Above: Two entries from my current, ongoing Finch Series. Montana Acrylic Marker for background and underpainting, with Pentel pigment brush pen sketches and gouache all in a Japanese Lined Journal. You'll be able to read all about Nigel and Pete if you do.
I love working in a series because it gives me an opportunity to explore a topic, work repeatedly with a certain medium, or look more closely at a particular subject (in today’s series: Finches).
In December I started working to capture the various aviary birds at the nursing home. I wanted to look at their personalities. I was also playing with text and lettering while I put together a new online class (which I hope to release in the fall).
I didn’t post these Finch portraits earlier because for awhile I thought Hamish might become the poster child for IFJM 2016.
The series is on-going and open ended (as the birds are switched around every so often in the aviary). But it is on a short hiatus recently as I’m not working in a Japanese Lined Journal and I really want them to be on the same paper—at least that’s the current thinking. Tomorrow that might change if I show up at the aviary and find a new cast of characters.
Most of the time I fill in the backgrounds of journal pages done on this paper AFTER I have sketched and painted, but for this series I covered the spread with Montana Acrylic Marker first (and incompletely) and then sketched and painted on top of that surface. The ink in the Pentel pigment brush pen (squeezy gray barrel) has a slightly different finish when it dries on the acrylic surface and I think it’s fun to play with that.
Above: Another portrait executed in the same fashion as the one above. Hamish didn't become the face of International Fake Journal Month 2016, I thought he looked a little too intense. But hey, he is intense. You'll be able to read about Hamish if you do—and get an "eyebrow update."
I hope you take a moment this week to devise a series that you would enjoy working on—fill some pages.
You might think about favorite objects you have around your house and capture them each on their own page, or in groupings. You could then journal about special memories each object brings up. You might sketch a loved one for days on end and write down your conversations. (Check the category “Richard” for sketches and discussions I have with Dick.) You might sketch something every morning on your daily walk and use those sketches to feed a daily meditation about life, exercise, gratitude, weather, or more.
Over time, when we stop to capture some aspect of our lives in a visual journal series, we also capture ourselves at that moment in our lives. Things that seem mundane and superficial, lowly and not worth notice or attention, become visible as the sheer weight of the growing number of entries in the series and our focused attention begin to provide a context for the other choices and decisions we make in life.
By noticing something simple I believe that as the days pass we can actually discover something profound about our world, and learn something true about ourselves.
Series also allow us to refine our vision, our thoughts, and our skills.
I hope you’ll give it a try and work in a series.