This week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was to incorporate a silhouette as part of the art journal page. Some weeks I read a prompt and have no ideas and some weeks I read a prompt and am overwhelmed by too many ideas at once. This was an example of the latter. There were so many ways I could have taken the idea of a silhouette.
I had a page already underway in my art journal that was going nowhere in particular but where I had plonked a wine label slap bad in the middle. I had actually intended to glue the wine label into my rainbow themed art journal but I guess I was rushing and it was late at night so it ended up in my regular art journal. There were also some scraps of text paper already adhered to the page, leftovers from some other project. I decided that should be the background of my silhouette page. But then I realised that the wine label would likely end up completely covered up. That was when I decided I would create a reverse silhouette with the surrounding area being black and the chosen shape emerging in negative rather than positive.
Something you may not know about me is that I love sharks (and whales). It has been a lifelong thing. I would actually dearly love to dive with sharks but its the claustrophobia of scuba gear underwater that deters me. Despite the fact – or maybe because – I doodle sharks frequently, a shark has only put in one solitary, rogue shark appearance in my art journal. It was a messy collage of torn paper that resulted in a rather dorky looking shark. After adding a light paint layer over the collage, therefore, it was just a case of quickly drawing out a shark silhouette shape and then painting black into the negative space. Quick and easy.
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.
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.
This week’s main lesson on Life Book was taken by Jane Davenport, a mixed media artist famed for her paintings of women. I found undertaking the lesson to be intimidating at points – I felt sure I was going to mess up at every stage – but completely enjoyable. The lesson was essentially about using collage and carving out a figure using the negative space. I also had the opportunity for some much needed practice at painting faces and improve a little more as a result. I also finally cracked open my tin of inktense blocks for the wash over the hair and I love them. I wish the collage I had created that became the hair had been a bit more random. It was supposed to be constructed out of things that appealed to me so I had to make conscious decisions as I raked through my files of paper and ephemera which then led me to be a bit too intentional with their placement in the overall collage. But that is the only thing I would alter if I had a do-over. I really loved the process and am pleased with the final result.