This week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was to incorporate a silhouette as part of the art journal page. Some weeks I read a prompt and have no ideas and some weeks I read a prompt and am overwhelmed by too many ideas at once. This was an example of the latter. There were so many ways I could have taken the idea of a silhouette.
I had a page already underway in my art journal that was going nowhere in particular but where I had plonked a wine label slap bad in the middle. I had actually intended to glue the wine label into my rainbow themed art journal but I guess I was rushing and it was late at night so it ended up in my regular art journal. There were also some scraps of text paper already adhered to the page, leftovers from some other project. I decided that should be the background of my silhouette page. But then I realised that the wine label would likely end up completely covered up. That was when I decided I would create a reverse silhouette with the surrounding area being black and the chosen shape emerging in negative rather than positive.
Something you may not know about me is that I love sharks (and whales). It has been a lifelong thing. I would actually dearly love to dive with sharks but its the claustrophobia of scuba gear underwater that deters me. Despite the fact – or maybe because – I doodle sharks frequently, a shark has only put in one solitary, rogue shark appearance in my art journal. It was a messy collage of torn paper that resulted in a rather dorky looking shark. After adding a light paint layer over the collage, therefore, it was just a case of quickly drawing out a shark silhouette shape and then painting black into the negative space. Quick and easy.
This is the second completed page in my “rainbow art journal”. Right now, of course, it isn’t very colourful since I decided to start with absence of colour in the form of black. This page was inspired by my friend Krisje over at her blog, Art is my Favorite Color. She recently blogged about an art journal page where she painted over collage which reminded me that I have not attempted that sort of approach – using a collaged figure as scaffolding – in ages. I, therefore, decided that would be the technique used on this page and I actually remembered to take progress photos. First I laid down a pretty random collage comprising the interior of a security envelope, washi tape, text pages, a figure clipped from a magazine advert, and the labels from a bottle of wine I had consumed that week.
What became evident fairly quickly was that the collage elements became all but lost beneath the black paint, even when it was thinly applied. I just went with it and made a mental note to revisit this technique when using a lighter colour of paint. Perhaps because of the nature of the material, the Honey Beast wine labels were the one collage element that really came through the collage. I was glad because I loved that honey bee design and that then provided me with a theme for my art journal page. I picked out the bee design a bit more by filling it with white gel pen. This was definitely the “ugly stage”.
Once the base layer of acrylic paint was dry, I used other media to layer, refine, and add detail. An art friend had passed me a collection of little stamps on an insect theme and among them was a bee. I stamped this throughout the hair of the figure to tie her to the honey bee and then I used white Posca paint pen to give her bee-like wings. While the technique was not wholly successful, it was fun to do something I had not done in a while and useful to learn that painting over collage does not work so well with very dark colours. That is what my art journal is all about after all – experimentation through fun.