Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. Ralph Waldo Emerson, US essayist & poet (1803 - 1882)

Experiment 1: acrylic ink, acrylic paint, coloured pencils, Pan pastels, stencil, and collage. Inspired by Jane Davenport. Her book Drawing and Painting Beautiful Faces is an excellent resource for artists who want to draw faces and experiment with mixed media.

This green lady as I call her, was unplanned. Let me explain. I usually spend a lot of time in the early stages of sketching a face erasing and adjusting, and erasing some more because I am trying to be as accurate as possible to the model I am using whether it is a photo from a magazine or one from my own collection.

In this instance, I decided to let my imagination pull out a face from the paper. I wanted this to be a more spontaneous drawing. I have to say that I like not knowing who will show up and I plan on drawing this way more often in the future.

The shading on the face must be worked on (more experimentation) and since I am using my journal and not an expensive canvas, I could allow myself to try using more textures in the background. It would all be part of loosening up which is a big challenge for me in my art work whether it is with watercolour, acrylics, or pencil.

I am happy with the end result as a fantasy type of portrait (she looks like she is ready for Carnival in Rio). Perhaps I might have this a running theme someday....Carnival or Caribana (Canadian version of Rio's Carnaval). Just a thought!

The creative path I am following has pulled me in many directions in the last year even though my blog posts would suggest my primary interest is in watercolours.

Below are journal sketches from an online course I took last fall with Jane Lafazio. These were my first forays into watercolour and stamping and collaging. If you want to learn to sketch and watercolour, I strongly recommend her courses. Jane always provides honest, helpful feedback in a timely manner which has not always been the case with online classes that I have followed. You can see all her work on her blog or on Pinterest. She is also a gifted fibre artist.

These journal entries are only a small sampling of new discoveries for me.

So the dilemma in the last little while has been that I have wanted to try so many things that I think I might have wandered off the main road. Hubby and friends have encouraged me saying that it was all part of the process of finding my identity as an artist.

To give you an idea of the various wanderings I have taken along my creative path, the following list shows that I have invested time and more or less money in these artistic interests:

Urban and nature sketching, ink sketches with watercolours
Journaling including stamping and collaging and watercolours
Intuitive painting with acrylics
Pencil/pastel portraits
Acrylic portraits
And soon...digital art using an iPad and stylus

All these side trips on the creative path I am following have not been in vain. The courses I have taken from Sketchbook Skool, Jane LaFazio, and others have shown me that there is a supportive, creative online community and that there is much to learn, much to explore. But the little voice in my head keeps telling me to go where the art is pushing me to go, to return to the main road, in other words, it is telling me to spend more time on faces.

Experiment 2: charcoal and graphite. I bought Pam Carriker's Mixed Media Portraits book which I found to be really inspiring. She has examples from many mixed media artists and her chapters Personality, Palette, and Projects are particularly helpful.

This is the first time I try charcoal. I did use graphite as well, mainly on the face, and although it isn't obvious here, I find that graphite has a sheen to it that I don't really like.

So for the next while, I want to travel along the main road with fewer side trips. I want to experiment and get messy (can I loosen up enough?) and produce more faces on this blog without completely giving up my other artistic interests. I just want to have a more deliberate and focused approach to discover where this journey will take me.

2 Responses

  • Oh Louise, she is beautiful. I am loving every minute of your artistic journey, even all of the side roads. Makes life more interesting doesn’t it..

    • Thanks Sally. I have to focus on something and go more in-depth if I can. I am working on toned tan paper this week which I am loving. I never thought this paper could take the layers of pencil. I am enjoying these new experiments. But, there is no loosening up for me. Not yet anyway. Oh well, I just have to accept that I am wired that way.

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