Hi Everyone! Early Spring I came across the Golden Fairy Lantern wildflower and was instantly smitten by it. Photographing these little flowers took me on an unexpected creative journey. I painted them, made block prints, and hand bound books. Along the way I learned a lot about trying new ways when things do not work out as expected. I love to experiment and play, so I was completely in my element.
The Golden Fairy Lantern is a flower that is endemic to Northern California. These flowers are no larger than 0.5″. I had to play with the camera settings a LOT before I could capture a few sharp photos of this beautiful little flower.
There are little green butterflies that I also see on the trail, the same kind that flutter around in our garden as well. They are so sweet, I love watching them. After coming home, I drew this picture of a butterfly with two Fairy Lantern flowers and set to painting it.
Then I ran into a little problem. I could not paint them to my satisfaction using watercolours. There was nothing wrong with them per se, but I was looking for something different than what I got on paper. After painting a few flowers with unsatisfactory results, it was time to change course.
I pulled out my markers, Inktense pencils and my FW acrylic inks. I painted little areas on this sketch with each kind first to observe the behaviour. I really liked the markers, but unfortunately the colours bled to the back of the paper. So, I used the the FW inks instead.
This was one of the unsuccessful paintings. Instead of throwing it away, I cut the part out that was alright and tried a few new things on it. It was great not to have to worry about lines and shapes here, but simply play with paint. Then I pasted it on to one of my scrap book binding covers and it became a bookmark.
The FW inks worked a lot better for the painting, but there was something still missing. Then I realised that I was trying very hard to copy the shadows from my reference photo and making a mess in the process.
With “Let go, Luke” from Star Wars in my head, I put the photo away and started painting following my instincts. It worked.
Once everything dried, I used watercolour pencils to add the details and shadows to the butterfly, and the painting was done.
However, the idea for a block carving was already stirring in my head. I made another line drawing in my larger sketchbook. I spent a lot of time smoothing out those curves in the drawing. I decided not to ink the master copy in case an accidental nudge of the hand derailed the pen from the line. I apologise for the faded photo, I draw with a light hand.
You know the rest. The block was carved.
Since I didn’t purchase sharpening supplies early, one of my old tools had gone dull beyond sharpening and also got notched. I decided to recreate the edge of the tool.
I had never done this before, so of course I mucked up a few times and had to restart from the grinding-down step. I finally found the right angle, and it clicked. It was a long process.
During the printing process my roller bid me adieu and applied ink unevenly on the board. Get new roller, clean block, wait till it dries, repeat printing.
I played with printing on different kinds of paper, both heavy paper and Japanese rice paper.
I made bullet journals with the print on the cover. I am using the blue journal for my Japanese studies. A few of the others have also found new homes. The journals are available in my shop.
You can read about the carving and book binding here.
As I get bored very easily when working on repetitive things, I very rarely work on multiple things with the exact same picture. However, I was smitten by these little flowers and I delved more and more into the world of creativity centering around them. Each one was different enough and they tossed me a few challenges along the way. It was fun to play along.
I hope you will also find something that piques your interest, and try something new and fun!
Until next time,
I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page. They are always a source of new inspirations. Please pay them a visit.
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