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  • Writer's pictureKaaren Poole

Fireflies Appear

A lot has been happening in my life recently, and as a result not much has been happening with my art. But I did get a little done over the weekend on my current art journal spread.


Here’s how far I got:



After starting here:



Good progress I think, but I’m still not where I need to be.


As you can see, I changed the balance between dark and light by changing the dark in the upper left corner to light, then let the dark seep into the light a bit towards the middle. Where the light and dark meet I wanted a less stark transition. I tried washes of Indigo but didn’t achieve what I was aiming for.


To try to ease the transition I could continue with the washes, but I don’t think it will do the trick. So I’m going to try some line work with fine tip Posca pens – black and white, probably.


The grass-like leaves along the bottom are collage with pieces cut from plain color parts of magazine pages. And I got rid of the big butterfly in the middle and replaced her with the two smaller ones. I didn't think the big image fit in very well with the style of the other butterflies.


The turquoise border is NeoColor II water-soluble crayon fixed with acrylic matte medium.


Overall, I’m liking this spread – but with one big exception which is the fireflies. They are too large and their wings are wrong. I could paint black over them and try again. I’m not sure whether or not I’ll do that. I could also just change the wings. Oh, and I probably want a little bit of text – something like “Day or Night, the Landscape is Bejeweled.”


Working on this piece was a typical process for me – just starting with a few inspiring images, coming up with a concept, and then going from there. As I go along, I take a good look at the piece, looking for either opportunities or problems. Then I decide what I’m going to do about that one little thing, do it, then start that loop over again. I just work through that assess/decide/do loop over and over again until I think I'm done (or over-done).


Sometimes, a big deviation from the apparent direction takes place. A good example of this is what I did to the dark patch in the upper left corner. Originally, I put that dark bit there because I thought it would pull the piece together by repeating the dark value in a second place. But instead, it drew the eye to itself, which was counter productive.


Meanwhile, I had the ripped-out magazine image of the tulips sitting right beside me on the worktable. I don’t know why it was there because it had nothing to do with my theme. But I noticed that the tulip leaves repeated the color and shape of the grass blades I’d glued along the bottom. It might just work to replace that dark patch, and after trying several positions then finally cutting around some of it, it did work!


So, I’ve got a good start on it. Now, onwards!

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