Cabbage Butterfly Balloon

I did a series of two illustrations, a while ago, and I never did anymore. I can’t say why. It tapped into something inside of me that went against everything else I was doing. Bold colour, striking line, saturation, saturation. And then I drew this.

01. cabbage butterfly balloon by Ravenari

And yet I look at it and know I have to go back to that space one day. That space of fragmented line and downgraded colour. I need to know what it means for my soul to do this; and why this feels so much more like it will shatter me, than using brilliant pigments and bold line.

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I am sometimes told by other artists that they feel intimidated by using bold colour. I don’t know why, but I have never felt this way. Perhaps it is that I hero-worshipped Franz Marc and his own striking colour symbolism as a young teenager. Or perhaps it’s just that I didn’t care when I was doing artwork, because I don’t recall ever concerning myself about colour, overmuch. And maybe that’s because I was raised first and foremost in the medium of pastels which – unlike their *name* – are known for producing the most spectacular brilliance of pigmentation of any traditional medium outside of just purchasing pure high quality pigment and doing it yourself.

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I cut my eyeteeth on colour and saturation, rather than the specifity of line, which was hard for me to get at the age of 14 with only soft pastels to play with. I discovered the love I have for the line, particularly the black line, not that much later. I would have only been about 16. While I was working lineless for TEE Art (TER Art now, I believe), I was beginning to appreciate the boundaries of limning subjects with line at home in my private works. I myself am so fragmented, so much about boundary and borders and fixed spaces and brokenness, that I became addicted to the line.

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One day, I guess, I’ll drift back to the low saturation illustrations that I can sometimes do, like cabbage butterfly balloon; but when? I don’t know. Originally, it was a whimsy, a flight of fancy. I didn’t know what I was doing, I only knew I wanted there to be a butterfly balloon and a snail shell in there somewhere.

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The new The Get Up Kids album; ‘There Are Rules’ is awesome. It’s taken about four listens for me to realise this, but now I’m there and I have some new ‘art’ music. Keith Case still swamps me every time I hear it. I don’t know what it is about that song, but it rolls over me like a flood, and leaves me over-drenched and barren all at once. I could dedicate swathes of art to that single song; and no one would know.

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9 thoughts on “Cabbage Butterfly Balloon

  1. There’s something very child-like about that picture to me. Not like something a child would draw, but somehow it reminds me of what it feels like to be a child and seeing with more than your eyes.

    The words “cut my eye teeth” made my teeth hurt, as a sidenote. lol

  2. I’d agree with the two points above about it feeling like childhood and more innocent/ Personally, using downgraded, almost minimalistic color feels vulnerable. I can’t really explain why, but that’s why I like bold, striking colors and contrast in my own art. So, when I look at this, I feel a sense of vulnerability. (In a good way, though, like in a “shedding of emotional/burdening weight” way.)

    • p.s., because my mind doesn’t think as fast as my finger clicks the mouse…I really love the way the spirals are incorporated into the figure, especially the spirals near her waist and hair, it almost works on a level on negative space. =)

    • I do agree that using minimalistic colour feels vulnerable. I also feel like the lines that don’t quite connect on the figure imply vulnerability too, like… a disconnected sense of boundary or something.

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