Change of Seasons

Last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was “change” and I immediately thought of the changing seasons because Spring is finally – finally! – here.  We have (I assume and hope) seen the last of the snow, there are buds on the trees, small wildflowers are beginning to appear among the blades of grass, the bird song is louder in the mornings, and there was tree pollen all over the bonnet of my car this morning.  I have seamlessly segued from snuffling because of winter colds into snuffling because of seasonal allergies but I will embrace it because I am so ready for Spring.

My Art Journal page is simple: an abstracted and silhouetted tree divided into four sectors, one per season.  I have a mild OCD about needing things to be clockwise (I also have one about even numbers) so I tried to force myself to depict the seasons cycling anti-clockwise.  It’s a sort of “flooding your fears” kind of theory that obviously has no substance to it because it failed miserably as therapy.  I felt twitchy as soon as I finished the page. Now it is supremely annoying to me that I have the seasons cycling anti-clockwise.  I almost wanted to repaint all of the sectors to make them clockwise but I don’t have time for that so, instead, I am just going to turn the page in my art journal and pretend my psychological experiment never happened.

11 - Change - Seasons - Art Journal Page

Eco-Dyed Autumn

Last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was the last in the series provided by my friend Jana.  Her prompt was “changing seasons” but her tutorial also focused on demonstrating eco-dyeing.  I was inspired by both.  Unfortunately, it was one of those overwhelming weeks – a pretty stressful one actually – where I had very little time for art.  I, therefore, recognised that my ability to dye papers within that week was going to be pretty limited.  I have wanted to try eco-dyeing since I saw a blog post by Claudia McGill all about making parcels of materials that would leech colour into paper over time.  Jana demonstrated a sped-up process that produced similar results.  I am definitely going to give it a go.  I just need to have a chunk of time in which to gather my materials.  So, in the mean time, I resorted to dyeing book pages – some of which were already a little foxed – using tea, coffee, and steeped onion skins.

I had a page in my art journal that I did not know what to do with.  It was the reverse of the page that I had handstitched so it was full of ugly, messy knots and stitches.  I decided it could form the basis of a textural background for this page.  I scraped gesso across the page roughly so as to somewhat embed and fix the thread of the stitches and I kept the gesso rough and splotchy so as to add more literal and visual texture.  I then scraped across some light brown paint to create a neutral tone in the background, especially given that the “changing seasons” prompt was making me think of the colours of Autumn – and man am I looking forward to Autumn.  Thinking of the glow of Autumn light, I scraped some bronze paint across the page and spattered gold paint at the top and bottom.  All that remained was to decide how to incorporate the eco-dyed paper into the page.  I decided upon circular, hoop shapes because I was thinking about the cyclical nature of the seasons.  I cut some in different sizes from the dyed papers and adhered them to the page.  Part of me thinks the page needs something more but I was out of time and out of ideas so, therefore, for now at least I consider this art journal page done.

39 EcoDyed Paper 1

39 EcoDyed Paper 2

Seasonal Faces

Despite being a mini lesson, it still took me all week to get around to completing last week’s Let’s Face It lesson.  The tutorial was taken by Angela Kennedy and the focus was on drawing and painting a variety of hair styles.  This is something I have been pondering myself lately as I have noticed I tend to draw and paint hair the same two or three ways over and over.  Therefore, with my 100 Faces series over on my other blog I have been trying to illustrate a wider variety of hair styles.  Following advice from one of my kids, who knows I know nothing about hair or style, I have been eyeball stalking people’s hairdos for inspiration.

Kennedy’s demonstration was in simple ink pen and watercolour.  This was very welcome since I was super short on time.  I decided to challenge myself to work small so cut four 3X4.5″ pieces of watercolour paper.  Having four little oblongs of paper in front of me made me think of either the four elements or the four seasons and so I plumped for using the latter as a theme.  I used the hair of each face as a practice for a particular watercolour technique.  Spring, therefore, has a wash of one colour with more concentrated areas of the same colour added in wet on wet; Summer has a concentrated wash of one colour and then I dropped water in to dilute and puddle the paint in some areas; Autumn has a wash of one base colour and then I painted two further colours on top of that base; and Winter was a wash of watercolour with table salt sprinkled into the wet paint.  I was rather rushed and impatient when it came to painting the faces and experienced some bleed between colours by not ensuring one was dry before adding the next colour.  It was a risk I knew I was taking yet still hoped to avoid.  Working small and in a rush was perhaps not the best circumstance.  Having blank space beneath the heads, I took that as an opportunity to practice my watercolour lettering again.

Week 33 - Spring

Week 33 - Summer

Week 33 - Autumn

Week 33 - Winter

PS  I had not removed all of the salt from the Winter piece before I photographed it as I found some patches were still a bit too damp.