  I, therefore, think that I should focus my skills development on those media.  However, I still intend to dabble in other media because I don’t like being hemmed in or stuck in a creative rut.  However, it is probably good to know that ink and watercolour are my comfort zone.

I grabbed some time this weekend to play in my art journal.  I used last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt which was the letter V.  I never really need much prodding to illustrate mythology and monsters so as soon as I saw V I thought Vampire.  I resisted my automatic impulse, which was to draw Nosferatu (my favourite vampire) yet again and to instead try something different so I decided to draw a glamorous, fin de siecle lady vampire.   I not only kept things simple with just ink and watercolour but I also simplified things by using just black and red.  I like that combination and notice it crops up a lot in my ink work.

36 - Vampire Lady Illustration- Art Journal Page

Ladybug Woman

If you happen to follow me on Instagram, you will have seen this illustration as my response to this month’s Art Snacks challenge.  I received two red products in the box this month and that immediately inspired me to draw a Ladybug Woman.  I drew it on a sample pack of watercolour paper, also in the box, which means it is in that narrow format that I used recently for my Frankenstein’s Monster.  I am enjoying working in this restrictive space as it really forces me to be creative with my composition.

Ladybug Woman - July 2018

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.