I painted this years ago, and even though I see it on a nearly daily basis, it stopped mentally registering its presence at some point. It was just there and part of what is—taken for granted, and no longer the thrill it was when I first painted it. The excitement was diminished with time.
Over the weekend, I took a moment to look more closely at it once again and discovered that the world has been remaking my art—adding a delicious patina achieved only through the passage of time. I worked on it for one day, the world has been working on it ever since. It has been a collaboration with Mother Nature, and she’s invested far more effort than I have.
Six years have passed during which so much life has been lived, and so many planned and unplanned events have happened.
I’ll have to take a look in another six years. I wonder if it will be there?
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There were a couple of sessions that I just could not bring myself to do on the day. This was one of them because it meant working with acrylics (not too bad). As I started to watch the video, however, I discovered I would be attempting to use new tools and I would be mixing a lot of colors.
This was a workshop that needed more than a bit of time in the midst of a busy day. I wanted quiet time, and I found a while early this morning.
I’m going to grade myself gently at a C+ or maybe a B-.
Then I remembered this is my sketchbook, so it is meant for experimentation and learning.
There were some supplies that I just didn’t have, and I didn’t have the experience to compensate. There was a point at which I had a fist full of palette knife and two paintbrushes while I was grabbing a tube of paint to squeeze another blob. It was chaotic, and there was no resurrecting the painting.
If it had been painted on a canvas, I would have painted over it already. Instead I set it aside to dry and wrote notes about the lessons I’d learned.
After you critique the work you do, step away for a while and then take another look.
In this case I was able to find three happy notes for myself. It assuages the frustration, and reminds me that nothing that happens in a sketchbook is all bad.
No pranks here just Sketchbook Revival Day 10 Session 2 results.
“Mindful Practice: Mixed Media Art Journaling” with Tania Ahmed was some fun with acrylics and a palette knife again…woohoo.
The effect of the palette knife when there is barely any paint on it any more is wonderful!
After the paint smears however, I diverged from her methods only because I didn’t have any materials with which to make stamps.
As a substitute, I tried applying some paint to the bottom of a pencil sharpener I have in a triangular case. That resulted in some white blobs on the page. MEH.
Before the blobs, the page had been a little dear to me. My smears created a person taking their pet seal for a walk in the park! Go ahead, take another look. I’ll wait.
Right? Yeah, fun. So anyway, the piece was no longer as dear after the white blobs. Now I could just play.
I used my favorite paintbrush…
…with stiff bristles and a thin profile to create some angled movement through the blobs. In some cases it just improved my blobs, in other cases some of the blue and green under the white was lifted and blended.
After stamping, Tania moved on to other embellishments for pattern. I always revert to circles…little bunches of them.
I made the bunches of circles with two brush pens and one fineliner. And the Chinese character for person was added to the page to populate the park.
Tania moved on to placing a photograph of a woman (cut form a catalog) in her piece. I have a preponderance of garden catalogs at this time of year. Thumbing through one of those, I passed over quite a few lovely blooms, and found this hellebore bloom in cream and green—suitable for the color scheme.
Once on the page, it looked as stuck to the page as it was. An extra layer, yes, but and awkward and out of sync layer. I put a dollop of green on my palette and blended the flower into the background around the edges. That was worse…like Watergate coverup worse. Fine, maybe not that bad, but not good.
For the briefest of moments I eyeballed the pencil sharpener case and though about adding blobs. Nooooooooo!
Dollop of white on the palette, and more brush work. Yeeeesssss!
A few of the people characters were obliterated in the cover up—isn’t that usually the case?
Overall the piece still felt like a hot mess, and it needed something done to it with intention and not by accident. I fell back to my favorite lettering of the moment. First “motion” in the center, then “forward” to the left. The text was a little too on the nose, and the playfulness needed acknowledgement so “smear” and “streak” were added for balance.
I put on my jammies and went to bed. Got up in the morning, fed the pets and myself, and sat down to photograph this and write about it.
Looking at the page this morning I discovered something I hadn’t seen the night before. One of my bundles of circles in the lower left blob—placed with intention so the fineliner circles would be in high contrast against the white blob—actually echoes the flower above it.
Who knew a blob, several brush strokes, and a bundle of doodle circles could become so dear in a fraction of a second.
I achieved the desired degree of messiness while participating in Cayley Grey’s workshop (cayleegrey.com). Her topic was “Messy Recipes: The Overthinker’s Guide to Making Art” and it was intended to make us playful and spontaneously creative.
Not loving it. The lower page is the part she led us through. Her steps ended and I had random bits of paper falling off the page, and no cohesion of the composition…a real mess. So I added a little pen work and repeated the phrase, “I’m just curious” all over the place.
The top page was an arrangement that I’d begun in the intro to Caylee’s workshop. I liked the base but then Cayley started us off with finger painting with acrylics. She was working on a very small woman’s chapbook spread with a nice piece of art already on one page. Her 5 steps filled the spread quite well and she had a well balanced piece at the end.
I covered the thing in packing tape just to keep it on the page.
Collage is fun, and not overthinking something is important. I appreciate the play, but I’ll flip past this page quickly in the future.