Friday, February 7, 2014

A Million Attempts


I feel like I haven't posted in FOREVER, even though I know it's not even been a week...

Did anybody else had as much trouble as I did with this week's Journal 52 prompt?  Great Koogely Moogelies!  In case you don't know, the prompt for this week was 'Abstract Art' (you can read more about it HERE).

When I first took an interest in artistic things, I was one of those people who just didn't 'get' abstract art.  I never thought it was easier to make abstract art than it is to make realistic just wasn't something I gravitated towards.  I think it's because I'm interested in the story of the art, and with abstract art, it's up to your own interpretation.  I've seen a lot of things that other people really love, but to me look menacing.  Abstract art is kind of like a giant ink blot test...

The more I've come to love art, the more I find abstract art to be interesting.  So when I read the prompt for J52 this week, I was super excited...and then came the execution.  My brain just went stupid...that's the only explanation I can think of anyway.  Or else I made this whole thing harder than it should be...  Or a combination of the two...

"Flight of an Easily Breakable Thing" birds were harmed (at least not by me) in the making of this page...

In my defense, the picture has messed with the color of the painting's not quite so bad in real life.  This was my first attempt at abstraction...  I started out with a tutorial I found on pinterest for painting abstract with acrylics, which looked ABSOLUTELY nothing like this.  I just didn't like how it came out after I'd done the steps of the I kept going.  I used a brush for the bottom layer of the painting (Naples Yellow and Portrait Pink) I used my pallet knife a lot on the blue (Pthalo Blue and Mars Black) and scraped the paint around with it.  I liked doing that!  But I still wasn't happy with the thing as a whole, so I kept going.  The red (Brilliant Red) was actually painted on using the feather that's glued to the page!  I do like that I experimented with a different mark making tool...  After I added the red, it looked like something had been viciously mauled to me...and since I was using the feather to paint with, the name of the painting came to me: Flight of an Easily Breakable Thing...  The 'easily breakable thing' part is from a poem (which you can read HERE...the poem is much different than the picture is...just so you know...).  I don't usually name my seems like something for a better...or more professional...artist than me.  It makes me feel self-important...but for some reason, I've been naming my J52 pages, so there you go.  I also used Inka Gold in Lava Red and Gold colors on top of the feather (and red poster paint sharpie around it) to try to make it stand out a little more.

But I was not satisfied with this attempt at abstract I decided to try again:

...this will be known as 'the middle school art project' from this point forward...

I used all water-soluble media for the second Inktense for the outlines, various watercolors, and Aquamarkers.  I just started drawing random shapes and lines, and where they intersected, I colored in each space with a different color.  To me, this looks like a middle school art project, completely without meaning or technical skills...  Maybe I would have liked it better if I would have used only warm or cool colors and not combined the two...I don't know...either way, not one of my favorite pages that I've made...

So I made another page...
...well...I do like the white space...

For the next page, I put some washi tape on the page in random places, and painted over it with acrylics in various colors...then removed the washi.  This one is ok to me, but it seems like a background that's just waiting for more things to happen on top of it.  Maybe that's my problem with my abstract attempts...they all look like backgrounds for something more realistic...

At this point, I got irritated with the whole stupid abstract art thing and decided to see if the bottle of crackle medium I had (for at least eight years...) was still viable:

...again with the bad coloring in the photos...I think it's my fault...or winter's fault...because I took this picture at night, so not great lighting...

I actually ended up liking these crackle pages more than anything else I had done!  Especially the bottom one...look at those gigantic cracks!  (I think the thicker the layer of crackle medium you use, the bigger the cracks you get.)  I used up my entire bottle of crackle medium, so it's on the list for my next trip to get art supplies...I see more crackle experimenting in my future.

So, in the end, what did my million attempts teach me?  For one, abstract art is NOT easier than realistic art...I didn't think it would be, but I also didn't think it would be so much harder for me than my normal art is.  I have been completely frustrated by abstract!  For another, I realize that I am now going to have an abstract art obsession until I 'get it right' in my own eyes.  Yeah, as we speak I have another page drying so that I can do more...  So far, I think that two things to work on for my future abstract attempts are going to be to not forget the things I already know...color, composition, shape, value...all that technical stuff that I work on in my regular art still applies in abstract!  The other thing that I think will help me personally is to try to think of a specific thing while I'm painting...all the attempts I showed you today were just me 'trying to paint abstract'.  I think I will do better if get myself in a certain frame of mind that I want to convey in the painting instead... Does that make sense?  As in, here is a painting of how loneliness feels to me, or here is a painting of the day I fell in love, or the day I had a bad cold, etc...  I think I need to have something that I want the painting to say...  We'll see how it goes...


I finished my spread for Documented Life this week.  The prompt for it was 'Open your Pinterest Board and Be Inspired' (you can read more about it HERE).  This one felt too easy for me, because I use Pinterest for inspiration A LOT!  Mostly, I get inspired by quotes on my 'Just Words' board and then go make a page, or else use a face in my 'Photographs' board as a reference photo.  So I decided to make sure I was inspired in a different way than I usually am, and here's what I ended up with:

Whoops...I forgot to take out my wax paper!  (I use it so I don't get stuff all over my other pages.)
I feel like the flower needs...more something...any ideas?

I did a couple of different things *inspired by Pinterest*.  First, I used THIS video from Journal Artista (aka Paula Phillips, I think) to do a REALLY STINKING COOL variation on a packing tape transfer.  You can see this technique best on the left page.  SO COOL!  Just for the record, the Journal Artista lady has some really interesting techniques...I will be checking out more of her videos and learning more fun stuff from her really soon!

Then I used THIS tutorial on how to draw a croquis (or fashion figure).  Can I just say I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the croquis?  Cause I do!!!  *draws croquis on everything for the foreseeable future*

"One may have a blazing hearth in one's soul and yet no one ever came to sit by it.  Passers-by see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on their way." - Vincent Van Gogh

And then, I let my spread inspire which quote I used (which you can see the pin for HERE) from my 'Just Words' board, instead of the other way around like I normally do.  

I really like the way the croquis lady contrasts with the Marie Antoinette lady (which was already on the piece of scrapbook paper I had added to make 52 weeks worth of spreads to work on when I made my DL journal).  There's a meaning in there, but in the spirit of abstract art, I will let you decide for yourself what that meaning is exactly...  The croquis lady reminds me of Pam Carriker's work (you can see the pinterest search results for her name HERE), but it wasn't on purpose...I think it's the color more than anything...she uses muted tones a lot...  

Ah...croquis lady...allow me to squeal with delight for your awesomeness just one more time...SQUEAL!!!

So, what's your take on abstract art?  Are you a fan, or not so much?  Have you ever attempted it...and if so, did you find it as hard to do as I did?  Where do you tend to find inspiration? Do you like to see how other artists do things, or do you like to experiment and make your own discoveries, or do you do a combination of the two?


  1. Wow! You were busy this week SweetRed! :))
    Love what you did with the abstracts and your mark-making tools. I like using really random stuff for mark making too like used stainless steel pot scrubbers, which make deliciously yummy squiggly shapes and very cool scratchy looking paint, cookie cutters, and cardboard. The Pinterest thing can be dangerous as I end up spending all of my art time there being inspired lol :/ And your flower is beautiful, but if you're still feeling like there's something more you want to add, I always go for something in the middle on the center of it in my own pages ;) Great post! see you soon SweetRed! xo

    1. I was busy, Patricia! I do get tend to get a little obsessed sometimes... :)

      I am going to have to pick up a pot scrubber next time I go out...the idea of those squiggles is really appealing to me! And I have a boat load of cardboard (thanks to Amazon), so I'll have to try to incorporate it in a page soon too!

      Pinterest really IS dangerous for the exact reason you mentioned! I could literally spend all day looking at the stuff on there...and probably have once or twice...I try to temper myself, but I know if I get on there, I'll be there for at least an hour before I realize it!

      I am going to use your suggestion and add something to the center of the flower... He just looks too plain for me as he is. I'll post a picture when I get him finished! <3

  2. Sweets, you are so freaking cute!!! I absolutely love the "Middle School Art Project". For me it is wonderful, but I know how you are with details. I bet adding one word or one small line of text would help you with the "MSAP". Borrowing from your description above. One word suggestion... "Intersect",. One line of text... "Completely without meaning".

    On the washi taped one maybe "Abstract", "Frustrated" or "I do like the white space". These are all your words, and I know how much you love quotes. Just because most abstracts have no words, who cares? This is your journal. Please tell me you saved the painted washi for a future project.

    The croquis (my new word of the day) is awesome. Thanks for experimenting and sharing your journey! Hugs, Pamikins

  3. Thanks my Pamikins! I am glad you like MSAP...but I think I will be taking your suggestion about adding some text...I am thinking you are absolutely right about it helping...we'll see how it goes! :)

    I did save the washi for future use! You know me all too well!

    Thank you for the croquis love! I really think it is my favorite thing that happened art-wise all just makes me smile to look at her! <3


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