The colour of hope

I’m doing two #100dayprojects, and am up to day 84. One of them is about making a collage a day, and I’ve been playing along with Froyle, as she inspires us to try different colours. This week she asked what colour represents hope for us. My initial thought was orange but, the more I thought about it, that’s not true. I love orange, it’s about fire and passion and danger, not hope.

For me hope is a mix of blues and greens; the colours of nature and the sea. The land and waterways being healthy is what will give me hope for earth. I particularly love the colour of the Hokitika Gorge, and the greens of the land as it meets the blue of the distant hills on the West Coast. When I’m there I create lovely gelli prints inspired by the land around me. When I get home I stop. Not because I’m home, but because – as beautiful as it is – the land around me doesn’t inspire me in quite the same way.

Here’s the first of this week’s collages inspired by the colour of hope.

Influences

Is my art original? Yes. Am I influenced by others artists? Absolutely. There’s a core group I’ve followed for years, including Tim Holtz, Teesha Moore, Traci Bautista, Dina Wakley and Dyan Reaveley. Some of them are designers with Ranger, so I’m influenced by both their art and their new products.

Artists whose work has influenced me include Jasper Johns, Richard Serra, Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell and Cy Twombly. I was fortunate to study some of them at The Learning Connexion during the four years I studied art.

Teesha Moore, whose work I love, has been sharing some of her older art journal pages on Instagram. She’s had some health problems, so I don’t think she’s creating much at the moment. I’ve made her style of journal before, and often use her collage style in my journals.

Tonight I hunted round in the cupboard and found a blank journal I’d made from Fabriano paper, based on a video she did of her process back in 2010. I’ve started colouring the pages using Golden Fluid Acrylics. Once it’s fully dry I’m going to use magazine images and downloaded mixed media papers to create my pages. I’ve just bought some of Denise Lush’s new collage papers and think they’ll be perfect for this project!

#100dayproject

I’ve done a 100 day project before; it’s a good way of doing a deep dive into a topic. This year I decided to improve my drawing skills with the aim of being able to draw faces in my art journals. I signed up for Dina Wakley’s Facing the facts class at https://dinawakley.com/store/.

I drew a face at the beginning of the journal so I can look back at where I started. When I did an Advanced Diploma of Creativity (Honours) over 4 years by distance with The Learning Connection we did some drawing, and I improved, but didn’t keep it up. It’s definitely a skill that needs constant use, for me anyway.

I’m on day 10 and already seeing an improvement and feel able to start making the faces a bit more my own. It’ll be interested to see what I’m achieving at day 100.

Collage ideas

Today I’ve made nine A5 collages, using a variety of gelli printed and stenciled deli, tissue, rice and copier papers. The circles were inspired by Froyle, who I’ve started following on YouTube. I love doing small collage, it’s a great way of testing ideas. The ones that are successful are a good price point for selling.

Here’s a sample of today’s work, plus a shot of the chaos while I was creating; I make a point of cleaning up when I’m finished so I don’t feel overwhelmed by the mess when I next sit down to create.

A lot of Christmas, a little art

Tony has been home for days in a row; yesterday I took him to see his friend Len who isn’t doing so well,. Tony had a rough night and was super tired today – we need to watch next weekend that we do even less.

I haven’t had a lot of art time, but managed to squeeze some inky finger time in today. I’ve been making gelli print papers with my new Klimt inspired stencils by Elizabeth St Hilaire for Joggles.com. I’ve worked on deli paper and Hahn sumi-e rice paper. Once that was done I played in my 6×6 Dina Wakley art journals for a couple of hours. Some of the pages are cut and extended so the writing looks odd unless you see it in person.

Layers aren’t precious

Most of my art involves layers. Layers of collage, paint, mark making. Hiding things, revealing others, making some areas stand out. The layers are intuitive and unplanned, my hands working back and forth across the substrate.

I was talking to my friend Penny tonight, who is also an artist. She was talking about an aspect of her process that’s important to her. I commented that, when I’m cutting painted paper for collage, I might cut it multiple times, shaving a few millimeters extra off until it feels just right. The shapes are organic, so you’d think those few millimeters wouldn’t matter – but for me they’re crucial.

When I work in layers I’m happy to give up almost any layer, mark, colour if I need to. Nothing is so good it can’t be covered over. I can always paint another one, cut another one. There’s enormous creative freedom in being able to let go. Yesterday I shared online the layer online seen below and said I was going to start covering up most of it. A few people said “don’t”. Too late, it’s gone…

Creativity helps

I’ll skip the details but Tony wasn’t great today. He was home for a bit while I was working from home, so I could attend a bunch of local meetings, but I ended up taking him back because he said he felt “absolutely dreadful”. The rest home staff said they’d call me if he got worse.

I felt we’d had far worse days at home but until now he’s been remarkably well in their care so think they got a surprise. As I said to one staff member, he was assessed as needing rest home care for good reason! He’s feeling and looking better now but hasn’t really eaten anything today.

It was an unsettling day, so after dinner I grabbed the new art journal I’ve started and made a bunch of backgrounds. The thing about creating backgrounds is there’s no real thought involved. I grab 3 sprays to lay down some colour, add more colour through a stencil or two, splashes or drips of water to activate the sprays and maybe some dark splatter. It’s about getting my hands busy and distracting my mind. I find it soothing – I believe art is good for the soul (but not so good for the colour of my hands!)

Back to the dark side

Tim Holtz unveiled the latest colour is his Distress line today, Prize Ribbon. Love it! Watching the reveal video, with all the makes, reminded me how much I enjoy using Tim’s products. I’ve been very focussed on the Dylusions and Dina Wakley range for a while now.

Tony was home for the day from the rest home and had brought his Paint by Numbers with him, so I grabbed a fresh journal and a pile of Distress Oxides sprays and Distress paint. I made a stack of backgrounds, then went back and added splatter with Distress Ink, Distress paint and DWM white gloss spray.

Once that had all dried I hauled out Tim’s paper dolls, the new wallpaper range, quote stickers and other bits from his range, plus some paper dolls I’d made recently inspired by Niamh Baly on YouTube. The paper dolls used Tim’s etching heads as a starting point.

Tim Holtz often mentions the dark side … referring to grunge and using browns in your art, rather than bright and cheerful. Although I didn’t go fully to the dark side, I used Walnut Stain, Black Soot, and Ground Espresso on every layout.

It was fun to do something different, and break out some old favourite supplies – I’ll be sure not to neglect the, for so long from now on.

Low tack tape is magic!

I often use low tack tape around the edges of Fabriano Mixed Media paper then tape it into quarters. I work across the four quadrants as though it’s one sheet, starting with pencil marks, collage, and paint.

If I work towards a finished image too quickly the work feels stiff and boring. That happened today so I grabbed some Dina Wakley acrylic gloss spray and put puddles onto the sheets of paper, moving it around with a brush or just tipping the sheet.

I lost my grip on the bottle and poured quite a lot of Tangerine onto one sheet. Eek! I tipped it around a bit, then used a paper towel to mop some up. I thought it was probably a goner, and would end up being cut into pieces for collage.

But there’s something magic about clean white edges; works that seem blah can suddenly look amazing. I pulled the tape of the 5 large sheets tonight and – go figure – the one with the Tangerine spill is stunning.

In the photos, the one with the mauve tape still in place is a truer colour, the second is done on my scanner which doesn’t capture colour well.

Valuing white space #BlogJune 18

I was talking with my good friend Penny the other night about white space in our artwork. We often use similar colours and methods but our processes and end results are very different.

My art journals are about “downloading my head”l. Often colour and writing fills the page to overflowing – chaos and emotion in 2D. But my abstract landscape art is different; it’s generally my calm, peaceful view to the seen world. I don’t aim to record, but to respond.

Part of that response is a strong need for quiet space, usually white or maybe Titan Buff. I was working on 12 A4 mixed media and, when I sat back, realised I’d put too much colour on too quickly. Tomorrow I’ll look at them in the daylight. Some very strong darks might increase the sense of light, or they might need white paint added back.