The full title of this piece should be “The Fungus Fairy and the Unfortunate Phallus”. It is a cautionary tale about going straight to ink when drawing and not taking time to think things through.
The Art Journal Adventure prompt for last week was the letter “F”. Don’t enquire why I thought to draw a Fungus Fairy as a result because I actually don’t know why. Let’s call it a flash of inspiration. I know that I was feeling in the mood to draw something whimsical. In my early teens, I decided to draw my own versions of the classic Flower Fairies. I think I got about twenty illustrations done before I packed in the whole enterprise because I loved drawing but hated colouring in (I was using pencils). Maybe I should start over now that I actually enjoy adding colour to my illustrations. But I digress. Short on time (as always) I decided to commit to drawing straight away with pen. No pencil guidelines. No preliminary sketching. Just straight from my brain to my hand to the ink pen. The way I drew the Fungus Fairy a lot of the line work was over on the right hand side of the page so, to fill in a bit more of the left hand side, I came up with the bright idea of giving her a toadstool as a sort of magical wand. Yeah, I don’t know what on earth I was thinking either. In the very instant that I lifted pen from paper I realised that the fungus wand looked like a phallus. Great. So, yes, this is a cautionary tale about maybe taking some time to plan things out before committing ink to paper.
This weekend, I grabbed some small parcels of time and used them to create an illustration in my art journal. I used last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt, which was to use an element and repeat it at least three times, and combined it with a prompt I had missed that involved the number 5. The idea of repetition made me think of clones and that made me think of the pod people from the movie ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ and then that segued in my brain to thinking of the book ‘The Midwich Cuckoos’ and thus I arrived at a decision to draw five clone children with expressionless faces and soulless eyes. I did the grey and black inkwork first and had intended to leave the hair white as a nod to the movie adaptation ‘Village of the Damned’ but, on a whim, I decided to add a splash of colour with red ink. I am undecided as to whether that was a smart move or not and my children – who I use to judge my art work – are split 50/50. What do you think?
Today was my last teaching day of the school year. I am working at my preschool’s summer camp for the next fortnight but summer break is in reach. I am looking forward to a summer spent hanging out with my kids, relaxing, travelling, spending time on hobbies and interests, and generally having a much more flexible schedule. This week, however, was completely hectic and crazy in the way that the final weeks of the school year always are so this week’s art journal effort is still sloppy and rushed. That’s OK, however, because I needed those 20 minutes of art time as a brief escape pod from my ridiculous schedule. I used this week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt – the letter B – so I created a watercolour illustration of a Big Blue Bear.
Hello! I am still here. I have not disappeared or abandoned my blogs. I have simply been wall-to-wall busy doing things that are not worth blogging about even if I had had time for writing a blog post. I am stuck at the coal face of life right now and it is all a bit crazy and stressful. Nothing major, nothing dramatic, just the type of stress level that accumulates from a zillion little things piling up. Some of these things might be blog worthy once they are completed but most of it is just run-of-the-mill boring stuff. Anyway, that explains my absence.
Needless to say, with everything I am juggling, I have had little time for art. When I have had a gobbet of free time, I confess that I have been devoting it to family history. This is because I had my DNA tested at the end of 2017 which has put me in contact with lots of other extended family members, including others like me who are very into family history, and we have been exchanging information. I have also found, however, that my creative mojo has been lacking lately – I assume because my stress levels are elevated and my brain just cannot relax and focus enough. This past weekend, however, I decided to force myself to sit down with my art journal for 20 minutes in order to stop my creative joints seizing up and going entirely rusty.
The result of this speedy art session is an illustration of half a dozen narwhals. Why? Why not? Partly I was inspired by two Art Journal Adventure prompts – N and 6 – and partly it was just that I have not drawn narwhals for a while. It is just a simple ink line drawing filled in with some watercolour and scattered with salt. Quick. Simple. Done. Hopefully it will get me out of my art-free rut and back into the swing of creating more regularly again.
On Friday, I went to work wearing a raincoat and carrying an umbrella since a rainstorm was forecast for the weekend. However, while I was at work, snow started to fall. I left work in a blizzard. Thankfully my kids were already on an early dismissal (I cannot remember the last time they were in school for an entire five day week) so two were already home and two I picked up on my way home from work. Just as we walked through the door, hoping to get cosy, looking forward to a steaming cup of tea, the power cut out. And it stayed out. From 2pm on Friday until 1am on Sunday, we had no power whatsoever. No light and no heat is pretty miserable in Winter. We kept ourselves occupied with board games and reading by candlelight. However, my 21st Century kids started to miss screens and WiFi after a mere 12 hours and things were rapidly descending into ‘Lord of the Flies’ territory. Thankfully the power came back on before they started sharpening sticks.
Since I could not do laundry, cook complex meals, or run the vacuum around, I found an unexpected ration of time to spend on art. Sure, I could have dusted but you know how I like to sacrifice dusting so I can get in some art time. I decided to work on last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt which was simply the letter W with an additional option to use shiny, shimmery or sparkly media. Perhaps it was because I had just illustrated a vampire on the previous page of my journal, but I was in a monster mood. That said, when am I never in a monster mood? For me, therefore, W was for Werewolf and I set about drawing one in ink as the sun slipped towards the horizon and the house became gloomy in the dwindling light. It seemed apt for the subject but drawing in the dark is hard on the eyes. I added the diluted ink and watercolour by candlelight while my fingers shook in the cold. Amazingly, despite the circumstances, the illustration turned out to be completely acceptable. I hope, however, to not be doing too much future art in the cold and dark. I am SO done with Winter!
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.
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.