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 Halloween. I had received my October Art Snacks box but had not attempted the challenge of using all of the items to create art. Since one of the things in my box was a jar of orange ink, it seemed like the subject of Halloween might be a good way to kill two art birds with one stone. I was initially going to go much darker and creepier with my Halloween art work but – perhaps since I was drawing while watching ‘Frankenweenie’ with my kids – my creative mojo led me to draw a band of cute monsters trick or treating. This was my first time using brush pens. It took a while to get the hang of how to hold them to create different strokes and widths but it was fun trying something new, which is the point of receiving a box of art goodies each month.
For the second day of Inktober, I actually referred to the daily prompt which was “Noisy”. Even when it isn’t October, my creative mind often wanders to monsters and mythological beasts and horror movie critters. October being the month of Halloween just intensifies that area of my imagination. Zombies are my favourite and my best (have I mentioned that on my blog a hundred times yet?) but I am also rather fond of werewolves. My favourite werewolf movie hands down is ‘An American Werewolf in London’ which I saw not long after it first appeared on VHS so I would have been 6 or 7. Little movie nerd me definitely benefited from lax parenting where media viewing was concerned. The transformation scene made a huge impression on me. Even now, 35 years on, I still think those effects hold up. I also love the humour in that movie and the way it counterpoints the scares and the body horror. It’s excellent. Everyone should see it. So, anyway, werewolves sprang to mind when I read the word “noisy” not just because I am a horror monster fan but also because I heard foxes shrieking in the night. When I found the time to put pen to paper, therefore, what I drew was a werewolf howling at the moon.
This week’s Documented Life Project prompt was to “add a tab”. I was instantly uninspired. I don’t partake of the planner element of the project, for a few reasons, and it seemed like adding tabs was more appropriate for the planner element of the project than the art journal element. I was at a loss. I actually considered just skipping the week entirely.
Then I had an idea.
It has been a while since my kids had collaborated with me as part of the DLP. They have worked with me on two previous pages: one where they started the drawing and then I completed it and one where I had to incorporate a pocket. I decided, therefore, that the surest way of me becoming inspired was to work with my boys on the prompt. We decided upon a Halloween theme since we just celebrated Halloween on Friday. And school photos. We just received the kids’ school photos. They were not great and honestly I probably would have asked for retakes had it not been for the fact that we got drenched in a rainstorm on the walk home from school on the day they were issued with led to the photos being in less than pristine condition and, therefore, unreturnable. Monstrous school photos of cute monsters. That was my idea.
I drew four little kid monsters, from the classic movie monster range, as if they were having their photos taken. I drew a vampire, a werewolf, a mummy and a lagoon creature. I used watercolour and ink to colour and outline. Then came the tab element and my children’s input. I cut four tabs to correspond to the four monster characters and decorated them with a line of very thin washi tape to add some colour. I then used some arrow stamps to indicate the direction in which each tab should be lifted. I stamped the obverse side with some sugar skulls just to add to the Halloween theme further and to make the lifted side of the tabs more decorative. My kids’ contribution was that each was asked to draw something of their choice onto the tab that indicated who would be found beneath. My 5 year old drew a bat for the vampire, my 7 year old drew a moon and the word “howl” using a hairy font for the werewolf, my 9 year old drew a sarcophagus for the mummy and my 11 year old drew a fish for the swamp creature.
So I went from completely uninspired to inspired by including my boys in my prompt page.