Monday, 21 July 2014

Orange flower on blue background (and a lesson in Creative Freedom!)

This orange and blue design was never meant to be a piece of art, especially not one to share on the internet. I was just fooling around with my gelli plate one day, trying to print with die-cut shapes on rough, handmade watercolour paper. I wanted to see how the acrylic paint would transfer onto the rough surface. I used the ugliest brown paint I had, just so I wouldn't waste my "pretty" colours. The results were uninspiring and I tossed the piece of  paper on the scrapheap. I only just found it the other day and I started wondering what this paper would look like with my Winsor & Newton watercolours.

So I sat out in the garden and just started painting over the unsightly brown print without giving it much thought. There wasn't any pressure to create anything spectacular - after all, this was just a piece of scrap paper and I was only experimenting. There was nothing to risk, nothing to ruin. It is amazing how much creative freedom this belief gave me. I have two expensive journals (a Moleskine and a Strathmore) that I'm too afraid to use in case I ruin them.  But when I work with "scrap" all my inhibitions disappear and I feel so liberated. For that reason, I decided that I will be working on single sheets for a while, until I gain more artistic confidence to start a journal.

In this particular piece I'm sharing with you, I used cadmium red and cadmium yellow for the flower, which coordinated with the brown print already on the paper, and ultramarine blue tinged with viridian green and burnt sienna. I chose burnt sienna because the brown acrylics from the earlier print already "contaminated" my background and I thought another brownish colour would counterbalance it. To my surprise, it came out looking really good, sort of rusty in places, and so burnt sienna has become my new best friend!

I completed the layout with white outlines and doodling on the flower and white dots for a border. I also used Ranger Liquid Pearls for some dotted accents. I really like this design because it will always remind me that I can have as much creative freedom as I allow myself. Instead of trying to create a stunning page in my journal, I will just experiment with scrap pieces of paper (or fabric, or whatever medium) and have fun along the way.

I used a piece of Khadi handmade paper

I accented the outlines of the brown print with a white gel pen

I used a white gel pen for doodling and liquid pearls for accents

I love how the burnt sienna randomly mixed with the blue gave the background a rusty look.

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