Artist in training…

Because I’m clearly not happy unless I have nine million irons in the fire at once, I decided to participate in the Art Elements theme challenge for January, the subject of which was the moon. (Quick backstory: I became familiar with this group because my fabulously artistic and talented sister-in-law Jen Cameron is one of its members. When I saw the theme challenge announcement, I was overcome with optimism, and before I knew it, I’d signed up. Never mind that I’m more “word-artsy” than “art-artsy,” I decided kicking off the new year with something different and outside my usual boundaries was exactly what I needed to do. So here I am.)

Before getting my hands busy with my project, I stalked reviewed the other artists’ pages, and was instantly amazed by the talent, creativity and depth of their work. “I’m going to stick out like a sore thumb,” I mumbled, fighting off the apprehension I felt creeping up on me. However, I refused to bow out of the commitment. I forged ahead during my free time on my project, which I knew would be paper-based. I had recently begun fumbling around with paper-making, and thought it was pretty interesting. The idea that stuck in my head was four separate note card-sized papers, with some kind of moon image, and the word moon written in four different languages, because words are my thing.

First on my list was making the paper. I’d used newsprint in the past, and while I loved how the different words and typefaces mixed & mingled in the finished product, I wanted something plain for the background (I’ll explain in a moment.) I used an ordinary, brown paper shopping bag, tearing it into strips and letting them soak in water a little before blending them into pulp. I added a few pieces of construction paper to break up the monotony, and this is what I ended up with:

My original concept was going to have ripped newsprint sort of collaged into a partial moon, filling the bottom left corner of each card (which is why I stayed away from using newsprint on the card itself). I talked myself out of that, though, opting instead, to sit down with some watercolor paper and paint to see what I could come up with. After playing around, I had a full page of this white-gray, mottled pattern, which I let dry and came back to a few days later. (No picture of that, because I’m new to this and forgot to get a shot of it.) At first, I cut a full circle and played with that against the cards. To me, it looked too perfect against the rough edges of the cards, so using a guide, I tore the paper into circles, and liked that better. Apparently, I can’t leave well enough alone, because I dragged out the watercolor palette again, and fussed around with different colors to highlight the moons — because leaving them to resemble the actual moon felt too … I don’t know… expected? (Again, forgot to photograph this part of the process. Sorry.)

I knew when it came time to write out the words, it HAD to be in silver, and it turned out exactly as I’d hoped.

My first instinct was to use “moon,” and “luna,” so I stretched further choosing lune (French), mond (German), lua (Portuguese) and mane (Swedish). I’m also new to the hand-lettering trend — which is weird, because I absolutely LOVE handwriting — so these aren’t super pretty, but I feel like it’s passable. I affixed the more colorful moons, weighting them briefly, because of the uneven surface of both papers made it difficult for them to lay flat.

And then, they were done!

Even though these cards are pretty basic, I was happy with how they turned out. I’m glad I stuck with the challenge, and now that I’ve done one, I’ll probably try and participate most, if not all, months in 2019.

All participants and group members are listed here, and I highly recommend you check out their projects/websites/artwork. It’s amazing, and maybe you’ll even find yourself inspired to jump into an Art Elements monthly challenge in the coming months!

Jenny Melissa Kathy Sarajo Hope Sarah Rebecca Divya Anita             Rosantia Cat Evia Alysen Beth Tammy

Art Elements Crew:
Claire Laney Caroline Cathy Sue Niky Jenny Jen Lindsay