Last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was to use black. I know a lot of artists who avoid black, including some who think black should never form part of an artist’s palette, but I am not one of them. You may have noted that I use black a lot. In fact, I have no doubt that black and grey probably feature more in my artwork than any other colours (and, yes, I know black isn’t technically a colour but whatever). I like to use it along with a pop of colour. It’s kind of one of my jams. I am quite comfortable working in monochrome. It may be partly laziness and partly down to limitations of time but I like working with a very limited palette. All of which is to say that for me to use black was not much of a challenge really. My challenge, therefore, was to create visual interest and texture while only using black and grey. I used the Ecoline liquid watercolour used in my previous art journal page for the background. Once I added the black, I realised what a warm grey it is but I opted to use it because I liked the way it pooled to create blossoms and blooms for a bit of soft visual texture. To create the visual texture on the figure’s clothing, I did the old sprinkle salt onto wet watercolour trick. I went entirely overboard with the salt, however, as I was rushing to get out the door to my youngest son’s Open House night at school. Better than ingesting that quantity of salt I suppose but it was definitely too much. No time to even attempt to rectify my action, of course, so I let it be. It definitely resulted in visual texture, that’s for sure.
This art journal page was really an exploration of ways to create visual texture. My inspiration was a painting I did for Life Book last year because I like the visual imagery of flame and ash. I actually thought to take progress shots of this art journal page so I can show the different stages of its creation. I started with a really simple line drawing.
To create the background texture, I scraped some orange paint onto the page with an old hotel room card. I then used that same card to lift up some of the paint from the page so that it created some texture, sort of feathering and ripples. To create the texture on the torso, I painted it black and then layered some red paint over the top. Before the red paint had fully dried, I pressed down some damp paper onto the surface so that it lifted up some of the paint and created a visual texture that I hoped would be reminiscent of charring.
The final element of visual texture was my old friend spatter. I spattered some black and red paint to create the idea of ash and embers floating upwards from the flames.
I liked the effect of all of the techniques I used in this page. It might be a bit much that I used them all at once but maybe it works for my thematic purposes. I am definitely pleased that the finished page still resembles my initial sketch as that has not always been the case.