This turned out to be the weirdest page ever, hahaha. My intent was to showcase an ambiguous figure at our table in the backyard serving fruit and I chose to use one set of my pages that had color fields for backgrounds. The sketch started out with water soluble graphite 6B, which I didn’t mind, but as it dried, the images seemed pale, which was frustrating. I also had to deal with the spine of this book, so I opted to use it as a tree that we have along the fence line and place it in the foreground.
I continued to sketch objects, the fence, the hanging swing, the foliage, but the more I tinkered with the color, the muddier it got and the more I hated it. Two instances I actually placed Titanium White directly on the page to block out the background, it was bad, and then I decided to slam the book shut and let the wet paint just merge.
Wish I would have snapped a shot of that epic muddy mess, but unexpectedly, the moment came where I knew what to do and I forgot to grab the camera. Rather than just start over, I began scrubbing this page…and I mean scrubbing. Pages in this journal are 140lb. watercolor paper so I wasn’t afraid of messing the paper up, I just sprayed water, scrubbed, sprayed water and scrubbed. What this did was give the background an aged look, still a bit muddy, but I liked it. The marks in the paint stood out, the text came through, and as I was heading to blow it dry, my eye caught a glimpse of what this page looked like turned another direction.
Yep, the diving platform was right there and I had just so happened to sketch several from my trips to the pool, so I felt this part of backyard living or embracing the summer was calling out to me. The pool was there, the post, it just seemed to fall into place. I sketched back over it all, added the diver, added the large text which I love, and then glazed transparent Golden Fluids to alter the colors. What is totally weird about it, even though I am done, is that when it is turned back the first way, I still see the backyard, the chair, the fence, and it’s as if a window is hanging offering a view from the deck. Go figure.
I learned a lot with this journal page:
1. Giving up and starting over is not always the best idea…work through the mud.
2. Turning a page is often a saving grace.
3. The spine of a book is a pain in the butt in some cases, opt for a sewn book or work around it.
4. Water soluble graphite does not mark well on glossy acrylic, opt for cheaper, flat paint.
Last night I played around with a limited set of tools….one black Sharpie, 4 Neon paint pens, and my journal with blue painters tape. Now this process, I loved, but I was used to painting on a dark background so that didn’t scare me one bit. The perspective was easier to grab hold of and the neon on the tape made this piece have a glow in the dark illusion to it. I may try some pages with black paint. I most likely wont use the painters tape again because as the brilliant Juliana Coles pointed out, it does not always stick well to paper. Duh…totally forgot that.
Regardless, I am a firm believer that if you wish to become a better painter, you MUST sketch every day and/or work in an art journal. It gives you the freedom to try new things, improves your skill set, and teaches you what doesn’t work before you head for your canvas. Go out and sketch….the toilet, sketch something, 😉