First drops of paint

Often the fear of not knowing what to do or the fear of doing something wrong stops us in our tracks and keeps us from starting. If we can let go of this fear, we open ourselves up to a much larger world of expression – a world where anything is possible.
– Flora Bowley, Brave Intuitive Painting

I wasn’t sure where to start. I’ve wanted to ‘know how’ to paint I think my whole life. I’ve certainly said “If I could paint what is in my head” often enough. I get overwhelmed by the idea of creating a whole image and then do nothing which just leaves a void and a continued longing.

In the most recent issue of Art Journaling, Winter 2014, there was a spread by a woman who had a lifelong unrequited love affair with watercolors. Her attempts at using them were disappointing and unfulfilling but one day she decided she was going to master this medium and put all her other mediums away. “The materials were simple: watercolors, a waterrush, black ink pens, and a Moleskin diary.”

Spread from Art Journaling, Winter 2014. Artist: Ginn Magante Barber

She set out just using one or two colors, feeling things out. The images in the spread were simple but lovely and looking at them and reading her words I thought ok, this I can do. This is simple, just to start. And I will be doing, not just wanting.

Different reds
Different reds

A Certain Shade of Lipstick

I was so excited when I received the most recent Anthropologie catalog. The cover was perfect for a poem I had been saving from a magazine that I didn’t want to get rid of but didn’t know what to do with, either.

Ink Outlines
The poem starts out “I like a certain shade of lipstick…” and goes on with references to war, cabaret and far away places covered in snow. I felt that the lighting in this catalog cover image conveyed that feeling of another time and place. And of course she is putting on that certain shade of lipstick!

I started out with a sponged layer of gray paint and then mixed red and black to deepen the tone. I really like the pops of red because it pulls in that distant war that is going on the background. When I first glued the image of the woman down, she didn’t stand out against the strong paint so using a black outline technique I read about recently, I outlined her and the mirror and even added some lines to the image itself to give it some movement.

close up of lantern
For the text, the paper was so new looking and even with the edges torn, it still stood out too much. I took a Prismacolor Marker in 10% Cool Grey and colored over the paper and then, with a Pigment Pen wrote over the typed letters to soften the it and make it feel like the woman in the image had written it herself. I ran the marker over the text again once I was done writing. Once the glue was on the paper, it thinned it out even more allowing some of the bumps from the paint underneath to texture the paper and with a few more dabs of paint, the paper blended in really well. I then used some of the thick, leftover paint to really add some depth under the lanterns.

Poem is ‘Instant Past’ by Elaine Equi, featured in the 2008 issue of Pool poetry magazine.

Photo Gallery
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