Tag Archives: mixed media

What working in a journal teaches you – Bali Journal 2015

Rice Terraces Acrylic and ink. Bali Journal 2015

i have finished adding colour to the rice terraces.  I should learn not to delay between the line sketch and adding colour, as I get nervous about wrecking the drawing.  This is also heightened with a journal, as I will not be able to get rid of it if I mess it up. I think that is one of the reasons why it took me so long to work in journals, the permanency of work and what if I wreck the drawing and I am stuck with it?

But of course this turned out to be one of the great things that I have learned in the last year of working in journals, the mistakes aren’t as important as I thought.  I have learned to not only live with mistakes and imperfections in my drawings but to embrace them and see that they add life and feeling to the image.  I have also learnt to work through the mistakes and how to rescue drawings that were teetering on the brink of disaster.  The use of multi media helps me, I often find a different approach of a various  mediums can often be what is needed.

The few things that I now always check when a drawing is just not working are

  • Line variation, I like to make sure that there are variations in the lines I am using and thicken up some of the lines or make breaks in the lines.  This gives much more life and movement to what I am drawing.  I have a very favourite brush pen that makes the most delicious tapered line.  It is a Kuretake Zig Cartoonist Brush pen and it is under $10.
  • Darks, since I started drawing, I don’t get the values right in my images and it is usually because my dark areas are not dark enough.  So I always have to check my drawings and go back to what I have been taught, do I have the right balance of light, middle and dark tones in my image.  As I use a lot of my photos as references, technology helps by being able to make my photos black and white.  That often  sorts out the problems.
  • Highlights.  Adding those last highlights is now much easier since I discovered good white pens.  My extra fine white sharpie is great to add in those highlight, (or fix a problem) and you can go back over them with colour to knock back the brightness and sink the area back into the drawing.

Back to the journal, my main disappointment in my last trip was not seeing the rice terraces, so this time we went for a day trip to the north of the island and did a half day walking tour of the rice fields   It was so interesting as the guide not only explained the rice production but showed us the medicinal and other plants in the region, plus something I had not seen before, clove trees  I did not realise how big the trees are and you can smell the cloves as you walk by them.  You could also see the cloves being dried on large sheets beside the road.

Cloves drying by the side of the road

Cloves drying by the side of the road

I also went back to one of my previous pages and added a drawing on a urn that was beside the bridge.  I drew the urn, but the spread didn’t work and I thought I had wrecked it, but a couple of days away from it and with fresh eyes I realised it had no darks and by adding in a very dark background it matched in with the other drawing and the spread was saved.  A drawing is such a journey and there is hardly a drawing I do that I don’t hate at some stage, but as I learn more I find that I am able to see were the problems are and fix them or learn to let go of the perfection and embrace the wonkiness

Urn and offering. Water colou and ink. Bali Journal 2015

Urn and offering. Water colou and ink. Bali Journal 2015

Bamboo bridge and Urn spread. Watercolour and ink Bali Journal 2015

Bamboo bridge and Urn spread. Watercolour and ink Bali Journal 2015

Karen

PS I have written this post on my IPad, so please forgive any problems as this is not my preferred way of posting.

 

 

Collaboration 2 Collections

Collections Karen's Page

Collections Karen’s Page

I have finally finished the last book in the collaboration.  Thank you Cathe for being so patient as I dealt with other things in my life.  This is a lovely book based on a great idea, collections.  Don’t we all have a pile of those great little treasures that you find on a walk and bring home.  Well I used to, but for some reason I don’t any more.  I think it is because I don’t have a studio at the moment and I am always carrying my art work between Melbourne and Castlemaine, but I think it could also be because I take photos now rather than collect.

So I was a little bit stumped on what to do, then I thought of other collections I have and one of my favourites is my herb collection.  I love growing, smelling, eating, cooking and drawing my herbs and no matter where I live I always have a patch of herbs.  So a few of my favourites went into my page.

Collections joint  page

Collections joint page

For the joint page I went for a walk and made a collection of some  of the things that caught my eye.  I was lucky enough to find the yellow crest feather of the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo and then the breast feather of a pink Galah, another native parrot and some lovely delicate gumnuts.

The book is finished now and here are the other pages. The page below is the first page, Cathe did the lovely drawing of the paintbrushes in the jar and we all added little bits to it.  Gale the marbles, Anna the feathers (I just realised they are Galah feathers too by the look of them) and I did the gumnuts.

Collections Joint front page

Collections Joint front page

Next is Cathe’s page, she has such a great design sense when she puts these pages together and I like the way she makes the lettering part of the drawing.  I am inspired by her lettering and hope I can get my own to work as well in my journals.  Her feathers are also gorgeous.

Collections Cathe's page

Collections Cathe’s page

Next to work in the book was Gale, she was really inspired by this and put such a great diversity of objects in her collection page. the old tool is fantastic and sits along the rest of the collection so happily.

Collections Gale's page

Collections Gale’s page

Anna followed next and she was so inspired by this book that she has started her own journal of her collections.

Collections Anna's page

Collections Anna’s page

So our collaboration has finished, but we have all been so inspired, challenged and rewarded by it in so many ways, I do think that we will do another one next year.  I must say that I am looking forward to it.  We have all become such good friends through it and learned a great deal from one another.

Karen

Collaboration 2 – Water

Lotus Pond - Bali.  Water colour, pencil and ink

Lotus Pond – Bali. Water colour, pencil and ink

I have spent the weekend working on Gale’s water themed book.  A great way to spend a very cold, wet and windy weekend here in Melbourne.  As I worked on this book I realised that I haven’t done many drawings of water and am not very used to drawing this element in any of its many guises.  Always so good to challenge yourself and these collaborations take me to such different places.

Cathe's Versailles Marie Antoinette's Swan

Cathe’s Versailles Marie Antoinette’s Swan

As Gale and Cathe both choose to take inspiration from recent travels for their double page spreads; Gale her trip to Hawaii and Cathe her Paris adventure.  I took inspiration from my trip to Bali last year and the Lotus temple in Ubud.   The beautiful blue water and tranquil lotus blossoms seemed suitable for the watery theme.

Gale's waves

Gale’s waves

For the first page I added a water splash behind Gale’s leaf with water droplets and on the shared double spread I  added rain drops catching the sun as they fall into a pond, a layered water on water image.   Trying to blend in with the beautifully subtle clouds, but not overpower them.

Splash, my contribution to the the front page  Water colour and ink

Splash, my contribution to the the front page Water colour and ink

Rain Drops, below Gale's clouds  water colour, coloured pencil and white ink

Rain Drops, below Gale’s clouds water colour, coloured pencil and white ink

I also had a play with the white band that holds the book shut and used some watery patterns to decorate it with.  Not sure if it blends well, but a great deal of fun to do.

Front cover of Gale's book

Front cover of Gale’s book

To see the other books in the collaboration please click the links below

Anna Warren’s Book – Circle of Life

Gale Everett Stahlke’s Book –  Water

Cathe Jacobi’s Book –  Collections

Karen Bailey’s Book – Patterns in Nature – Forest

Collaboration 2 – The Circle of Life

The Circle of Life - Karen's Spread

The Circle of Life – Karen’s Spread Ink and Coloured Pencil

I have finished my part of Anna Warren’s book in the second collaboration that I am part of.  The theme for Anna’s book was the circle of life and, as I am in a vegetable moment, I went for the life cycle of the pumpkin.

The Circle of Life - Cover

The Circle of Life – Cover

Anna’s book is beautifully crafted , you can see that she has printed the cover and her attention to detail is fabulous, it must be all that miniature work that she does.  I wanted to snatch my book back from her so I could finish it better, but for better or worse mine is on its journeys and I won’t see it back until it is full of fabulous drawings from the others.

The Circle of Life - First Page

The Circle of Life – First Page

This is the first shared page on which I have scattered pumpkin seeds and then followed it with the image of the pumpkin flower.  Aren’t pumpkin flowers just fabulous, the colour and the shape, plus the fact they are so fragile, when they grow into such big sturdy fruit.

The last page has the pumpkin of course and although I have been buying all these weird shaped pumpkins, I went for the traditional ones.  This is taken from some I bought on the weekend which have the most wonderful pumpkin shape, but are really only tiny about 8cm tall.  I scanned the image but Anna’s delicate pencil drawing has not come up well. See the link at the bottom of the page to her blog to get some lovely images of her work.

The Circle of Life - Shared spread

The Circle of Life – Shared spread

This book will now wing its way across to Cathe in the states, as I await Gales to arrive here.  For those of you who want to see what the others have been doing here is the links to their posts on their blogs.

Anna Warren’s Book – Circle of Life

Gale Everett Stahlke’s Book –  Water

Cathe Jacobi’s Book –  Collections

Karen Bailey’s Book – Patterns in Nature – Forest

I cannot tell you how much we are all enjoying this and being able to share the process with each other and our blogging friends.

Karen

 

 

No Fear of Flying – Collaboration Piece

 

No Fear of Flying Dragonfly Water colour and ink

No Fear of Flying Dragonfly Water colour and ink

I am currently involved in two different collaborations, which can get confusing for all of us.  This post is about the first,  is using lovely little A5 booklets that Anna Warren found.  There are three of us involved Anna Warren, Kylie Fogarty and myself.  I have already worked in one book with a seaside theme (see here) and this is my second which has the theme ‘No fear of flying’.  Anna’s post on her drawings in this book are here.

Anna's double page spread

Anna’s double page spread

I loved the theme, but was really stumped with what to do with it.  I went through all the thoughts about flying and then I thought who are the best flyers in the natural world.  (Not being much of a people drawer I usually go to the natural world for my artistic inspiration).  For me, dragonflies are the best flyers, having the two sets of wings that can move independently they can hover, twist and do the most amazing aerial feats.  They certainly have no fear of flying and I reckon the look in their eyes shows little fear of anything.

No fear of Flying Front Page

For the front and back covers I choose images of unconventional flying.  The front cover is of a ladybird hitching a ride on some dandelion fluff and I just loved this little image, it has a real sense of adventure to it.

No fear of Flying Last Page

Flying frogs. Water colour and ink

On the last page I drew a flying frog, it is a representative for all those creatures who really have no business in flying (not having wings as such), but have managed to do it anyway.  These flying frogs are the weirdest in that strange and intrepid group.

These collaborations are really a great deal of fun and tremendously rewarding, but oh my are they intimidating. All of us have experience at doing art and at being artist, but having to draw in someone else’s book brings all my early fears back again.  What if I do this wrong, is my work good enough, their work is so much better than mine and what the hell am I going to draw!  But again the rewards of doing these collaborations and the joy of watching the amazing work the others do and to see how they respond to our themes outweighs the trepidation of setting pen to the their books.  Also the response from our readers has been fabulous and everyone is so supportive and interested in what we are doing.

I hope I have done this little book justice and have not sent the theme in a wrong direction.

Karen

 

 

Patterns in Nature a new Artistic Collaboration

Patterns in Nature Journal Lichen spread

Patterns in Nature Journal Lichen spread Water colour pencils and ink

Here is the journal for the latest collaboration that I have entered into.  This is again with Anna Warren (see her blog here) from Sydney and two lovely American artists, Gale Stahlke (see her blog here) and Cathe Jacobi (see her blog here).  They will all be blogging about the journals they are working on as we work our way through the collaboration.

This time we decided to do things a little differently, to the other collaboration I am in.  We will be each making our own little journals, choosing our theme and doing the initial drawings, before we hand them onto the next person.  The first page will be a joint effort, then we will each do a double page spread then there will be a shared double spread and finally a little paragraph on the back page on what we did and why.

Patterns in Nature Journal Cover

Patterns in Nature Journal Cover

So for my journal I decided on the theme Patterns in Nature – Forrest.  As most of you know who have followed me for awhile, I love patterns and in particular patterns in nature, so it seemed to be a great theme for the book and easy for each artist to interpret in their own way.  I have also been fascinated by lichens and have been meaning to do a drawing of them for ages so I narrowed the focus to patterns in the forest.

So I made the booklet out of 300g Somerset CP watercolour paper for the cover and used a lovely creamy Japon proofing paper for the interior.  I had great fun playing with the cover and used some spray inks on it, then to waterproof these I covered it with matt medium, then drew a abstract lichen/moss pattern over the top.

Patterns in Nature Journal Front group Page and inside cover

Patterns in Nature Journal Front group Page and inside cover

For the first page I couldn’t go past an image of a curled fern frond.  Then for my double spread I was able to play with the lichen.  I got a little carried away with this drawing and it became more complex then I wanted for this project, but hey once I got started away I went.  Very happy with this, think it could be done again in another format.  For the last spread I drew a fern frond with spores on the back.  These were all done with ink and water colour pencils.

Patterns in Nature Journal Group spread

Patterns in Nature Journal Group spread

Well I am about to post my book up to Anna for her to add her pages before it wings its away across the sea for the others to work on.  I can’t wait to see what they have done and how they made their books and out of what?  Just love these collaborations.

Karen

Artistic Collaboration

Weedy Sea Dragon Ink and Watercolour pencils  Anna Warren Collaboration

Weedy Sea Dragon Ink and Watercolour pencils Anna Warren Collaboration

The art in this post is from an artistic collaboration I am lucky to be part of with the fabulous Anna Warren. In mid January, Anna posted a drawing that she had done in a little Moleskin Booklet she had collected some time ago.  She wondered if anyone would like to join her in filling up these little books and as they came with a folder they were just made for posting.  I jumped at the chance as I love Anna’s work and how much fun to work with her on a project.

Anna's Page Anna Warren Collaboration

Anna’s Page Anna Warren Collaboration

Anna accepted my offer and Kylie Fogarty (a great artist from Canberra) is joining us and we will each work on a double page spread in the booklet and each contribute to a picture on the front and back pages.

I was so excited when the first booklet arrived and I have kept to the sea theme of Anna’s drawing.  I decided to draw a Weedy Sea dragon, they have always fascinated me and they live in Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay, not that I have seen them in real life, they are very illusive.  I used my new Derwent Graphitint pencils.  I have found them a lot of fun, they have such lovely muted tones and work well with my other water colour pencils.

Kelp  Ink and watercolour pencils  Anna Warren Collaboration

Kelp Ink and watercolour pencils Anna Warren Collaboration

On the first and last page I have drawn some kelp and barnacles in a slightly abstracted manner, leaving I hope enough room for the others to add their magic.  Can’t wait to see what they add.

Barnacles  Ink and watercolour pencils  Anna Warren Collaboration

Barnacles Ink and watercolour pencils Anna Warren Collaboration

I will keep you posted as we exchange and work on the three different books between us.  What a lot of fun!

Karen