As in so many of Greek myths, Daphne’s is the story of a woman victimised by a man and ultimately punished by the patriarchy. Essentially poor Daphne was used by Eros to curse Apollo, one of Cupid’s arrows having created his obsessive infatuation with the naiad Daphne. An arrow fired at her ensured that she would always flee Apollo. Therefore, poor Daphne was basically stalked by Apollo, which effectively means she was being punished for no reason. In order to escape Apollo’s sexual violence, Daphne pleaded with her father, a river god, and his solution was to transform her into a laurel tree. Daphne, treated like an object by these male gods, was therefore rendered completely and utterly passive – so much so, in fact, the Apollo ended up possessing the laurel as his special tree. Ugh.
Anyway, still plodding on through the green section of my Rainbow Art Journal, I decided to illustrate Daphne’s tragic story. I wanted to communicate something of the violence of her situation and of her transformation while also suggesting something of the fact she was forced to become even more passive.
I just realised I had never written a blog post for this illustration in my Rainbow Art Journal. My entire county is, as of last Friday, under lockdown for at least the next two weeks because of the Covid 19 outbreak. My kids are, therefore, home from school and, as a teacher, I am obviously off work. I, therefore, thought I would return to working on this project and I found this page. Maybe I had considered it unfinished and was expecting to return to it. I am calling it done.
Anyway, this is a quick little ink and watercolour illustration I knocked out in response to the prompt “Relax” in the Art Journal Adventure group. I drew it a few days before Christmas so I was pretty much the opposite of relaxed. I thought about where my “happy place” is. I am not very good at getting into a zen headspace when doing yoga but, when I am in shavasana pose with my eyes closed, I often think about being in the woods, among the trees, smelling the leaves and moss. So I drew myself lying in a pile of leaves. You may spot a good few little insects among the leaves too.
This page in the green section of my Rainbow Art Journal was created in response to an Art Snacks challenge. I actually painted it all the way back in April 2018. At the time, thought I might add more to it but, given I did not, I am considering it done. All the green is ink used at different levels of dilution and the orange is a watercolour pencil. Green and orange are among my least used colours but I actually quite like the combination of the two here.
For the first page in the fully green section of my Rainbow Art Journal (as opposed to the transition page) I wanted to work entirely in green (excepting a little black ink). I, therefore, decided to draw one of my sprite figures. I have a fondness for moss so decided my illustration would depict a moss sprite. I also used it as an experiment in layering my green watercolour paints. For the body I used a wet-in-wet technique and as such achieved lots of blossoms and pigment blooms where the different greens puddled and met each other. For the hair, I allowed a layer to completely dry before I added the next layer of paint.
I have not opened any of my art journals for a while so I thought I would crack one open and have a dabble. I decided to draw one of my favourite figures from sideshow history, the Pig Faced Lady of Manchester Square (spoiler alert: actually a shaved bear). I have drawn her before, including in an art journal page from back in 2015, but I decided to go a bit more cute and whimsical for this version. I regret that decision now and actually wish I had gone darker and more grotesque with it. I feel very meh about this illustration but it’s on a random (and crinkly) page in my art journal so that doesn’t matter. Next Pig Faced Lady will be creepier though.
This illustration is another experiment in a yellow and green colour palette but this time using just ink and watercolour instead of mixed media. That combination of colours always makes me think of ‘Fern Hill’ by Dylan Thomas. It was one of my favourite poems to teach and I have fond memories of doing so. The colours of green and gold are used throughout the poem to signify different things about life’s changes and stages. That got me thinking about the transitional phase between childhood and adulthood so I chose to draw a tween girl. Lately I have been drawing ears too small but I think perhaps I over-corrected myself this time and gave this girl ears that are a wee bit too large – what were called “jug lugs” when I was wee. Maybe the proportions just add to the sense of tweenage awkwardness. Yes, let’s go with that.
PS I am participating in Drawlloween throughout October. You can find the illustrations I create in response to each day’s prompt over on my other blog or on Instagram.
It feels like eons since I last had any art time. Given the fact I can complete an art journal page in under half an hour (often in 10 or 15 minute portions), my art journals really should not have been sitting closed for as long as they have. It is a testament to how incredibly over-scheduled that I have been that I have been unable to make any time. The start of the school year is always hectic as we all transition to new schedules. I am also seriously busy at work and at home we are still trying to deal with the chaos that followed in the wake of our basement flood and problem-solve our way to a solution. Juggling all of this stuff – and more besides – is seriously draining my free time and sucking up all of my available energy.
It was, therefore, a treat when I found myself with a sliver of time this weekend in which to work in my art journal. I used an Art Journal Adventure prompt as my starting point. The prompt was “spirals” and it immediately put my in mind of the poster for ‘Vertigo’, one of my favourite movies of all time. The poster depicts two figures tumbling into a vortex of spirals. I drew my weird wee self-portrait as the figure among the spirals. I have a spirograph somewhere in the boxes of items we salvaged from the basement but there was no time to rake for it. I, therefore, drew some concentric circles instead of spirals. There are spirals in the eyes, however, which is pretty much an accurate representation of my life right now.
Fingers crossed that this art journal page is the break in my art drought. My intention is to participate in Drawlloween. I have participated in both Inktober and Drawlloween before and always enjoy it. This year the challenge will definitely be one of time management. I am going to be using the list of prompts provided by Mab Graves and I will be sharing my illustrations over on my Pict Ink blog and on Instagram. So I have one week left to try and get my schedule under control. Art is a good motivator.
I grabbed 20 minutes with my art journal yesterday and created this illustration. I guess it is more a character design. I came up with the idea of a humanoid insect by combining this week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt – bugs – with the fact my middle two sons are into comic books and there are some truly bonkers characters to be found in those. So I decided to draw Beetle Woman. Quick ink drawing coloured with watercolour.
This art journal page is an exercise in repetition. I could have used tracing paper or some other technique in order to achieve near perfect consistency between the faces but I instead decided to really challenge myself to see if I could reproduce the same drawing three times. I am actually surprised by how successful I was. You can definitely detect the differences between the three faces but they are definitely close enough to read as identical triplets or clones. It was actually my illustration of clone children that influenced elements of this drawing, such as keeping things monochromatic and giving the figures really rigid hairstyles. I painted the columnar bodies with Daniel Smith’s Lunar Black watercolour because I really love it but am still getting to grips with how best to use it and achieve its beautiful granulation. Ultimately, my first layer achieved pretty good granulation but was too wishy-washy in terms of saturation, but the second layer intensified the saturation but the whole thing became a bit patchy and streaky. Evidently I need to keep experimenting with this paint.
As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, one of the ways in which I use my Rainbow Art Journal is as a record of art supplies I own and the way they behave on the paper I use for art journaling (Canson Mixed Media). This illustration, therefore, was created using the two shades of yellow in my set of Dr Ph Martin Hydrus watercolours – hansa yellow and gamboge. My intention was to be much looser in my creation of a figure on the page but I guess I couldn’t suppress my control freakery enough so the illustration ended up pretty tight regardless. She is one of those sprite type characters I have drawn before and I decided she could represent sunshine. I added a circle in the background using a yellow watercolour pencil and then I filled the rest of the background with spatter. It’s a very imperfect drawing but I had fun creating her and process is much more important to me than outcome when art journaling.