Monday, 30 September 2013

More Art Journaling

You know how it is when something new comes through and you are riding a wave? I have been feeling more art journal inspiration this week. I am excited about trying out new ways of working, partly caused by my new repurposed art journal.

One idea was inspired by my blog friend and wonderful artist, Lynne Hoppe. She works a lot in repurposed books and we were having a little email conversation about her methods. She does amazing paintings of faces and magical little figures in her books. During our conversation a kind of light went on. Why do I always feel like I have to collage over painted backgrounds, why not painting images?
Unfinished acrylic painting of a woman and a raccoon
Unfinished(?) painting in my repurposed art journal
My training and experience is in oil painting and I haven't done much painting with acrylics so it feels pretty awkward. But what better place to practice and experiment than in my art journal?

repurposing an old art journal
Here is pretty much how I am approaching the repurposing. I usually gesso over most of the page, leaving any bits that I like. After the gesso is dry, I add some matt medium over the exposed pieces so that the paint I add later doesn't soak into the writing or drawings. 

I have been working in my square art journal as well. I am leaving pages unpainted for spontaneous drawings. I call them stream-of-consciousness drawings because I usually just start drawing, not knowing what I am going to draw.

ink drawing of an angel with fish behind her
Stream-of-consciousness drawing
I quite liked this sad little angel. I am not certain that she is an angel, I am just assuming because of the wings. A few people on facebook found her dreamy rather than sad, but I kind of think something bad happened to her.

ink and watercolour drawing of an angel with fish behind her
Wounded Angel
I then went ahead and painted the background in around her and coloured her with inktense pencils. What do you think? Should I have left her just in black and white?

There is more journaling in process, but I might just leave you the photo I took of this poor magpie on our day at the beach. The magpie was okay, but it looked for a moment like he had a fight coming up over the bread crust we gave him.

photo of a magpie being bullied by 4 Ibis for his crumb
Ibis bully gang
Don't the Ibis look like a gang of bullies? 

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

My New-Old Repurposed Art Journal

I began an experiment last week, repurposing an old art journal.

I have seen a few old books repurposed to be used as an art journal and have always thought it was very cool. I altered a board book years ago, but obviously a regular book is different again. Usually people glue the pages together in groups of 2-4, depending upon their thickness. All that gluing was making me hesitate.
A4 sketch book
As I was sitting at my computer desk, where I do most of my art journaling, when I noticed my old 2011 experimental journal that I never completed. Most of the pages are pretty plain. I was trying out stream-of-consciousness drawing for the first time and well, most things don't look very impressive the first time you do them.

(If you want to read more about stream-of-cosciousness drawing and my second attempt, go here. It is a post about a booklet I sewed up especially for the drawings and my beginning. I think I want to make a little video of how that booklet turned out. It was pretty cute, and a bit of a surprise.)

Then I had the thought, what about using my old A4 art journal to repurpose? I have been working in a 20cm (8") square journal for the past year, I wouldn't mind bringing an A4 (12"x8") into the mix again.

drawing of a man and a dog walking
Art Journal spread in Process

I began to change things up by painting over some of the old pages with the old drawings. Mostly I have kept the drawings, but with paint over and around.

art journal background
Art Journal pages in progress
Sometimes I pasted down some writing I had cut out of one of my notebooks before I painted. If you want to see more about the process of the spread above it is in my earlier post.

old art journal pages

Here you can see how plain the pages were to start with. No backgrounds, no paint. Just writing and pen drawings with some colour.

art journal pages
Repurposed art journal pages

Here is the spread that I finished. It isn't that it's some amazing art journal spread or anything; I don't really judge my art journal pages anyway. For me it about the experience of seeing how to change it up and what happens. 

Art Journal pages in progress

Here you can get some idea of what it looked like before. It was just writing all around the drawing. Obviously I have already started painting it in the photo.

Here was what I wrote in the journal when I first began in 2011. It was experimental then, and it is experimental now. 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Loving These Very Simple Art Journal Pages

I find the lovely simple look of Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd's art journal pages inspiring. She calls it her little scraps journal. Beautiful.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Lots of Art Journaling this Week

I have been reentering my art journaling lately. I regularly art journal, but sometimes I have a renewal in interest and I journal much more.
Part of my renewal has to do with more writing directly into my art journal. Sometimes I want to write stuff just to get it out but don't necessarily want to read it later. Or I don't care if I can read some insight I or a friend might have had, but I want to know it is in there - somewhere.

With this in mind I have been playing a bit with how to reveal and conceal my writing. This is one experiment where I really liked the outcome:
gessoing to create a background in my art journal
art journal background 
I had written a lot on this page and now was ready to move into making it a background. Often I gesso over writing, but this time I didn't want to necessarily cover it all up. So I used a masking technique with these letters, gessoing around them.

After the gesso was dry, I brushed some matt medium over the ungessoed bits so they wouldn't soak up all the paint and get too dark.

keeping some writing in my art journal background
art journal background made with gesso resist
I applied a few layers of colour. The next stage for this spread will be collaging.

gesso in an art journal
More gesso resist with matt medium 
Here is another one. Just showing you because I am excited about the new technique.

red art journal background
more gesso resist background
This time in reds. 

And yet more art journaling. One of my students has been using an old book for her art journaling. She glues the pages together and then gessos them, sometimes leaving bits ungessoed. I find the way it looks very exciting. I have wanted to do it, but wasn't enthusiastic about all the gluing before I could begin.

I have had this old A4 art journal on my desk for a while. I started it in '11 and was only using it for stream-of-consciousness drawing and diary entries. It was an experiment. I filled it about 1/2 full and lost interest. There are some good drawings later on, but most of the pages I don't care about.

I had the thought, it could be my repurposed art journal. So I glued down some more recent writing I had done in a notebook. Then I got out the paints and my background stamps.

apologies for the fuzzy photo.

 I did some dot stamping with gesso and then put down a coat of a new yellow, Hansa Light, that I bought last week. 

I added cadmium red and stamped a bit more with the red. 

art journal spread background
altering my old art journal spread
I wanted to tone down all the red. After I added the Payne's Grey I liked it better. I might go back in and strengthen some of the drawing, probably the top pig. We will see.

unfinished flower drawing

I started a drawing of this flower that I picked up on my morning walk, I don't know what it is. I brought in another one from my walk the next day, but they didn't look enough alike so I never finished it. I had to decide to just let it be a study.

I haven't done a lot of refashioning this week. Some hand-stitching but no progress really worth showing. I think I have finally figured out what my sewing mannequin is for. It really works to adjust sizing. I mean of course, but I just didn't trust it somehow. This shirt was huge when I thrifted it and I have been slowly cutting it down and pinning in new darts. Fingers crossed, I could really use some light woven tops for summer.

Here it the shirt when I bought it about a year ago. 

I will finish off with my artist date with my friend on Monday. It was a wintery day, probably the last as we go into spring. The first rain we have had in 6 weeks. 

The light was beautiful. I loved the colour of the ocean. I was fantasising about being able to photograph a model half in the water in that light. I don't imagine the model would be too thrilled though - it was cold.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Postcard Drawing, More Scenes for Mermaids and Dyeing Some Clothes

the Pass, Byron Bay
I am still looking at scenes for the possible new series. This is another possibility. Can't you see a mermaid or two around these rocks? What attracts me is the sense of in-between. To me, the rocks framing the sea looks like a kind of threshold or gateway into another realm.

More inspiration. The little molluscs were sticking their necks/heads (?) in and out. I took pity on the little guy and threw him into the sea. I was afraid he would dry out. Who knows if I did him a good deed or if he preferred to stay where he was. 

drawing of a house on a floating island
unfinished stream of consciousness drawing
I went a bit further with the stream-of-consciousness drawing in my art journal (that is what I call it when the drawing is unplanned and I don't know what I am drawing but just see what comes out). If you want to see the earlier version go here.

art journal page with woman and birds
unfinished art journal page with collage
Here is another spread in my art journal. I am quite happy with how this one is going (it isn't finished). I like it so much it might be difficult to finish it for fear of messing it up. Always a danger - the fear stopping you.

dyed bed sheet, 3/4 pants and vest
I didn't get a lot of refashioning done this week. Saturday I dyed this old sheet, some thrifted linen 3/4 pants and a faded black vest. I only had black dye but wanted everything to be grey so I just put more stuff in the pot. The colour is what I wanted.

But there were a few problems. The bed sheet had stains which got a lot worse with the dye. Not a biggie as I can cut around them. I might use the sheet to make a skirt.

Dyed linen thrifted 3/4 pants
The pants were a bit more disappointing. I always forget that the dye doesn't work on the polyester thread. As you can see, the zipper and thread has stayed white. It actually shows up more than in the photo. Yuck. 

The wallabies have been all over the place. Spring is in the air. Not a great photo but I wanted to get you into the mood for the drawing that I finished.

unfinished drawing of animals in the back garden
drawing in progress

It is the one I showed you in my last post. It is for a local show called 'Up and Down the Town' and all the artwork has a size limit of 13cm x 18cm. Above it is a little further along than when you saw it last.

pen and watercolour drawing of animals in the yard
"Back Door to the Studio" by Zom Osborne
And here it is finished. It is basically the size that you see it. The subject is a play on portraying my neighbourhood. Some days my neighbourhood is pretty small as the furthest I go is between the house and the studio. But I still have lots of company, as you can see.

I went to life drawing again this week. The model was inexperienced and had a hard time holding a pose. But I still enjoyed drawing her.

She had a great face. I wish I had had time to finish the portrait.

I will finish off where I started. Monday was beautiful but so windy that I didn't stay long. The hills in the distance are where I live.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Lots of Drawing and Some Refashioning this Week

a pen and watercolour drawing in progress
drawing in progress
 I will start with what I am working on today; a small watercolour drawing for a casual show in a local gallery. All the pieces have to be post card sized, 13cm x 18cm. I think the work is only up for a weekend.

The show is called Up and Down the Town. I interpreted that as the opportunity to show my neighbourhood. Some days it is very small, as I spend days just going between the house and my studio. But even so there can be lots of good company.

I thought it might be interesting to show you the space it is representing. All the above creatures (and more) have been where they are drawn at some point in time. The drawing is a piece of collapsed time.

I have recently felt reignited in my art journaling. My new enthusiasm came partly from realising that I want to do a lot more writing in my journal. It is funny, considering how I go on to my students about how your art journal is whatever you need it to be, but once again I had to get past my own ideas of what I shouldn't do in my art journal (you can't have whole pages just of writing! Uh, yes you can). 
It also came from deciding to bring my stream-of-consicousness drawing into my art journal. I don't know if you remember, but  a few months ago I made a special little journal to fill with these drawings.

I am curious what you think of the difference between these two versions of this drawing. I try and remember that my art journal is a place for experimentation - so if something pops into my head to try out I remind myself to go for it, and not worry about 'ruining' it.

I think the guy looks better but the spread suffered. What do you think?

Above is the beginning of another stream-of-consciousness drawing. I don't know where it is going (which of course is kind of the point) or if it is finished. 

Sorry about the foot. That is a little embarrassing.

And onto my new refashion. Three thrifted men's t-shirts into one. This is the back. If you want to see how it began go here.

a blue t-shirt refashion in progress
tshirt refashion, front

And the front. I am in the middle of hand-stitching it so it is inside out.

t-shirt refashion in progress on a mannikan
t-shirt refashion front
I am wondering whether I need to put something on the plain side or just leave it? What do you think?

life drawings
life drawings
We had a wonderful model at life drawing this week. It is strange, but sometimes I find it difficult to draw someone so inspiring. I think that was because she had a grace and beauty that I was trying to capture but felt I failed. When I looked at the drawings later most of them weren't so bad.  

Do you remember the little dead bird I drew last week? After the drawing was finished, I gently placed her outside in this palm frond. She stayed apparently untouched for days.

Then bang, she was gone. I am hoping the ants will strip everything away and I will get a little bird skeleton. I hope this isn't too macabre for you. I am just curious how her little bones fit together. I want to draw them.

A rocky beach

And finally another happy artist date with my dear friend. On my request, we went to the Cabarita Foreshore Trail, just north of Hastings Point. I was thinking of more mermaid inspiration for a new series of paintings.

A beach and headland
Where do you think they would be? Is this rocky enough? I keep seeing tide pools, but there aren't a lot around here. We mostly have white sand beaches.

Where I grew up, in Oregon, we had perfect beaches for the mermaids. Deserted, windy and forlorn and full of rocks and tide pools.

reminder sketch

Here is a sketch I did of one place that I could see the mermaids.
This isn't supposed to be a drawing to show someone, you might not even be able to tell what it is. It is a sketch to remind myself. When I draw something I can look at the drawing and remember drawing it.

In this case it was especially fortunate that I drew the scene because the photo does not capture what I saw. The feeling is almost completely lost. But between the sketch and the photo I will remember.

a rock pool at low tide
Mermaids here