Monday, June 1, 2015

Artist of the Month Week 1: Monochromatic

Welcome everyone, especially those of your from DLP and 52 Friends! It is such an honor to be your featured teacher this month. When Terri asked if I had an idea for a topic, I knew almost instantly it needed to be color. Color is a huge part of my life. Last summer i even did a weekly self challenge to find more color in my life! Color is so integral to making art and a few tips can really impact the outcome and even one's long term style. 

Over the next few weeks we are going to cover four things:
1. Monochromatics
2. Triads
3. Color Journals
4. Neutrals

This we week, we will make a journal page using one color or shade, similar to the one below. 

It can be overwhelming to pick which colors to use, so my limiting ourselves to just one, we can focus on other things like composition and contract, which are just as important to making a unified page. Typically when we hear monochromatic, we think one color. Technically, it means one color, or hue with, black and white added to darken and lighten it, respectively. Most of my work is with watercolors, so in lieu of white, you just add more water, like below, to make lighter ranges. 

However, to me, monochromatic means one color family, with all the hues and shades included. So in this lesson, I picked blue, and will be using a variety of aquas, navys, etc. 

Spend a few pages playing with the paints you have to find a color family that speaks to you today, as well as making light and dark ranges. Hang onto these for down the road.

Lets get started! 

Note: This page was made fairly intuitively, without much end goal in mind. Feel free to explore where this takes you!

Your DLP journal (I'm using a Strathmore Skills Mixed Media Journal which was like $3 from Hobby Lobby)
A few stamps 
Black paper (can be construction or what ever you have on hand, so long as its not a gloss paper)
House hold bleach
A junky paint brush
Thicker white scrap paper, like Bristol, card stock, watercolor
A piece of paper in your chosen hue (can be self made or from your scrap box)
A stencil of a shape (or a pencil and Xacto knife to cute one out)
A few acrylic paints in your chosen hue
Baby wipes or slightly damp paper towels
Some black and white paint or inks 
A Sharpie
A white Uni-ball signo
A glue stick
Some college fodder
Washi tape in your chosen hue
Sewing machine

Note: Supplies can be a touchy subject. I listed what I used, but DO NOT feel like you need to go out and buy anything. Half the fun of making art is getting creative with supplies. And you can get beautiful colors with cheap supplies. Until about a month ago, the only acrylics I had were the $0.50 kind and I still keep a $2 crayola watercolor set on hand.

Grab some black paper, preferably something porous. A glossy paper, like from a magazine or scrapbook paper, may not work as well, but feel free to experiment! I found some black paper on which one of my kids scribbled. Next, grab some stamps, preferably ones with strong lines, but not too much small details. Below are are butterfly and feather.

Paint the bleach on the stamp with a junky brush or dip the stamp in the bleach, then make continuous impressions on the paper with the stamp. Each successive print should will get lighter, with the middle prints most likely having the most detail. It will take a few minutes for the image to fully emerge. The photo below was about 10 seconds after stamping so you can see later on how much more it developed.

Note: Be careful working with bleach, especially if you have pets or kids around. Wear junky clothes, work in a well ventilated area, pour your bleach right before you need it and put it away as soon as you are done. I washed my stamps and brush within a minute and the stamps fared well from this experiment. We want to have fun but be safe!

Next, brush some paint (I used watercolor) in the hue you chose on the stamp and repeat making continuous prints on some white paper (I used Bristol, but used what you have).

Find a piece of paper in your hue, preferably one with a few shades on it. Pick a shape, maybe one that ties into the stamps you chose, and cut it out. The sheet below is a color test page I made during with Gina Lee Kim. I decided to cut out a bird, to go with the feather stamp I picked earlier.

The stamped pages with the bleach and paint should be dry by now, so comb through your prints and cut out your favorites. Start thinking about the composition for your page. At think point, I honestly had no clue where this was going. Since we were talking about monochromatic, I wanted to focus on creating contrast, to really play up the light and dark shades. 

Grab your acrylic paints. Add some dots to your page and smear away! I use a baby wipe, as I like how it blends, and I tend to notice less buckling than when I brush paint on. You could also use an old gift card to scrap the paint on.

Add some dark paint to the top of the page and some lighter paint to the bottom. You could also do this while making your initial layer, but as I mentioned, there wasn't a lot of forethought to this page! I used a black Inktense stick by Dewent on the top, as I didn't want to over power the base color with an acrylic paint, but wanted something that wouldn't reactive like a watercolor paint. I did use some white acrylic paint on the bottom of the page, after the white Inktense didn't make the effect I wanted. 

Once this layer has dried, start playing with composition again. I added some eyes and a wing to my bird, drew a branch for him and some legs, with a Sharpie and white Signo pens, respectively. 

Grab one of the sheets you tested shades on earlier and pick a quote to write on it. Since my color was blue and I had blues on my page, I added a quote by Vincent Van Gogh about the sky. Now comes the fun part - gluing things down! 

Add any other fodder that speaks to you to wrap up your page. You could also draw or add doodles to it. I personally like secret journaling, and will often journal on the back of things before I glue them in. As you can see in the page above, there was a bit of a gap on the bottom of my page. There was a letter "B" laying around (actually off a toy my kids received) so I added it with some matching washi tape. I also went back later and added a stitch over the butterflys and the feathers with my sewing machine as a afterthought.

From here, this page could serve as inspiration for a more finished piece. There is a meaningful quote and some great textures, as well as interesting pushes and pulls on colors.Most important are the lessons I learned along the way.

Here are a few other ideas for making monochromatic pages:




I hope you had fun experimenting with just one color today. Feel free to add links in the comments to posts or photos. Looking forward to playing with triads next week with you!

Here are the other weeks' lessons
Week 4 Neutrals

I would love to hear your thoughts on this course. Feel free to hit me up on Instagram @mbochat, Facebook BochatArt Twitter @melissabochat

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