In a few days we have Halloween! And hence more artwork based on that theme. I wanted to take a break from featuring characters though and this time go for some abstract stuff in my art journal instead. Nothing planned or nothing decided, just going to start playing around with various mediums in my sketchbook and see what I come up with. First some iridescent India Ink, then acrylic and it was here when I then rediscovered the fun of integrating craft stamps and stencils in my painting.
On a two-page spread of my Strathmore sketchbook, I began doodling away with the tip of the ink dropper from some of my colored India Ink. More precisely, they are the iridescent versions of Bombay Ink by Dr. Ph Martin’s which come in 12 shades. And they are gorgeous! Green, Salmon Pink and Yellow were chosen here, with some spread out with a small flat wet brush. As it turned out, I ended up with two pumpkins, one on each page surrounded by random shapes and curvy lines.
Beginning the Background
But what next? What to do with the background? Seeing it’s a Halloween theme, I felt something quite dull would work well. A bit of grey for the upper one third, but for the rest some lilac could liven up the painting more. As I spread the acrylic ink through the page, I was pleasantly surprised to discover how the India Ink doodles just popped out, particularly with the shimmer. India Ink is, of course, permanent and water resistant! I’ll definitely keep this method in mind in future paintings.
Now I was really unsure as to what to do next. Left the painting overnight and upon returning, I figured this would be a great opportunity to play around with other mediums and tools. Let’s start with collages. Luckily I do have with me a packet of paper napkins featuring medley of pumpkins and squash. Perfect opportunity to use them! And so I began gluing them in various areas with some acrylic medium. And then the ideas kept flowing. It’s been some time since introducing craft supplies in my artwork, and why not? Ranger’s Distress ink and oxide stamp pads are wonderful for journal work. I then dug through my supplies drawer and further found some rubber stamps, one featuring some interesting patterns perfect for the Halloween theme. Once some of the edges were stamped on, I filled the rest of the blank spaces with stenciled cats. Now we’re talking here!
Although I didn’t want to change too much of what I’ve done so far, I was not sure about the bottom area. I felt there could be more unity with the elements in the painting. For instance, the area between the two pumpkin collages on the bottom left looked empty. I also didn’t really like the red stamped lines which looked better being upside down from the top edges of the page. Some more pumpkin collages were then cut out and glued on top, and although the purpose was to cover those red lines up, I actually found it cool to notice them show through. To get some scary glow, I went for Fluorescent Red Acryla gouache for the two drawn pumpkin’s features, and to add an outline on them traced over the Pink india ink with the dropper of Daler & Rowney fluorescent red ink. Some fluorescent orange was also introduced too; first some ink on the edges of the sketchbook, then some heavy body acrylic (Liquitex) for the dots on the upper right corner. Streaks of orange from Sennelier’s 3D liner were also applied. Finally for added shine, I spread some Ranger’s Stickles glitter gel in yellow around the background and squeezed some thin lines of Stickles glitter glue in lime green. And here we go!
Though I’m well pleased with the outcome, this is not my usual style. I was just in the mood for some abstract doodling which led me to experiment further and go back to giving my craft supplies a go. The stamps and the stencils were wonderful to go back to, and although often underrated in the painting world, ought to be integrated more often as they could contribute to interesting effects. Furthermore, it was great way to explore beyond my comfort zone, as oranges are not the color I normally go for, given I’m more into pinks. I thus quite enjoyed this challenge. Abstract doodling, as I rediscovered, is so much fun especially when combined with Halloween-theme!