July 13, 2009

Soul Journal – Day 22 – Self portrait

Posted in Art, Art for beginners, Art journals, Beginner's art, Fun & frivolity, Soul Journal tagged , at 1:01 am by amateur-in-art

Today’s assignment was to write a “today I feel” prompt, then go to work with finger painting!  (latex glove recommended!)

I used gray gesso to start on top of my writing and it really blocked things out too much, even when I mixed it with some white to lighten it. The pictures aren’t worth posting here.  Then I put on the background, using 3 colors – green, blue, and pink.  I just squirted the colors right onto the page and then smeared around with my fingers. I was hoping they would not blend so easily so I could have some pretty solid bands of straight color, but it did not work out that way.

Then it was time for my “self portrait”. I cannot draw or do anything like that, so I went with the basic stick figure. In the end, I decided that was fine because stick figure is equally childlike as finger painting, so I decided it was a good match. The stick figure has a balloon in her hand although it looks like something otherwise unidentifiable. I also filled her out a little bit, giving some substance to her body, to help show that she was a grown woman, and not a child.  Because it was finger painting and kids  often include their pets, I added a cat on the bottom left, but he looks kinda funny. (love the fluffy tail, though!)

SJ-Day22

Then Sarah told us to add personal symbols or things that were important to us. I definitely wanted to add a cardinal, and I think he didn’t turn out too bad, considering he was finger painted. I also added a book (ha ha – the black thing that looks like a sad butterfly).  At this point, I still had some black paint to use up, so I did “fingertip dots” around the edges of the pages – and I like the way that part turned out.

I’m not much for self-portraits, because I can’t draw other people, let alone myself, but I did like the finger painting aspect of this, and I esp. like my cardinal.  I think this would make a great photocopy page, to reuse in the future.

I believe we’re almost coming to the end of the Soul Journal Journey, at least, the initial one with Sarah. I had no idea it would take me this long, but I have really enjoyed the trip and the things I have learned about myself, and about art and art making, along the way. I really liked following along in Sarah’s blog, Caspiana.

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© amateur-in-art, 2009

June 30, 2009

Soul Journal – Day 21 plus – Secret Superhero

Posted in Art, Art for beginners, Art journals, Art samples, Beginner's art, Soul Journal tagged , at 9:27 pm by amateur-in-art

On Day 21, Sarah gave us two options. A scribble misfit character or a “secret superhero.” I really enjoyed doing the misfit exercise, so I thought I’d try my hand at the secret superhero, too. I have to say that artistically, I’m much more disappointed with this outcome than I was with the misfit. My scribble character turned out kind of weird, and the end result is “only OK” – but hey, that’s alright. I still like the exercise, and there are parts of my end result that I like.

Once again, I started with a scribble on the right hand page, then played with the scribbles in my mind until I started to see a character. I saw a small head, what looked like a fist in the air, and some flowing capes. In the end, after I traced it and gave it firmer edges, it ended up looking kind of like a grasshopper or insect head, on sort of a fish-like body, with a cape.

SJ-Day21plusRbrain

It is a weird scribble-character. But I knew from the very beginning, though, that I wanted my “secret super hero” to be my Right Brain. I’ve been reading some lately about left/right brain stuff, and realize I am way way WAY too left-brained. Left brain is logic, order, linear, and yes/no. Right brain is creative, carefree, and amorphous.

Given their characteristics, then, I think these two pages turned out about right. I really like my brick building on the left. And I like its simplicity. I did this probably a week or so ago, and am just now getting around to posting – I had forgotten that I wrote on the door “No solicitors or new ideas!” That made me laugh. I even put a little lock on the door! I made the address 123 because anything else would be too creative for my left brain and it would want that logical sequence.

Although I’d prefer to have a different-looking character for my right brain superhero, I like the overall feel of these two pages, and I think the free form, color, and just general weirdness of my right brain character does a pretty good job of summing up what the right brain “looks like” in a metaphorical sense. I really enjoyed this scribble prompt – but have to admit I like my “misfit” results better than my superhero. But a good time had by all, nevertheless. Both really kind of helped “stretch” me – and that’s a good thing!

P.S. I realized just now as I am posting that Sarah’s original prompt was for a “sad superhero” instead of “secret superhero.” Oh well. I like having a secret superhero. It works for me!

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© amateur-in-art, 2009

June 9, 2009

Soul Journal – Day 21 – “Misfit”

Posted in Art, Art journals, Beginner's art, Collage, Soul Journal tagged , , , at 10:51 pm by amateur-in-art

I’ve worked on this page off and on in small flurries over the past couple of months. It’s not that involved, just spent time on other things.

Today’s assignment was to scribble and then play with it like seeing pictures in clouds and see what emerged from the scribble for you. I saw, at first, a Kermit-the-Frog type head, and then it looked like a woman waving a baton, who was wearing some type of a Maid Marian type of headress. She looked “scolding.”

SJ21-ScribbleStart

This made it obvious to me that I had a very unhappy, naggy, music teacher on my hands. I painted her in. I’m not sure why I chose the colors I did. I guess green for the face partly because it looked like Kermit but I think also maybe as a little “envy” or just “monster”.  Purple just seemed to go with the green. Red eyes because she has power and seems evil to her victims.  Then I pasted a page of music on the opposite page, and whited out the lyrics with some gesso.

SJ21-CreatureMusic

Day 21 was about creating a “misfit” character, or to think about a time where we felt like a misfit, when others just didn’t “get” us or our art. My upset music teacher didn’t quite fit that category – but her poor victim could.

I started working on the left hand page by using an Aquarelle watercolor crayon and rubbing it across the music paper and the gessoed background. I used brown and ochre. I wet a sponge and ran it across the page and it really spread around nicely – and I actually realized a little goes a long way with those water color crayons. I don’t need much.   I liked the texture when used dry, so I went over it again later, after it had dried.

Over the few days prior to this, I had been thinking some about spirals – and I truly cannot draw anything at all if I’m trying for “realism” – but I decided I could draw a tuba using a spiral. I think it turned out pretty well, and it looks to me like a pretty hip ‘n’ happenin’  and happy tuba.

SJ21-TubaStart

When thinking of this in context of being paired with the Mean Music Teacher, the phrase, “Tubas Should be Seen and Not Heard” came to me, and I decided that would be my key line on this page. That now made my tuba my “misfit character.”

SJ21-TubaFinish

Then I added all sorts of things that the tuba would be subject to, like “Go play a flute” and “You can’t carry a melody” and so on.

This was a really interesting page to me, because what all the taunts and criticisms amounted to was an attack on the Tuba’s essential nature and purpose. Of course a tuba is big. Of course a tuba is loud. And maybe even of course a tuba won’t be playing a melody. They weren’t made to play a melody. And this particular tuba is pink –  maybe a little unusual for tubas, but it is this particular tuba’s essential identity. I think there may even be some subtle feminism going on here, too. A “woman in a man’s world” as it were.  I *really* like this page, and the more I think about it, the more I get out of it. I mean, really – how ridiculous is it to tell a Tuba, of all things – that it should be seen and not heard? Any self-respecting tuba would say, “Oh yeah? OOOMPAHHHHHH!!!! to you!”

It took me forever to decide what finishing touches to put on the teacher. I knew I wanted to add some sort of commentary about her not being able to recognize talent, or squelching little kid’s dreams, but I never could quite figure out exactly what to have her say.  So finally, I just “did it”.

SJ21-TeacherFinish

“Mrs. McGillicudy was blind to talent in unexpected places (it scared her).”

SJ21-BothPages

I really like the way this all turned out, and I think it was a fabulous assignment. It really brought up a lot of “issues” I have about creativity, talent, and some of those old voices of criticism that I still sometimes hear or that evil bane of creative types – “practicality”.

(No, I never did have an evil music teacher and I never did play the tuba. But I like having this little happy pink Tuba as my alter ego!)

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© amateur-in-art, 2009

June 6, 2009

Wreck This Journal!

Posted in Art for beginners, Art journals, Fun & frivolity tagged , at 12:45 am by amateur-in-art

Today is Day 1 of “The Next Chapter – Wreck This Journal!” led by Jamie Ridler. Even if you’re late, you can still join, and it looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun!

I’ve decided to start a new blog, just for it, so bounce on over to
Wreck This Journal – (An Amateur’s Adventures in Art) to see what’s happening!

© amateur-in-art, 2009

April 19, 2009

Soul Journal – Day 20 – Bookmark

Posted in Art, Art for beginners, Art journals, Art samples, Beginner's art, Collage, Learning art, Rubber stamping, Soul Journal tagged at 9:37 pm by amateur-in-art

Also as part of Day 20, we are to make a bookmark. In the original Soul Journal, the bookmark was part of a swap, but that was many months ago, and I’m not sure I’d want to give away mine anyway (it has its flaws, but it’s mine).

Actually, I ended up with two bookmarks. The first one I started by doing a photocopy transfer using acetone (fingernail polish remover). I had already torn up my photocopies of Day 6 and so I did the photocopy transfer using strips from that page.

firstbookmarkcopies

It is a really simple technique. Just lay the photocopy face-down on the page, dab the back of it with acetone, burnish – and there’s your transfer! You can see the area where I transferred the orange/yellow panel with a pattern just above it in this picture. Here’s a picture of the final version, below.

firstbookmark1

I didn’t like the “stripe” that showed up in the middle of my tag. It is some sort of aberration in the paper or something, I think. Maybe it has to do with how they were manufactured. Overall I like this tag, but clearly it needs more work and is just a beginning. I wasn’t sure what to do or where to go to next with it, so I just tossed it aside and started afresh.

This time, I took torn bits from Day 18 and covered a tag. I used the stamp that is my avatar (the half-face of a woman) but because the surface was uneven, it did not stamp well.

bookmarkstart

Undaunted, I pressed on. I had just seen some fabulous new stamps from Tim Holtz at the store, and knew I wanted to use the flying bird image and the “Soul/Journey” phrase on my new bookmark!

bookmarkstamps

I decided to give embossing a shot. I had gotten a heat tool and some embossing powder a little while back and had not tried it yet. This was all new to me, but since I had already made one mistake I wasn’t happy with, I figured I had nothing left to lose. So I did that, and although the image turned out much stronger with the embossing (an important lesson) – it still did not stamp correctly, due to the uneven surface of the different bits and pieces of paper glued down together. I was really disappointed that the “The Journey Awakens the Soul” phrase did not come out well.

But onward I must go. I wasn’t sure what to do about the really messed-up stamp in the lower right, but decided to use a piece from a collage sheet, add some ink to distress it, and use it to cover up the bad spot.

Distressed next to original

Distressed next to original

Positioned and outlined with dyed string from tag

Positioned and outlined with dyed string from tag

Now, to work on the back. I still used torn up bits of paper from Day 18. Then some letter-stickers spelling out “Soul Journal” and a tag-type sticker, cut in half then reattached so it would not be so big, where I wrote in the years. Then I outlined them both with a thin-line marker.

bookmarkback

Then I added a pink ribbon at the top, with two jewelry charms from (love the name) Heart & Soul. One is a key and the other says “Trust in Your Dreams”.

bookmarkdetail

Here you can see the details on the charms and you can see the other side of one of them says, “Be Free.” A few other things to point out in this detailed view. Before adding the ribbon, I also dabbed on some pigment ink around the reinforcement around the hole, on both sides of the bookmark. I took my heat tool to dry it – but I think the heat may have made the color shift just below the hole in this picture – where the two red lines are, see how it goes to black in the middle of the green, just underneath the hole? Finally, one other detail. As a finishing touch to the whole piece, I used some yellow watercolor and edged the whole bookmark, on both sides. It really gave it a nice look, overall. (You can compare the difference by looking at the back of the bookmark, and the picture preceding it which is the front, without the yellow trim.)

I definitely like this bookmark much better than my first attempt, and although I wish the “Journey Awakens the Soul” part would have turned out better, I still really like it, overall.

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© amateur-in-art, 2009

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