Tuesday, July 9, 2013

When Art Invites You In

I have been either a very bad girl or a very good girl, depending on your point of view. I have been making much art and traveling as well, but I have gotten out of the habit of writing about them. You see, I have lately been overtaken to the extreme by my new found love of drawing. They say that to get better at something you need to do it every day, make time for it just like a job, just do it. I guess I took that to heart this spring, because this "Mermaid Circus" class seems to have taken a turn for the obsessive. I draw and paint and letter and cut collage materials. I shop for new art supplies and make room for them in carts and boxes and closets and piles. I try them out in new combinations and make lists of even more colors to own. I post photos to my class group, and friend my classmates on Facebook. The photos show up on Flickr too, but because the class is not centered there, that venue has taken a back seat for now. I am, in short, in the hackneyed phrase and with no irony, living the dream!

The sketch on the right was done while watching a video lesson, then used as the basis for a painting in acrylics and colored pencil.
It all started with that first face drawing lesson (see the April 29 entry) in which I drew and painted along with my teacher Jane Davenport. I was hooked! I realized that I don't have to draw "real" people if I don't want to, I can learn to work first with stylized faces and character creation. Bingo! I am learning to love storytelling, and I really want to be able to draw a face with consistency and personal style. This second face, "The Upturned Face" lesson, was the start of a series of three successful journal story pages based on the same initial sketch.

Adding the first shadows and highlights, bringing it to life.

Portrait of a sweet young mermaid, later to be called Cecelia.

Now it was time to reuse the art. This is the crazy looking but well conceived beginning to a story of Cecelia and her goldfish. The face would be color copied but painted over, and the fish, also an enhanced version of a piece of journal art from three years ago.
Practicing mixed media tricks: the luminescent sea is created by painting  Golden Fluid Acrylic over the red/orange base, spraying with water and blotting. The hair has quite a bit of florescent orange and red paint. The mermaid's tail end is a piece of batik fabric collaged with gel medium. Matte, shine, glow, texture.

A second use of the painted face was made with a tissue transfer of the original: color copying direction on (supported) white artist's tissue to make a sheer version, which was matte medium applied over a copy of a (real) tattoo pattern (meant for an arm). Finally, paint and pencil enhanced to change the coloration and character of the girl.

This became "A True Tale of Caution" about a mermaid who went  "bad".

Meanwhile, it was time for Teesha Moore's sixteen page journal to take center ring. I decided to dedicate the whole thing to one story, the actual "Mermaid Circus," styled a bit after impressions received while reading the novel "The Night Circus." 

Learning about (and liking) folded small flaps as extra pages.

I had a mammoth collaging session during this week and painted and prepared the collaged story on all sixteen pages. It will probably take me months more to get the time to finish them all, but now the story is set for me with a trajectory and a style that will add consistency to the finished book.

Be sure to click on the images to see them larger and check out some of the pen work and shading.
Meanwhile back at the zoo, I was neglecting my original 2013 muse, the giraffe. In preparation for "Paint the Giraffe" month in June, May was a time to explore color, consider our preferences, analyze a bit, get to know something about pleasing palettes. The next three images are collaged pages from an inspiration journal I had begun about ten years ago. Strangely enough, they still inspired. Now that I am learning about mixing collage with pen work, I look forward to returning to these at some point to develop them further.

Purple and more purple for me, but deepened.

My favorite for many years, purple and green, but ethereal.

And yet again, with an interesting image of "art clothing".

Sometimes the man has a day free to spend with me that coincides with great weather and a peaceful place. Before the heat of summer, we enjoyed a hike on the beach of Lake Michigan and up to the summit of "Mount Baldy" one of the high points in the Indiana Dunes National Park.

Because the normal route up the side of the hill is being recovered from erosion, we were forced to hike all the way down to the beach, along the shore and then straight up the hill. It was a fabulous workout and proof that keeping fit makes life more fun.

Nearing the top and where, on a clearer day, you would have a view of Chicago fifty miles to the west across the lake.

Feeling happy, but with about a pound of sand inside each sneaker. Soon we were off the the outlet stores to find me a pair without holes.

Trying to establish a daily drawing routine in a journal, I prepped a number of pages in my Moleskine with acrylic paint, then started using them to inspire complex doodles or simple themed drawings. This one was about keeping occupied during a yard sale, but ended up looking like fireworks over New York City.
This one was full of affirmations to just draw what was in my heart, Teesha style.

This "fat mermaid" was a Jane Davenport drawing lesson that felt not quite ready for my "prime time" journal, until it was complete, and then I realized: I am ready for prime time, this is it. I'm doing good work and so proud of how far I've come in just a few years. Art has made me its friend I have bonded with it. I think we will be traveling companions for a long time to come.

1 comment:

  1. This is all so inspiring! Especially love the tattooed and "fat mermaid" images.

    I've been tiptoeing around art journaling for a while now, wondering where to find more hours in the day for it. Maybe when my Alabama-Chanin-inspired garments are done? (that's where my "play time" is going now).