The Stars Look Very Different Today

This week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was to include song lyrics or the title of a song in the art journal page.  You may recall that I enjoy vague prompts that allow my imagination to wander off in all sorts of directions but with music I did not know where to start.  We listen to a lot of music as a family and have very eclectic tastes.  When doing chores, I have music playing so I can karaoke my way through the house and I also always play music when I am at my art table drawing or painting.  I, therefore, could have chosen any number of songs as the inspiration for my page this week.

I thought about springboarding from the last piece of music I had listened to before reading the prompt.  That was Danse Macabre by Saint-Saens which had massive potential as a subject for illustration (and, in fact, I had illustrated it when I was in High School) but I knew I did not have the free time available this week to take on something with that degree of detail.  The last album I listened to in its entirety was Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ so I pondered that for a bit.  Meanwhile I asked my kids for suggestions since they are always a great resource for inspiration.  Elvis, Prince, The Beatles, The Beastie Boys, Elton John, The White Stripes and Frank Sinatra all featured in their suggestions but one idea immediately gave me a strong visual: Space Oddity.  As soon as my 10 year old said it, I knew that was going to be the song I depicted on my journal page, perhaps because David Bowie was always so strongly and uniquely visual.

I kept my illustration simple partly out of choice – I do love just plain old pen and ink – and partly out of necessity – my old nemesis, time.  It depicts David Bowie (I hope that is clear even though I am not a good portraitist) floating through space in spacesuit, untethered but calm. I obviously did not use any reference images in creating the spacesuit.  It is definitely more ‘Lost in Space’ than NASA, that’s for sure.  I swithered over including either the song title or the lyric “the stars look very different today” in the illustration but decided against it because a) my calligraphy is not the best and b) I could not work out the placement for the words in the composition.  I hope the song reference is clear without the words.

5 - David Bowie - Space Oddity - Art Journal Page

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Just Keep Layering

This week’s Documented Life Project challenge was layering and “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough!” (free earworm) so clearly the idea was to layer a page to the maximum.  Layering is something I have struggled with.  Finding that balance between creating interest and it tipping over into visually chaotic mess, between colours that chime and sing together and making mud, has been a steep learning curve for me and one where I have yet to reach the summit.  Regardless, I decided to amp up the level of difficulty even more by deciding to work with a colour palette I would find difficult to keep from turning into grungy sludge: flamingo pink, bright yellow, turquoise and lime.  Alas, my lime acrylic is not quite limey enough so it did get a bit muddy.

I couldn’t embark on a page without having an end goal in mind.  I know a lot of art journallers and mixed media artists can just playfully develop a page or piece without having any level of intention in mind but I need to have something I am working towards from the get-go otherwise I stall.  Since this week is Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be appropriate to make that the focus.  My favourite love song – and one of my very favourite songs generally –  is ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ by The Smiths so that was my inspiration.

Week 6 - Layers

Not that I imagine anyone can learn anything from my process but here are the layers involved in creating my page:

  1. Turquoise and lime acrylic scraped on the page with a gift card
  2. Scraps of yellow and pink tissue paper glued onto the page
  3. Strips of washi tape stuck in rows to the page
  4. Yellow paint through a dot / small circle stencil
  5. Large yellow circles stamped on the page with a cork
  6. Turquoise circles stamped onto the page using the end of a wooden utensil
  7. Pink paint through a love heart stencil
  8. Stamped pink circles using the end of a pencil top eraser
  9. Spatter of pink, yellow and turquoise paint
  10. Small dots of lime paint
  11. Dots of white acrylic paint around the edges of the pink love hearts to emphasise the hearts on the page
  12. Stamped the chorus of the song lyrics onto deli paper and adhered that deli paper to the page using gel matte medium

Twelve layers!  That’s an all-time record for me.