I Want to Live on a Coffee Plantation #ArtJournal #ArtJournaling #LifeImitatesDoodles

As I mentioned earlier this week, I’ve joined an art journal swap.  We each chose an OLW (one little word) as a theme for our journal.  I chose the word Energy.

I’m the least energetic person I know.  So I think about energy a lot.  As in, I wish I had more.  I should do something about getting more energetic.  Soon.  Pretty soon.  Sooner or later.  One of these days…

A lot of people dream of having more energy.  So they reach for the coffee cup.  Cups.  Coffee Pots.  Drinking coffee is a national pastime.

So I think my page captures reality for many people.

For those interested-I’ve written the steps to my process, and then I’ve gone into detail about the reasons for my choices.  I often hear questions with a similar theme–how do you know how to do that?  It isn’t exactly a know.  Knowledge certainly helps, but if it was a do this, do that experience, we’d all be doing it!  You more or less decide what you are going for, not just what the subject is, but how you want to present it, and use your knowledge to guess at what might work.  If it doesn’t, you use your knowledge to go for something different.  
My subject was Coffee as Energy as personified by a woman drinking coffee. I wanted a piece that blended realism and comic drawing, and I wanted to have the feeling of depth and distance.
My Process
The woman drinking coffee was drawn in a program called Scribbler Too, that adds radial lines as you draw, so you get these amusing funky images.  I saved her and printed her out onto sticker paper. 
I cut the image out and painted her with acrylic paint.  The paper was so slick that the paint went on blotchy, but I expected this and blotted most of it up with a paper towel, leaving just tints, except for the all-important coffee cup.  I set the sticker aside and started on the journal page.
For the hills, I chose warmer greens and yellows 
     green gold
     chrome green
     yellow ochre
     Hansa yellow medium
For the background trees and sky I chose cooler colors 
     phthalo green
     ultramarine blue
My Reasoning
To get a feeling of distance, I:
     Created distinct areas of color, placing the light & dark where I wanted most contrast
     Made the woman and the coffee cherries larger so they overlapped everything else
     Used the lightest colors on the woman so she stood out
     Used the most intense colors on the coffee cherries so they stood out
     Had warmer colors dominate the foreground & mid-ground (theory-warm colors seem closer)
     Had cooler colors dominate the background (theory- cool colors seem farther away)
To create the woman as the focal point, I:
     Used lighter, tinted colors contrasted with darker greens around her
     Made her larger
     Used more detail
To create the coffee cherries as a secondary focal point, I:
      Used red
      Made the branches larger 
      Used more detail, but not as much as in the woman
To tie the painting together: 
     Outlined the more realistic elements with gel ink (even though this flattened things somewhat)
     Used small amounts of the cooler colors from the background for shading
     Used small amounts of the warmer colors from the foreground to suggest trees in the distance.
     Used red for the coffee cup as well as the coffee cherries
To lead the eye around the page:
     Subdued the brilliance of the red color
     Used the bright gel ink to lead the eye down the page
     Used red in upper and lower quadrants of the page

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