This autumn was about exploring. The enchanting hues and textures of the season reinvigorated my curiosity. It was time to slow down, observe, feel inspired, have fun and spend more time in nature. I gave myself time to create and try out new art mediums, tools and techniques.
Pencil sketches: the forgotten marks
It started with the #7daysofautumnflowers challenge organised by the amazing Ohn Mar Win and Clare Therese Gray. For a long time I planned to create something with coloured pencils, my childhood favourites. Even though I used them occasionally, I never really got into them. Creating a little sketch with coloured pencils about the daily prompts seemed like a good idea. This way I had more time to observe the actual subjects, feel the pencil’s marks and think about the composition of the final artwork. It was good to get back into this wonderful medium, and since then I have started to incorporate them into my mixed media art practice.
Expressive drawings: meet my lines
Since the beginning of my artistic journey I had a controversial relationship with lines. I started it by learning about lines and how to draw them effectively. I thought that to create beautiful drawings, I should draw in a certain way. I couldn’t really connect with this idea and I couldn’t feel the essence of my drawing. When I was drawing, I kept thinking about lines, like this line is not bold or straight enough.
Creating more art helped me realise that there is nothing wrong with my wonky and light lines. So here they are, please meet my authentic lines. This is how I draw when I go with the flow and let my hands and mind do their thing. I enjoyed being present in the process, and I was not trying to fix any mistakes or even think that it was a mistake. It felt like doing something I truly enjoy.
Pre-prepared backgrounds and negative painting
Just as I was about to paint some autumn leaves, Ohn Mar Win’s class about this cool technique came up. I watched the videos right away, and started to experiment with pre-prepared backgrounds. The whole idea is that underpainted abstract shapes and lines add more texture to a painting, giving it energy and dynamism with unexpected outcomes.
I underpainted three pages with acrylic ink with different colour combinations, not thinking too much about the lines or shapes, just going with the flow. Leaves were fine, but later I changed the plan a bit, and made one of the sketchbook pages about nuts. It was so nice to see how the shapes come to life with the additional layers. This technique allowed me to play with negative painting, something I don’t usually do. The painting about the hands was mostly about negative painting focusing on shapes and values. Fun fact: the chilies and cherry tomatoes were freshly harvested from the windowsill.
Exploring new mediums
Since I started making art I was mostly using watercolours. Although I love working with them, I have recently felt the urge to try out other materials. Different materials give me different ways to express myself. At the factory visit at Daler-Rowney, I received acrylic and watercolour inks and I ran some quick tests with them. I used pigment-based inks for the first time, and I like how bright and flexible they are. I also gave a try to the Derwent Graphitint watercolour set, which has muted colours with a graphite sheen. They were perfect to paint some berries which reflect the faded colours of late autumn.