Monday, 14 June 2010

A Thought About Art

"Painting is just another way of keeping a diary."

Pablo Picasso

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Relaxation Through Art Journaling (Tranquil)

So many people seem to worry about being able to draw/paint faces and I wrote before on my blog about the joy of taking the art journalling approach to faces.....they become stylised and are not expected to conform to perfect proportional standards. Once you start, you will gradually notice that your faces have "your" stamp on them....they will all be recognisable as yours.

I found this little video on Youtube and thought it was a really good one to illustrate this point. It was available to share so thank you to the artist!


I would so love to have a garden but alas do not really have a proper one. I do, however, have the porch and a small patch at the front of the building where we live. I have several pots and have been waiting for the poppies growing in one of them to bloom. They are really huge and this morning two of them had popped out to say hello. They are so beautiful ....what a simple flower and yet hasn't nature created something very perfect to look upon. Absolutely glorious colour and perfect detail.

Journal Page

I started working on a new journal page the other day. I was following the theme for Freeing Your Wings for this month which is "Be in the moment with the natural world". I went off course really as I wanted to do another page in my "Faerie Journal" so rather than take my stimulus from being outside I started with an idea for a fairy. I have drawn her and started to colour her in with pastels but want to have her peeping out of flowers and hedgerow or something really. Our journalling group meeting didn't really take off so I never got round to finishing her but I will try and do so this week. I would love to think I had the patience to draw the tiny flowers I envisage all around her but not sure I will have.....maybe. To try that I will need to use ordinary coloured pencils as whenever I use water soluble crayons in this way I seek to be unable to control the flow of the colour and never like what I end up with. It seems rather "unbrave" to go back to simple coloured pencils since I have been experimenting with all sorts of media for the last year and a half.....but I still like to use them. They are comforting to work with....nothing drastic happens and I wonder if it is because they take me back to childhood?? Anyway that's the plan.....

Monday, 7 June 2010

Experimenting with creating faces

I thought it might be worth writing about how I got over my worries about drawing/painting faces that I felt happy with. I was never confident about drawing what I felt were "real" faces, always seeing so many errors in them. Early last year I started journalling and thanks to the encouragement poured into me through reading "Taking Flight" by Kelly Rae Roberts I realised that it was perfectly acceptable to create "stylised" faces and in fact I have grown to realise that drawing faces in this way makes them really your own and adds something rather nice to the feeling when completing one.

I started off tentatively with my coloured pencils, being careful not to be too adventurous and only slowly building up the colour as I began to realise that they were ok, far from perfect...but ok. Now when I look through my journal nearly 18 months later, I can see how my confidence grew with each attempt as I got a little braver each time! Now I am a typical Aries and cannot be bothered with endless experimental pages of making up colours so my colour experiments just took place directly on the faces I painted or drew. Consequently there are some quite strange looking complexions amongst them but on the other hand, I have a perfect record of my learning journey which gives me some strange sort of satisfaction. I still have a long way to go but it has now become a joy. I no longer pick up paintbrushes, pencils or pastels with trepidation and anxiety that I will make a mistake. I just have a go and it is fun!

Going back to last year, I moved on from coloured pencils to acrylics which I was used to as I had made several toyboxes for my grandchildren with these. I was quite happy painting kings, dinosaurs and fairies on these without a second thought about my abilities and so had got fairly used to the vaguaries (is that spelt right?) of this medium. I actually found the acrylics a great way to practise my colour mixing. It would seem to me that watercolours would be easier but for some reason I felt more confident with the malleable texture of the acrylics. That gave me the confidence I needed to try working with gouache and this was a real eye opener. I really enjoyed experimenting with this, different again but a softer result.

At the same time as trying out these ideas, I was really into my journalling which contributed greatly to my being able to "free myself up" which, looking back, I think had a huge impact on my beliefs that "Yes I could create some art worth looking at....not brilliant but worth a look at least". The collage added to my understanding of colours and helped me fill pages and create a finished product around my latest attempt at a face.

I worked with oil pastels on top of acrylics too....something I have long done as I love the textures it creates....but previously I had stuck with flowers or abstracts not tried it out on faces. I rubbed down bits of faces with a light sandpaper and used gesso to cover faces that I really wasn't happy with...then painted on top of the gesso. Mixing gesso with both gouache and acrylics, and also inks and dyes, gave me other effects that I used on more surreal faces like fairy faces.

Eventually I turned to chalk pastels which for some reason I do not understand, I had always shunned...unusual for me as I have always loved experimenting with all sorts of art media, especially when I was teaching. I got inspired by a video on using pan pastels but on discovering how expensive they were I settled for plain stick pastels. What a joy! I got my flesh colours so much more easily! Why had I avoided them so long? I have no idea, I love them now. Perhaps it was just the feel of the pastels on my fingers which I still don't like very much....but I love the results and they are so easy to change/alter/go over.

So wherever you are....and I guess if you are interested in my blog, you are probably just learning like me....just have a go. Throw caution to the wind and experiment. Get the basics of various media and try them out. Find what suits you, maybe it will be a mixture of all of them, like me. You can get student quality paints and pastels that are perfectly adequate, good in fact, and they won't break the bank. My first box of gouache paints cost me £5.99 for 12 colours, only last year.

Just do it.....if you like art then you will already know what a joy it is to just try. You lose all thoughts of everything else and just get lost in what you are doing. childlike in your experiments....don't be afraid, anything you create has did it after all.

Since my main intention for this blog spot is to focus on my art explorations, I that I can get back to it properly....I would upload a few of the drawings/paintings I have done most recently. I was experimenting with ordinary pastels when I did this, as when I did "Faerie". They were the first two pictures where pastels were my main medium. I have used oil pastels a lot before, although not for drawing faces, but for some reason, had not wanted to try ordinary pastels. Now I am hooked.....I really enjoyed experimenting with these.

With this image I tried to combine working with pastel with a collaged background and I wanted the girl to look as if she was just stepping out of it....her "story" is common to lots of women I expect....shy, not confident and having to dress up for something and "step out of the background". It certainly is an aspect of me. Isn't it funny how you can work on something when drawing or painting and then suddenly see some real aspect of yourself emerging. I really noticed this with two things in particular. Firstly it was the hairslide. I have an absolute passion for hair slides, have done since a teenager. For some silly reason, whenever I don't feel confident about myself if I put in a hairslide, it makes me feel much better!! They are also a lovely way of "dressing up" a bit without having to spend much or go too far! Secondly, I over-emphasised her lips and made them quite pink. I hated lipstick till I was about 40 and only then used a very pale one. I still normally only use a very pale one if I bother at all....but here I am much later in life....being like most women and loving to buy a new lipstick. Mostly they stay unused in my drawer, waiting for the day I will be brave enough to wear a darker one....but it has been so long now that I haven't worn a darker one, that I always thinks people will really notice if I do! Isn't that silly really....but my point is I really felt that, as I was colouring in her lips, that I was putting a bit of me on the page and that is when I realised the whole thing was a reflection of one bit of me or something buried deep inside. I wonder how many others of us do this in our work?

Hmm....something odd happening here....

Well this is a bit odd....where has the rest of my little blog spot gone? When I signed in all I can access is this blank blog let's see what happens when I click on "publish post".....