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.
This week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was “goddesses or monsters”. As long term readers of my blog will know, I love mythology and especially Greek mythology. I was, therefore, overwhelmed by the possibilities and suffered from a creatively crippling bout of indecision. In the end, however, I decided to whip up a quick ink and watercolour illustration of a Minotaur. The Minotaur is one of my favourite monsters and I had not drawn one for a while. This one echoes the body shape and proportions of one I painted in an altered book three years ago. I placed him on a grey background and used a more muted palette so suggest his labyrinth dwelling. I kept second guessing myself as I am usually a bit more bold with my use of colour. However, I am calling this illustration done.
We had a busy Memorial weekend as the youngest Pict turned 10. Double digits is a milestone birthday in our family so it was a big deal. For his birthday celebrations, we took a day trip to the Poconos and ate lots of scrumptious food and delicious treats. I still cannot believe we no longer have a child in single digits. It really is a cliche but they truly do grow so quickly.
Anyway, the three day weekend meant that we had a good dollop of quality family time and also had time to just chill and relax. I, of course, used my solo free time for art and did some art journaling. This particular illustration was a response to an Art Journal Adventure prompt inspired by blueberries or the colour blue. Followers of my blogs will know that I am a tad obsessed with zombies so that is what I decided to draw. I actually recently drew a whole horde of blue zombie bunnies and my last submission to the Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbook Project was a series on zombies but those were mainly heads. It had been a while since I drew an entire zombie figure. I don’t really know where the pose came from except that I knew I wanted lots of sharp angles from bent limbs and hunched shoulders. Ultimately he ended up looking like he was on his haunches ready to spring into action which seems appropriately predatory.
The Art Journal Adventure prompt this week was “heart” but, of course, I did not go all sweet and whimsical with my take on that prompt. Rather than the typical “love” heart, I decided to create an illustration inspired by an anatomical heart. Don’t expect it to be medical-textbook-accurate, however, because realism isn’t my thing either. What I came up with was a female figure with an exposed heart. I used her hair as a sort of curtain being pulled back to reveal some abstracted ribs and that bright red heart. My first impulse was to show her peeling her skin back to reveal the internal organs so I am glad I came up with the more aesthetically pleasing option of the long, dark hair. I do enjoy working with a limited palette so I kept this illustration to just the monochrome and splashes of red.
Since I was in the yellow section of my Rainbow Art Journal, I wanted to include a page that was about complementary colours. In this case, that meant yellow and purple. I have also been using this art journal to record the art materials I use so this page was created using three Daler Rowney Aquafine watercolours: cadmium yellow, gamboge, and purple lake. I got the illustration to the point that the figure was complete and the background was entirely yellow. Thinking that the yellow background was too bland and that the figure was floating in too much empty space, I added the purple plant forms. I think perhaps I went a bit overboard and now the background is too busy – and the purple a bit too dominant in a page that is supposed to be predominantly yellow. Nevermind that I strayed from my intentions because I quite like the illustration regardless.
My youngest son had major oral surgery yesterday so he was off school and I was off work. While he was snuggled up on the sofa recovering from the anesthesia, I sat with him and worked in my art journal. I had to keep things quick and simple as a result of the context. Inspired by this week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt of “birds and blossoms”, I bashed out this rapid illustration of myself in bird form. The scaffolding is my go-to doodle self-portrait that I just tweak and adapt as required. So, for instance, this time I gave myself very round glasses to be more bird-eye-like and obviously I replaced arms and feet with wings and talons. My son asked if I was drawing myself as a wise owl or a harpy. And that, folks, probably tells you as much as you ever need to know about my parenting modes.
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.