During the Season of Fairy Tales at Get Messy, I had the pleasure of taking part in the Painting Galaxies class with Katie Smith. It was the perfect accompaniment to the season, with a magical atmosphere and a sense of entering another world.
One of the things I love about the techniques that Katie shares is that they are quite simple to do and yet create such a dazzling effect. It is also possible to use many different mediums. The galaxy above was created with acrylic paints, while the one below was made using watercolours.
I love the soft haziness of the watercolours. It reminds me of the clouds and nebulas of the galaxy. The word Breathe came to me as I was looking at the finished galaxy. I felt so calm looking at something so vast and peaceful, and had a sense of the whole universe breathing. Pretty cosmic stuff!
I spend my Sunday mornings out and about at a lovely cafe in West London. I have called it The Doodle Cafe because I always spend my time there writing and drawing. A minimal art kit is essential on these mornings, and so I was delighted when Katie shared a technique on Instagram using Tombow watersoluble markers. It was a great accompaniment to the class. I love the cloudy quality that comes in unexpected ways when you add water to the markers.
I loved this technique so much, it soon became one of my favourites! In this next galaxy I splashed even more water onto the markers and was delighted with the clouds that were created.
I stuck with a limited colour palette so that the clouds could be the main focus.
Back to acrylics, and this time, instead of using the white gel pen to outline the clouds of the galaxy, I used it to add a drawing of myself as an intergalactic princess!
The stars are drawing close to me now
with their whispers of magic and other worlds.
We will talk to each other
like we did when I was a girl,
in strange and wonderful tunes.
The above galaxy was made during yet another Sunday at The Doodle Cafe. I used Tombow markers once again, this time really going for it with the vibrancy of the colours.
‘Dressed for the universal weather’ – This is a watercolour galaxy with added blobs of high flow acrylics for bursts of saturated colour. Wow! This added a wonderful vibrancy to the galaxy. I had been enjoying the galaxies in their own right up to this point, but decided to see what it was like using a galaxy as a background. It didn’t take much to complete the page, with a single figure and some writing along the top.
This time I added the high flow acrylic paints to a Tombow marker galaxy. I sprayed the high flow paints with water which again activated the markers underneath. This created a wonderful effect – both vibrant and hazy. I added a quote by Rabindranath Tagore, perfect for the beginning of autumn and the nights drawing in.
Shooting-star-like, blazing briefly,
fire the autumn dark within me.
– Rabindranath Tagore
I often find the time I spend in my art journal to be quite meditative. I found this effect was heightened while I was painting these galaxies. There is something about gazing into the vastness of space that helps to put everything into perspective. As if by magic, towards the end of the class, I noticed the tag on my teabag had a message for me that felt very fitting for the art of painting galaxies:
Open up to infinity
and become infinity.