I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I have accidentally skipped a few lessons of Tracy Verdugo’s “Abstract Mojo” classes. Within each Unit, I didn’t realise you had five lessons and thus jumped from one unit to the next. The lesson following Collecting Symbols is Archetypal Symbols, an interesting exercise. How could I have missed it? And what an inspiring lesson it was, as we from we developed some mini paintings. With six in total, I just completed three and still working on them and thought I’d share here my first one!
What are Archetypal Symbols?
Archetypal symbols represent a variety of objects, elements and emotions deriving from different cultures and societies. For instance, we have the ancient hieroglyphics from the Egyptians, astrological signs, images in China which eventually developed into a writing system of today, and even secret codes used by homeless people! Tracy’s class called for doing some research on such archetypal symbols as a means of exploring our personal journey and eventually as a basis for creating our abstract artwork. By Googling on the internet, I did indeed find a number of interesting symbols including Zodiac signs, codes for homeless people, alchemy symbols and interestingly Adrinka symbols from Ghana! I collected them, screenshot them for own use and began taking some down on my sketchbook. Quite a lot I could always use again in the future!
This exercise was definitely intuitive, based on our feelings and our train of thought. From a huge piece of mixed media paper (I used 360 gsm thickness), I cut up six equal rectangles each for a seperate painting. A limited selection of fluid acrylics (by Golden) and acrylic inks were used including Cardium Red, Payne’s Grey, Titanium White, Azo Yellow Gold, Titan Green, Teal, Turquoise, Antelope Brown, etc. And how could I not include some fluorescent shades too! I stuck with Fluorescent Pink and Orange this time. And here we begin taking each sheet one after the other randomly painting on as our first layer whatever came to mind.
For the first painting, I chose the one colored in turquoise (middle one on the left in the above photo) and first scribbled in the altar with a green oil pastel before doodling in the money symbol in fluorescent pink. This then ensued with a series of cover ups and doodles from which I went for a blessing sign represented by a lying down crescent with three drops on the bottom. A first attempt was made with white posca pen as you can see below. Then I covered it up as I didn’t like the positioning of it and painted color blocks and doodled in more symbols including peace, money, spirituality, health and my Aquarian birth sign. Apparently peace, financial stability and good health are important to me and that for now I am blessed with them. To emphasize this that, another attempt at the “blessings” symbol was made, this time with teal paint. After more doodles and cover ups, I decided I was done. Funnily enough, both of the blessings signs are somewhat hidden among the color blocks and scribbles which led me into calling this mini painting “Blessing in Disguise”!
This first painting is not one of my best work as I’m not really an orange type person. Nevertheless, it gave me the chance to explore beyond my comfort zone and see what I can do to fix what you don’t like. Worth mentioning here, further, is that the point of this exercise is about exploring one’s inner thoughts and emotions and should hence be seen as a personal journey rather than a perfect work of art. I have to say though it’s not bad for a first attempt and I believe I’ll get better at it once I start going through the rest of the five mini paintings. So let’s keep it all rolling!