One of the bonuses of being a Guest Teacher on the Wanderlust 2021 Mixed-Media Art Journalling Course is I get to do all the lessons throughout the year. This sketchbook spread was inspired by one of the January lessons in Wanderlust. It’s all about looking back at last year and quickly capturing some of your thoughts, feelings and impressions of it on the page, without too much editing.
Working with collage is great for this sort of thing as its quick and intuitive and allows for layering. As per the lesson, I started by making some quick, random marks on the page, using a thick graphite pencil and some blue and green oil pastels. Grabbing a map of Athens, I ripped a few pieces and quickly stuck them to the page with matte medium. Strange really that I chose a map of Athens – its at least two years since we were up there… perhaps I’m missing an injection of city life?
Then I painted on some blocks of white gesso, scratching into it and making more marks as I went along. More layers were added using strips of Greek text from an old book and I painted bits of prussian blue acrylic here and there, using a stencil. A cut-out of one of my drawings, above, completes the first page, along with some more marks made with oil pastel, Inktense pencils and more gesso. The empty table represents the closed cafes and tavernas during both lockdowns and the quietness when the cafes – the heart and soul of the villages – are closed.
The layers on the second page were done at the same time as the first. Here I used a transfer-print of one of my drawings of an old village door and fragments of a local map. We barely went further than Methoni to the west and Kalamata to the north during the whole of 2020 and life very much revolved around our village, as I’m sure it did for many people.
Right at the end of the process, I decided to add some contrasting colour. I had intended to use an orange-red but the colour on the page unfortunately came out more blood red, which I wasn’t very happy about. I felt I’d ‘spoiled it’… and then reminded myself it was only a page in a sketchbook! Looking at it now, the red floral circles look eerily rather Covid-like, so perhaps something subliminal was going on when I used the wrong colour by mistake! It was fun following another tutor’s brief and playing around with collage in a sketchbook again.