Sharing now a painting I made whilst following Tracy Verdugo’s Lesson 2 of Abstract Mojo titled “Collecting Symbols”. By collecting symbols we can stimulate our creative minds, find ideas and create the basis of our abstract paintings. Symbols feature quite a bit in Tracy’s artwork which makes her style all the more interesting to get inspired by. In this exercise, we firstly walk around our environment and observe all the shapes and forms of whatever we see then jot them down in our sketchbook, thereby developing them into symbols. A painting is then created using our chosen vibrant harmonious colors and incorporating them.

My Symbols

As I was at home, I naturally walked around my living room searching for interesting things to develop symbols out of. I have quite a lot of traditional Japanese furnitures and ornaments I inherited from my family as well as unusual figurines and ornaments I have collected from my extensive travelling. Quite a variety of intriguing stuff like fans, vase, leaves, patterns on the furnitures, chandelier, flower motifs and even my turtle figurines which I collect. Others worth noting are the lines you get with gathered straws, braided rope and etchings on wooden furnitures. Let’s see what I can create with these!

Harmonious Colors

Substrate was a piece of 300gsm A3-size watercolor paper, which we mount with some masking tape to avoid it getting warped. We then start randomly painting blocks of colors, the focus being on harmonious shades. For this lesson, Tracy used warm shades such as red, magenta, pink, yellow and orange. It was, however, a very warm afternoon at the time I was following the course and I was in the mood for cool colors instead. I then chose blues, teals, turquoise and green as my theme. Medium used for this first layer were Golden Fluid Acrylic (Teal, Cobalt Blue, Manganese Blue and Permanent Green). Makes you want to plunge in the sea doesn’t it?

Draw Away!

Once the paint was dry it was time to start incorporating the symbols based on the cute drawings I had earlier jotted in my sketchbook. Other mediums of this harmonious color scheme were further introduced including acrylic ink (Sennelier’s Turquoise), gouache (Turner’s Aqua Green), heavy body acrylic (Golden’s Light Phthalo Blue and Light Green) and ARA’s neon green. I also mixed a bit of Payne’s Grey with the colors to create a darker color and some white for some greyish tones. Some of the drawings were also painted in white. Stencils were even used; I went for bubbles to enhance that aquatic atmosphere. Although we randomly drew in the symbols, a good tip to keep in mind is to think of contrasts as you keep going ie. lines vs. curves, thick vs. thin, dark vs. light, large vs. small. That way, the painting looks more balanced.

Just Keep Layering Away

As you can see, my mind kept flowing as I incorporated more to the symbols. Coloring them in, doodling around them, adding details in them and randomly applying more colors where suited. At one point, I didn’t like one area and got stuck in a rut so covered that part up with Aqua Green and started over by drawing another symbol. Empty spaces were then quickly filled in with more symbols and doodles as well as blocks of colors. I just kept going and going until I was happy with the outcome. And now I think I can safely say I’m done here!

What a fun and creatively stimulating session! Despite being an abstract piece, there is still an element of kawaii with the turtles and the plants to give it some character. What I also love about the painting is that it looks very refreshing and calming. This combination of blues, greens and turquoise is in fact one of my favorites, along with the magentas and pinks. Speaking of which, I may like tor repeat this lesson using the warm harmonious colors as Tracy has done. I would be interested to see what mood I can create!


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