Art journal play: Brushstrokes

art journal entry - brushstrokes - Feb-3-2019
Art journal prompt: Brushstrokes

The Day 13 creative prompt was Brushstrokes. This is actually the second one I did for this theme. For the first one I used watercolor in a mixed media sketchbook, and I’m too spoiled by nice watercolor paper to like how that one turned out. But the concept was good — I had in mind the image of some fall leaves against a dark tree trunk — so I did another version with acrylic. I also switched from a small flat brush to a relatively stiff, medium sized filbert.

The asymmetry of the strokes contributes to a real sense of movement on the page that I like. I focused the most intense colors, most detail, and highest contrast around the focal point. And I enjoyed letting the brush shape form the texture and character of it instead of filling in shapes with paint.

Art journal play: Black and White Sketching

art journal entry - black and white sketch - Feb-2-2019
Art journal prompt: Black and White Sketching

The Day 12 creative prompt was Black and White Sketching. I worked in my grey toned sketchbook with a variety of black, graphite, water soluble, and white tools.

I was looking through the book Composition: Understanding Line, Notan and Color by Arthur Wesley Dow earlier in the day and wanted to base this sketch on one of the composition examples in it. It’s essentially structured like a “C”, which is a design that shows up in landscape painting references as well (along with other letters like J, T, O, X, U. L, and S).

I don’t love this one, but not because of the prompt. I threw the whole kitchen sink in and that’s not working well for me. And I realized by using this grey paper, I needed to push the value contrast more, and ended up working over and over some areas until they became mush. I do like that I pushed myself to keep going though instead of stopping at the point where there was virtually no contrast happening!

Art journal play: Dark

art journal entry - dark - Feb-1-2019
Art journal prompt: Dark

The Day 11 creative prompt was Dark. I started with raw umber acrylic mixed with a touch of gesso for tooth. And my inspiration was to incorporate the Golden acrylic color Titan Violet Pale (I mixed my own closest approximation). I have no idea what drew me to this color — but when I saw it, it was so intriguing.

I wanted to try abstracting a photo reference as a jumping off point, and I liked how it gave me some direction. Some of the shapes ended up looking too much like objects so I rotated the page 180° which helped. I really like the value and temperature contrasts, and I’ll be curious to see if I find more ways to use this unusual pale neutral. It actually reminds me a little of the evening sky color story I did the other day, so incorporating it into something based on a landscape would be cool.

I also really like the subtle color shifts I explored in this one. Blending areas of high contrast with areas that contain more nuanced elements is a juxtaposition that I find engaging. I’m working on developing how that all fits into composition.

Art journal play: Color Story

art journal entry - color story 1 - Jan-31-2019
Art journal prompt: Color Story (inspired by the evening sky I saw when walking the dogs)

The Day 10 creative prompt was Color Story and I love this one! I’ve always enjoyed creating and collecting color palettes, squirreling them away for future projects. So with this prompt it was like getting a big permission slip to go ahead and spend as many hours as I want playing with color combinations.

I warmed up by swatching little color stories based on a few pieces of abstract art I like, then moved on to landscape photos for inspiration. Working in my small sketchbook, these color stories are told like tiny abstract landscapes:

art journal entry - color story 2 - Jan-31-2019
Inspired by a coastal photo
art journal entry - color story 3 - Jan-31-2019
Inspired by an autumn landscape photo

Things really started to click for me though when I took the dogs out for their evening walk. The sky was interesting because the clouds were the same value as the sky, but warmer in temperature. I liked that subtle contrast, and the deep browns and oranges of the winter trees in the neighborhood. And this prompt dovetails nicely into a color study project I’ve been wanting to do based on looking outside and painting color notes of what I see in nature instead of relying on photographs. Doing these small color stories is the perfect way to record those.

For this exercise I found acrylics (the top photo) to be the best fit because it gave me the most control over the colors. Can’t wait to do more of these!

Art journal play: Resist

art journal entry - resist - Jan-30-2019
Art journal prompt: Resist

The Day 9 creative prompt was Resist. Using oil pastels I put in some areas of color loosely inspired by a stand of trees. Then I added watercolor, some more oil pastels, and finally a wash of Copic Opaque White. The white and deep greens helped add some contrast. I like to aim for 3 values, with a lot of one value, some of another, and a little of the third.

Checking the balance of values: I like that one value (light) is dominant, with a smaller amount of middle value, and a little bit of dark.

I’m not sure how much I’ll use the resist technique again, but overall this one was a positive experience. I liked starting with an inspiration image in mind and using the analogous color scheme. And I’m really enjoying the oil pastels. My mom had given me a vintage set she picked up at an estate sale, and I was hesitant to use them because they were in such perfect, untouched condition. I’m happy to be using them for this creative practice course though! There are a couple of colors that I reach for often and maybe when they’re gone I’ll purchase some individual ones in my favorite colors.