Last week I had ten minutes of art time. Ten. That’s all, folks. In a week that included an unplanned hospital visit, house guests, and a funeral on top of all my usual commitments, obligations, and time suckers, I was not only pushed for free time but also brimming over with stress. I felt like it might just save my sanity if I could find some way to dig out 20 minutes for art. That turned out to be ambitious and I got 10. Knowing I didn’t have time to do anything too involved, too messy, or too detailed, I turned to the Art Journal Adventure prompt and opened up my art journal to a blank page.
The prompt was to feature scallops on the page. Yum. Scallops. I don’t think I have eaten any since I left Scotland. Divine wee morsels that they are. When I thought of scallops as a shape rather than a food, I thought of the way child-like clouds are drawn and that gave me the inspiration for my page. With no time to draw or paint, I quickly cut out some scallop-fringed cloud shapes from old book pages and adhered them to the top of the page. I then added stripes of Neocolor II crayons and outlined the clouds with Stabilo All. Both of these activate with water so I sprayed liberal quantities of water on the page, then tipped up the art journal to let it all run and dribble and drip. And that was my 10 minutes all used up. I left it to dry overnight and was actually fairly satisfied with the result given the (lack of) time and effort invested in its creation. And it just goes to show me that a) I can put together an entire art journal page in very little time indeed if I keep things simple and work efficiently and b) even a little bit of art time can balance out a stressful week.
This is a self-portrait of my arm. I drew around my hand and arm to create the outline and then filled it with a mixture of white gesso and Stabilo All pencil to create and to capture the shapes and shades of my hand and arm. After that, I was stuck. The painting of the limb alone, surrounded by black, was too dull but I had a creative block and didn’t know what to do with it. I, therefore, left it for a few days waiting for inspiration to strike. I even asked some art friends for advice but I knew I could not pull off their suggestions. In the end, I just picked up a paint pen and doodled one evening while dinner was cooking. One of my sons said, “I see what you did there: vines instead of veins.” I wish I had been that clever but, nope, just random doodles. The stamped words – grow and thrive – were an afterthought but I think they help pull the whole thing together. Not my best effort but it was good to practice creating tones with the Stabilo All pencil and the gesso.
The Let’s Face It course has left profiles behind and has moved on to depicting hands within portraits of faces. I found full profiles pretty challenging but I think I am going to find hands possibly even more difficult. It will be interesting to see if this section of the course helps me develop and improve my aptitude with drawing and painting hands – not hard since I tend to draw them either like Nosferatu claws or bunches of parsnips.
First up was a monochrome sketch of a face that incorporated a hand. Kara Bullock’s tutorial demonstrated using conte crayon. I do not own conte crayons so I pondered what other medium I might experiment with. I have been enjoying exploring the possibilities of the Stabilo All pencil in mixed media pieces so thought I would dabble with using it solo in this sketch.
I used the Stabilo All in the same way I would use a charcoal pencil or thin stick of willow charcoal and then, when activated with water, attempted to use it in the same way I would use ink. That methodology did not quite work out as I could not make the medium flow in the same way as I can with ink. As a first experiment, however, I think there is potential for the Stabilo All as a drawing tool. I like the fact, for instance, that even when activated some of the pencil like marks show through.
The less said about the drawing of the hand the better.
Incidentally, should you be interested, I am working on a challenge to create 100 illustrations of faces in ink and watercolour over on my art blog, Pict Ink.