The Grady Twins

Last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was “2”.  I almost immediately decided to draw the Grady twins from ‘The Shining’, which probably tells you something about the workings of my brain.  ‘The Shining’ is one of my favourite horror movies because I love how open to interpretation it is, how unresolved it all remains, and how unsettling it is for those very reasons.  Those are precisely the same reasons why my husband loathes the movie.  The Grady twins are significant in the film in terms of contributing to the disturbing atmosphere and in terms of their symbolism.  I drew Danny from ‘The Shining’ for Inktober 2016 but in some ways I am surprised that I have not drawn the Grady twins in many years.  Maybe I should add a whole Shining series of illustrations to my ever-growing Art To Do list.

6 - The Grady Twins - The Shining - Art Journal Illustration

 

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Spectrum Sprites

This week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was “7”.  It’s the type of prompt that allows a lot of scope for interpretation and creates a lot of possibilities.  I was thinking continents, layers, or colours of the rainbow.  I liked the idea of working with lots of vibrant colours as an antidote to all of these desaturated winter days so I decided to go with the rainbow idea.  I divided my page up into seven strips and then the little figures with the curling hoods just emerged on the page.  They are a little reminiscent of the Alpha and Omega figures I painted recently, though the echo wasn’t conscious.  I filled the figures with watercolour, added the facial features, and that was it.  Quick and easy.

3 Spectrum Sprites - Art Journal Page

Flu, Fever, and Festive Words

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may have noticed that it has been quiet for a while.  You may also have noted that – other than finishing off my extended Inktober challenge – I have not produced any art in weeks.  The reason for both is that I was laid low by some mysterious nasty viral thing.  It probably all started on Thanksgiving Day when I spent a large chunk of the day at Urgent Care.  That illness then segued into what I thought was a sinus infection.  I get sinus infections a couple of times every winter so I am used to just treating the symptoms and pushing through.  But then I started to feel really cruddy.  Seriously awful.  What I assumed was a series of separate cruddy illnesses was, it appeared, probably all part of a bigger illness.  A nurse friend diagnosed me with ‘flu from a distance but who really knows.  I just know it was completely debilitating and was the most ill I have felt since I had ‘flu when my 8 year old was a newborn.  During my entire working life, I have had seven sick days off work; three of them were this month.  I had fevers, chills, aches, zero appetite, and a pounding headache that stretched from the backs of my eyes all the way down my neck.  Thankfully my kids are all now old enough to largely fend for themselves and get themselves to and from school because I really was not functioning as a human being let alone as a parent.  Since recovering, I have been very tired – perhaps with some sort of post-viral fatigue – so I have had almost zero free time because staying on top of regular work, chores, family life, and festive planning is taking me longer than usual.  Still, worse things happen at sea and I am thankful to have my health generally.  That, however, is why I have been absent from blogging and why I have not spent any time at my art table.

Still, I was desperate to do something arty because I don’t feel fully like myself unless I am doing something creative.  I, therefore, picked up my Art Journal because it does not matter a jot if I complete the page or not or make a mess in my art journal.  I looked at last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt which was to  use a quotation.  I am not one of those people who has inspirational quotations to hand so I was pondering what to write while overhearing my kids, who were decorating a gingerbread house in an adjacent room.  They were listening to Christmas music so that gave me my inspiration.  I have been thinking about practicing some brush lettering for a while so I thought that writing down some festive words using a brush dipped in watercolour paint would be an easy, fuss-free way to fill a journal page.  My brush lettering still needs a great deal of work, especially since I have a tendency to be inconsistent and to lapse into just using my own handwriting, but it was fun to practice and it was therapeutic to sit down at my art table again and splash around in some paint.

50 - Festive Words

Fiji Mermaid

I have not worked in my art journal for weeks.  This time of year is just busy to a crazily hectic degree.  I decided to grab some little pockets of time over the past few days to produce an illustration in my art journal.  I decided to work on an Art Journal Adventure prompt that I had missed.  Last week’s prompt was “clown”.  That was never going to happen given that I am a massive coulrophobe so I pondered the broader prompt, which was circus.  My clown phobia is actually tied up in a milder phobia of circuses.  However, I have an interest in the history of sideshows and “freaks” so that was the avenue my creative imagination wandered down.  I have illustrated the Pig-Faced Lady of Manchester Square before in my art journal and this time I intended to draw another favourite “freak”, Lionel the Dog-Faced Boy.  However, I was so short on art time that I decided to produce a much simpler and more whimsical illustration.  I, therefore, chose to depict a version of the Fiji Mermaid.  This was a curiosity exhibited by PT Barnum as the mummified remains of a mermaid when it was actually the head and torso of a monkey stitched onto the tail of a fish.  This is just a simple ink drawing coloured with a very loose wash of watercolour.

46 - Fiji Mermaid - Art Journal Page

Outward from the Centre

Last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was “outward from the centre”.  I initially had a much more complex and time consuming idea in mind but it took me over a week to even get the chance to open my art journal so I decided to ditch that idea and produce a simple illustration in ink and watercolour instead.  I drew a figure – somewhat inspired by Lady Rainicorn from ‘Adventure Time’ – by taking the prompt literally and starting at the centre and working my way outwards in a spiral.  Then it was simply a case of filling in the figure with watercolour and drawing in the details using black ink.

43 - Outwards from the Centre

Blue Abstract

I have not found time to tackle a Life Book lesson in a good few weeks now.  I decided, therefore, to break my drought with a lesson by Wendy Brightbill that involved creating an abstract piece using liquid media and mark making.  I am happy that I took time out of my massively busy life to work on this lesson as I did enjoy the process.  I have been heavily involved in illustrations for months now, including my contribution to the Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbook Project and Inktober, so it was a nice break and pretty liberating to do something completely different, just sploshing watercolour around without a great deal of thought.  I have to state, however, that I don’t especially like the finished outcome.  Hate is too strong a word but it really is not a piece I want to look at again.  This piece was definitely about the journey rather than the destination.

43 - Watercolour Abstract

 

Triangles – Art Journal Page

This week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was “Triangles”.  I did not think I was going to find any available art time for my art journal this week.  I have been using all of my little rations of art time for keeping up with my Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbook and participating in Inktober.  However, today I was on a field trip with my preschool class and that meant I managed to get home an hour earlier than usual.  I, therefore, sat down with a hot mug of tea and decided to play in my art journal.  This week’s prompt allowed me to keep things simple.  I just opened up a box of watercolours (ones that belong to my children actually as they happened to be to hand) and started doodling triangles using a medium sized brush.  The triangles are very imprecise as a result but, hey, it’s not a geometry lesson and these aren’t architectural or engineering plans so who cares.

40 Triangles - Art Journal Page