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  • Writer's pictureKaaren Poole

When In Doubt, Just Keep Going

To continue from last week where I began my art journal post, ""Quiet Mind, Peaceful Heart," it was now time to solve the problem I had about the values.

When I'm not quite sure what to do next, I often revert to things I've frequently done before. Perhaps it's because they seem safe. So, in this case, I added a border. I didn't like it, but I'd deal with it later.

Although I was really interested in the concept of a 'pale deer,' there didn't really seem to be any good alternative to adding color to the deer. Color would reduce the value contrast of the piece overall - an outcome I wasn't thrilled about - but I thought if I kept the color pale I might be all right. So I went ahead.

But now the background seemed too stark.

To deal with that problem, along with the border I didn't like, I smeared quite gesso here and there over the background (including everywhere on the border). I also added a bit on the deer's chest and side, thinking I might end up adding some text there.

I now had lost the value contrast I liked in the beginning, but I saw no other path. However, I determined to remember the techniques that got me to that place I liked so much and try another time, though probably with a different subject.

I should have taken more photos between the last one and this one, but unfortunately, I didn't. All I can say is that I added and refined the color on the deer, especially on the face, and fooled and fooled and fooled with the inter-branch spaces in the background. The 'fooling" consisted of, basically, adding subtle color shifts with water soluble crayon, alcohol ink drops, small smears of gesso, transparent acrylic washes, and gesso dots. I also added the text patch over the deer (which also had several layers to it, starting with a collage piece that began as a patch of a book page tinted with green transparent acrylic).

Through all the fooling, I began developing an area that looked like the sun peeking through the tree branches (you can see it beginning in the previous photo). I often do night scenes, but thought this would make a good day scene. So I needed some gold foil touches. I looked for my box of foil pieces but couldn't find it, so I had to make a grocery run for some Ferraro Roche candies. They have the best gold foil wrappers I've ever found. Eating the candy was difficult, but sometimes artists have to make sacrifices for their work! I had to work my way through three pieces before I felt I had enough foil.

There's not much difference between this photo and the previous one. I'd say the main changes are the white dot motifs and the transparent washes darkening the corners.

It's often difficult to know when to stop, but sometimes it's easy, like it was here. I couldn't think of anything else to do!

Bottom line? I like the deer. As for the piece overall - so, so. But I hope you've enjoyed the tour.

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