Poppies

I turned another page in my Rainbow Art Journal and decided to do another two page spread.  I am still in the red section of my journal and thought of poppies.  I didn’t want to use a monochromatic palette so decided to incorporate some grey and green too but I probably used too much of those and not enough red in the end.  Not being very adept at painting flowers, I created the poppy blooms from clippings from magazine pages collaged onto the background.  I am pleased with how the hands turned out but otherwise I think this is one of the “blah” pages in my art journal.

13 Poppies

 

Rainbow Art Journal – Firebird Woman

I generally try to make do with the art materials I already own but a couple of months ago, armed with a 60% off coupon and a Michael’s gift card, I had a bit of a splurge.  I thought I could indulge myself since I was paying next to nothing from my own coffers so I bought a set of Dr Ph Martin’s Hydrus watercolours and a pack of Jane Davenport Mermaid Markers.  I had been coveting the Hydrus watercolours for a while.  Since I like to use liquid media very wet but also like the pigment to be punchy and bold, I had a feeling the concentrated watercolours would really appeal to me.  The Mermaid Markers were new to the market but I thought they might make for a good portable art supply and treated myself to them too.

Despite being a hyper organised control freak, I am not one of those people who makes up palette cards for each medium they own.  I tell myself I will make time to do it and yet somehow I just never do.  I did, however, think that my Rainbow Art Journal might be just the place to make a record of some of my media and what the colours look like on paper.  This page in the red section of my Rainbow Art Journal is the first of these.  The product name of the Mermaid Markers initially gave me the idea to illustrate a mermaid; however, I had just been listening to Stravinsky’s Firebird the day before so I decided to draw a sort of harpy, woman-phoenix hybrid, using the markers and some of the Hydrus paints. I worked quickly and loosely as a challenge to myself and because I really wanted to focus on playing with the media.  The mermaid marker is super juicy and richly pigmented.  If all the other colours are the same then I can definitely see those being a handy portable art resource.  The Lobster colour is a bold primary red so I used a lot of that in this illustration.  The hydrus colours added a bit more variety as the cadmium was a red leaning towards orange and the rose had a little blue in it I think to make it more purplish.  The three reds, therefore, provided me with enough variety on this page that I did not feel the need to add any other media except for a little black ink for details such as the face and the talon fingers.

12 Firebird Woman

Blue Warrior Woman

Last week’s Life Book lesson was taken by Amber Kuileimailani Bonnici and the idea was to work intuitively to paint a warrior figure, a trope of self-empowerment.  In the past six to twelve months I have gradually come to understand and accept about myself that I just don’t get great outcomes when I work intuitively.  The battle between my head and any gut feeling, between intellect and instinct I suppose, is just too great to be cooperative when I am in creative mode.  Perhaps it goes hand in hand with my style being definitely more illustrative than painterly.  I may continue to experiment with working intuitively when creating random backgrounds or attempting something more abstract but otherwise I have decided that I am going to largely opt out of working intuitively.  I figure there is no point in pursuing something that just isn’t working for me given how sparse my free time for art is.

When it came to last week’s Life Book lesson, therefore, I decided to adopt the central themes and ideas of the tutorial without adopting the same approach as Bonnici demonstrated.  For that reason, I chose to work with colours that instinctively appealed to me.  I have been crushing on turquoise combined with red a lot lately so I decided those would be my dominant colours and I figured the blue skin tones might also be a nod to the woad of a Pictish warrior.  She ended up a bit expressionless or at least set-jawed and stern but I am going to pretend that suits her as a strong warrior type rather than my inability to paint any sort of personality.  One of my sons asked if I was inspired by the movie ‘Avatar’ and another labelled her an “angry smurf” both of which comparisons made me chortle.  Not my best work but not my worst either and at least I am catching up on my weekly lessons after last week’s complete and utter lack of art time.

18 Warrior Woman

Rainbow Art Journal – Criss Cross

I love the combination of red and turquoise.  I love turquoise generally but there is just something about the combination of those two colours that really makes both sing, perhaps because it is an unexpected palette that works surprisingly well.  It’s a palette I have used quite a few times in my art work so when it came to the red pages in my Rainbow Art Journal I knew that turquoise would put in a guest appearance.  This piece turned out to be reminiscent of my Resting Acrobat from a few months ago.  I think that previous piece is more successful overall but the face is better in this piece since I managed to keep it closer to my original sketch and not let the proportions wander.

11b Criss Cross

Rainbow Art Journal – Little Red Riding Hood

My Rainbow Art Journal has segued out of its initial black stage into a red phase, as you may have observed.  I knew that somewhere in this section an interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood would appear because she and the wolf are characters who have cropped up time and time again in my art work over the years.  There is a definite connection in terms of palette and pattern between this new painting and a previous art journal page from 2015 but stylistically they are quite different.

I don’t know why I have always been drawn to Red Riding Hood as a fairytale because I was so wee when my moderate obsession started.  I do like wolves, love werewolves, and the psychological possibilities of the story of a girl journeying into the wilderness to confront and overcome a dangerous aspect of that wilderness.  With this art journal page, I wanted to depict the idea of the innocent girl and the bestial, primal wolf being interconnected, almost like a yin-yang balance.  That gave me the idea for the composition.  I actually thought to take some process shots as I worked on the double page spread over the course of a couple of weeks.  From the basic sketch, I then blocked in large areas of colour using acrylic paint.  I find that getting that one layer down really helps me as it creates a uniform surface on which to build additional layers and use a wider variety of media and it also immediately eliminates the white page so that I can more easily push some areas into the background while bringing other areas forward for emphasis.  It was then just a case of working away on the piece in little rations and gobbets of time, building up the tones and details.  I think of all of the Red Riding Hood pieces I have ever created, this is my favourite so far.

10a Red Riding Hood

10b Red Riding Hood

10c Red Riding Hood

10d Red Riding Hood

10e Red Riding Hood

Rainbow Art Journal – Snow White

Perhaps it was because the adjacent page was inspired by the fictional, dreamy world of Oz, or perhaps it was all the shiny red apples in the fruit bowl, but when I sat down at my art journal and looked at the blank page I decided that it should be a fairy tale and that tale should be Snow White.

I had fun experimenting with lots of different mixed media techniques on this journal page.  I collaged tissue paper, painted with gesso, and lifted paint to create texture.  I also forced myself to draw hands in a particular gesture.

9 Snow White

Rainbow Art Journal – Lady Death

Continuing with the monochrome black and white theme in my Rainbow themed art journal, I decided to challenge myself to work in white on top of black.  I did not have a subject in mind as I loaded the black acrylic on to the pages and actually cannot remember if anything in particular sparked the idea but I decided to draw an illustration of a female Death figure.  I opted against using pencil to sketch anything in so I worked directly in paint pen and gel pen to build up the figure, shape by shape, piece by piece.  The lack of pencil scaffolding meant that some of my proportions went skew-wiff (the arm on the right is too long) but otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed the freedom and spontaneity of working directly in pen and piecing all of the fragments together into one whole.  I did, however, completely use up my broader tipped paint pen so I really put the tools through a work out.  It took me a few sessions of drawing to complete it but it was a relaxing activity.

7a Lady Death