This week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was “Triangles”. I did not think I was going to find any available art time for my art journal this week. I have been using all of my little rations of art time for keeping up with my Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbook and participating in Inktober. However, today I was on a field trip with my preschool class and that meant I managed to get home an hour earlier than usual. I, therefore, sat down with a hot mug of tea and decided to play in my art journal. This week’s prompt allowed me to keep things simple. I just opened up a box of watercolours (ones that belong to my children actually as they happened to be to hand) and started doodling triangles using a medium sized brush. The triangles are very imprecise as a result but, hey, it’s not a geometry lesson and these aren’t architectural or engineering plans so who cares.
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.
Another of our summer “pot luck” activities was a study of shape and colour. The idea was to create a silhouette, divide it up into sections, and then fill it with different shades of the same colour.
My ten year old, a comic book fanatic, decided to draw the recognisable silhouette of Batman. Green is his favourite colour so he filled Batman with shades of green and that made us think how cool it would be if farmers could make their fields into silhouettes so we could all enjoy the fun shapes when flying overhead.
My nine year old kept things simple and symmetrical with the clean shape of a butterfly. He used gold and silver gel pen to colour it in which gave it a very pleasing shimmer in the sunlight.
My thirteen year old chose a love heart and filled it with mostly metallic blue gel pen ink. The glossiness of it made me think of a faceted gem stone.
My seven year old went off piste a bit. That is OK. It is all about being creative after all. He drew funny little monster characters and divided them up using lines and then coloured them. One is a wee weirdo guy he called an “Igor beetle” and one is – as he explained – a “vampire butterfly”.
I drew the silhouette of a pig and coloured it using watercolour pencils in neutral, stone shades. It kind of looks like a patio shaped like a pig.
“Home” has become a complex term for me in recent years. I still refer to Scotland as “back home”, akin to nineteenth century immigrants talking about “the old country”, and I am not sure that will change because my roots are firmly planted in Scotland. However, having moved four times in one year – including a move across an ocean – I have had it made concrete that home to me is less about place and more about people. Home is really wherever my family are; if Mr Pict and the Pictlings are with me, then that is where home is. I still feel like an alien here in America most days but at the same time I feel at home. The cliche about home being where the heart is apparently has a great deal of merit.
This week’s Documented Life Project prompt was all about home and ideas of home. The specific prompts were “hometown inspiration” – a different angle on the travel journaling theme – and the quotation prompt was “There’s no place like home”. I was immediately tempted to do something inspired by ‘The Wizard of Oz’ but having drawn Oz art a few times before I decided to do something different. I did not want to create a page based on my hometown because it frankly is not all that inspirational and nor have I lived there since I left home at 17. My next thought was to construct a page all about Fife, the Scottish county from which I hail, but then I saw the page by the DLP’s guest artist, Paivi Eerola, and I decided to do something similar.
I decided to make my page really domestic, about things inside my home, particularly things that have moved between several homes with me because it is all those little trinkets, objects that conjure up memories, that have begun to make each new house into a home. I used a Pitt Pen to sketch various ornaments sitting on my shelves. I wanted to connect the drawings by overlapping them so I used circles – which represented some other items on my shelves such as wooden platters and glass globes – and rectangles – representing framed art on my walls and framed photos on my shelves – to tie all the elements together. I then filled the shapes with very watery watercolour, not painting it with any great precision and not replicating the authentic colours of the objects. I then splattered some watercolour paint over the page.
That was it: a very simple page to represent something as complex as the meaning of “home”.