Saturday, May 02, 2009


My art training is mostly grounded in realism and scientific illustration, but every so often I get the urge to do something abstract or stylized. Unfortunately I tend to do this spur of the moment and not plan it out. It is play really (at least this is my rationale when it becomes clear that it isn't going to work out the way I'd envisioned).

So today I'm working on this butterfly and suddenly I'm swept up with the idea that there should be an abstract background; kind of implying a bunch of lush tropical leaves and the dappled light in the rainforest. "Oh yes, great idea!" says my mind, and off we go. My inner child is delighted - madly coloring with bright colors and sheer exuberance. My focus is on one single square inch at a time, watching the pencil blend and mix the colors together right on the paper. And then when I finally come up for air, well...all together isn't as brilliant as I had hoped. The butterfly came out - carefully rendered in colored pencil before my inner child took over - but the background? Not so much. It is as if this tropical butterfly somehow ended up in the Arctic and is observing a northern lights display through a window (which I suppose is a good thing because if it was actually outside it would be a frozen butterfly and not capable of enjoying the northern lights).

So was this whole thing a waste of time? No - I really did enjoy the process. My inner child got lots of play time and now might settle down for a nap so that I can do some more detailed work. And who knows, maybe I am destined to write a children's book about a tropical butterfly that visits the North Pole.


Sherrie Y said...

Hi, Gabrielle! Playing is a great thing to do. (Around here we call it "scratching") It's great that you can allow yourself time to experiment without getting *TOO* hung up in outcomes. Hard to do sometimes.

sharp green pencil said...

Delighted to get your comment on the Blog, and to find yours too. I am just about to have blog break... with your job and freelance etc I dont know how you have time to do just one blog post!!...I too need some playing time after lots of hard graft this year!

Vickie said...

Fun, fresh ideas! Follow those intuitive impulses and they will take you everywhere. And always, you will learn something. There is nothing more important for our inspiration.

Thanks for your comment on my blog. Glad to find you here.

Laure Ferlita said...

Such fun! I see more of a tropical background out of focus! Love the possibilities you note in your experiment, and good for you find the time to play and indulge the inner child - she's a brilliant artist!

Murr Brewster said...

I love colored pencil. I love doing it. I know just what you mean about getting lost in focusing on one inch at a time. Ages ago I'd have to smoke pot to get that feeling; it's great to know you can get it with a box of pencils, too.

Gabrielle said...

OMG Murr, I think I hurt something laughing at your comment. I also got a dirty look from Madeleine, having woken her up with my outburst. At least pencils are legal. Hee-hee.

Thank you everyone for all your comments!!! I've only been doing the blog thing publicly for a little over a week and the response, especially from such talented writers and artists as you are, has been more than I expected this early on. Thanks!