I like rivers, and water in general, and everywhere I’ve lived has had a river nearby, but they’ve never played a particularly meaningful part in my life. I never went sailing or fishing or even for long walks along the banks, and I absolutely never did any outdoor swimming — who would after growing up with warnings like Lonely Water? So trying to make an art journal page based on rivers that I connect with was always going to be a bit tricky.
This layout is based on the bridge over the local river that I cross to get into one of the nearby parks. I like the balance of the green parkland on the left with the road to the right and the river separating the two. That is actually the view from the bridge (though there are more trees there), but could also represent growing up in the countryside versus living in a city if you insist on making it meaningful. The edges of the river are based on the shape of part of the routes the local river and the one that I lived near growing up (though the left-hand one ended up being mostly obscured by the tree).
The birds are swallows, which I remember seeing arriving every year growing up on the farm. They were stamped with a hand-carved stamp that I based on a vintage illustration. I think that is my favourite part of this class, and I get to reuse it in future projects. The wavy lines in the water were also created with a hand-made stamp, though that’s one I made quite some time ago.
The kingfisher is an image transfer I painted over using Inktense blocks.
Adding in the tree gave me the opportunity to try the cotton bud technique Jay Lee uses in some of his YouTube videos (this cherry blossom painting is particularly nice). I should have used a more opaque paint mix to obscure bits of the branches, but that’s a lesson learned for next time.
Overall, the finished page doesn’t quite work for me. Mainly, I think there is too much of the bridge there — if I had made it half the height it would have been better. There are a lot of elements that I really do like though, especially the tree and the swallows, and a lot of different techniques that will definitely get used again.