Rainbow Art Journal – Selfie in Blue Gouache

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.

56 Selfie in Blue Gouache

Picasso Puzzle Selfie

Last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was “puzzled’.  It took me the entire week to find time to sit down with my art journal as all my free art time has been spent on Inktober and my contribution to the Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbook project (which you can see on my other blog).  By that time, however, my creative cogs had been turning for long enough for me to have arrived at an idea.  I decided that I would create a self-portrait because sometimes I am a puzzle to myself and, like a jigsaw puzzle, I am made up of many different pieces.  Taking that idea further, I decided that my substrate should be a collaged layer of pieces of paper.  And taking that idea further still, I thought it might be fun to break my face down into elements of shapes and forms rather like a Picasso portrait.  I remember as a child that the thing I found most engaging about Picasso’s art was the way that my eye could take in all of the information and my brain would then reconfigure everything so that I could understand what I was seeing, what was being portrayed.  It was like resolving a visual puzzle.

42 - Puzzle - Picasso Style Selfie

Grungy Selfie

This week’s Life Book lesson was taken by Pam Carriker and revolved around a selfie.  Now I do draw self-portraits from time to time because I am an available and compliant model but I am really not my favourite subject.  There is nothing interesting or inspirational about my face.  I have no compelling bone structure.  In fact, my face looks like it was hewn from a potato.  Which is OK because I have intelligence, wit and charisma on my side.  Ha ha!  For this exercise, I chose to avoid the complications of painting glasses so I used a selfie sans spectacles which confirmed to me that I actually look better when I wear glasses as it gives my face more proportion and interest.  So, yes, selfies are not my favourite subject but I appreciate they make for a good exercise.

The print of the selfie was transferred to the paper using a simple but effective technique which ensured the proportions of the face were accurate.  This proved to be interesting as my husband and three of my sons all remarked, when looking at the finished piece, that my cheeks are chubbier in real life.  The approach to the painting was grungy which I enjoyed immensely.  Lots of dribble and mess and scrunging the paint around.  I also liked that it was largely monochromatic with just a little pop of colour here and there.  I chose purple because it is my favourite colour.  I would say that the finished piece resembles me but is not a strong likeness.  In that regard, it makes me think of those drawings of suspects created from eye witness statements: it is close enough to identify it as me but things are awry enough for it to be not quite right.

Week 26 - Grungy Selfie