Bluh. Fall hasn’t settled yet and I’m already down with some obnoxious virus. But only half down, so I decided no work, just play on an art journal page today! Creatamins are incredibly good for your health, you know 😉

I did a random painting trying out my Kuretake Gansak Tambi watercolor set. Which was very interesting. To say the least. Here’s what I made (process photos below):

"La Feuille Verte " art journal page by Mandy van Goeije depicting a girl under a starry sky with two faces and an open mouth because she has a bad cold

As I said I painted this art journal page mostly in Kuretake Gansak Tambi watercolor paints. I did a first-impression video review of the paint a little while ago in which it was immediately clear that this paint does NOT resemble watercolors as I know them. That doesn’t mean to say I don’t like the paint. It’s just different… For me, it falls in the same category as the St. Petersburg White Nights paint, which also behaves differently. Here’s the first-impression video I made:

Since I caught a nasty virus I felt ‘different’ enough today to try this ‘different’ paint by Kuretake. Knowing the paint doesn’t flow and mix in the same way as I’m used to from most brand I have, what I do when working with this paint is that I start random. I did a huge flow stain for the background of my art journal page to start building on:

Kuretake Gansa Tambi watercolor color flow for background

Using the paint this lightly, I noticed that it still didn’t flow as fluidly as other brands do. And some colors mixed into a really muddy color. But, in this case I wanted that to happen. Because working on a background like this, I want happy and somewhat less happy accidents to give me grit to start building on.

From here I looked for a place to start and started building my art journal page up from there…

Building on Kuretake Gansa Tambi watercolor color flow and finding faces

First, I found the little top face with a huge hat-like structure. But when I’d outlined that one, I found a second face with an open mouth, pretty much like mine (my nose being obstructed by this nastly little viral swelling) at the moment. So see? Here begins a journal page that really says something about my life. And that ALWAYS happens. You simply start somewhere. And before you know it, you begin telling a story. But instead of adding letters, words, sentences, paragraphs and chapers, you add colors, lines and media.

Building on Kuretake Gansa Tambi watercolor color flow and finding faces

I gave the background of my art journal page a fiery yellow base that is weighed on by a really heavy night sky blue that I will lighten up in the next stages of the page. Also, I began outlining. But not with regular lines. Feeling as feverishly unfocused as I do now, I went for dotted lines…

Building on Kuretake Gansa Tambi watercolor color flow and finding faces

The image needed more red to supplement the yellow and the blue and make the triad of primary colors complete, so I sort of gave the soft-ice like head garment a dark wash of magenta. Also I blende the yellow and the blue in a bit by drawing the yellow bubbles all the way up into the blue.

Building on Kuretake Gansa Tambi watercolor color flow and finding faces

Then the entire art journal page felt too thick. The Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolor paint really doesn’t feel like watercolor. So I had used it more like I would have used gouache, which had resulted in a ‘dense’ feel that I needed to light up. So I drew in lots of stars in the sky and turned the colored stain on the shoulders into a lace shawl by drawing in white ink.

Building on Kuretake Gansa Tambi watercolor color flow and finding faces

Then it was time to give some dimension to the face, so it was time for a little stylized shading.

And finally I needed to do something with the hair. But what? I wanted to keep the watercolor background of the art journal page intact and yet it needed something. Staring outside pondering for a bit I noticed how trees have begun dropping their leaves and I realised that soon the day will come that trees will be about to shed their very last leaf. I know nature rebirths. But I find The Days of the Last Leaves a bit sad every year. Because then the dark days come when we have to rely on the sun to return. How odd it must have been for our early ancestors who believed they were at the mercy of their gods to let the light return and therewith new leaves. That kind of magic is lost to us. But the melancholy of The Last Leaf remains. To express the promise of the return of light, I colored it fresh green. Therefore I call today’s Journal Page “La Feuille Verte”…

Building on Kuretake Gansa Tambi watercolor color flow and finding faces

And this is the finished art journal page…

So, if you ask me now if I like Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolors as much as, say, my Horadams, I have to say ‘no’. I did love working with this paint, though. I love how its opacity allowed for the green bubbles on the dark blue background so that they really pop out. When used in a thicker layer, the paint does dry up a bit shiny like acrylics, though. I hope it won’t stick to the opposite page… It doesn’t feel sticky. But I’ll have to wait and see what happens when I close my journal…

Can’t wait to start on a new ‘happy accident’ art journal page…do you care to try?

I’ll soon do one in Mijello Mission Gold. The first edition of the  “Color My Page” challenge has been voted for really well! The votes close this Sunday and then I’ll paint an art journal page with only three colors and record it onvideo, reviewing the Mijellow Mission Golod paint as I go. If you like, you can still vote!