Saturday, 16 August 2014

FLY AWAY ...

  
I've always said art journalling is therapy, and that's particularly true for me as I often work out my negative feelings in these pages.  That's what was happening here when I just felt tired and overwhelmed by all the things that were going on, none of which seemed madly urgent or important at the time, let alone deserving of my limited energy. OK, its entirely possible that there was an element of self pity going on in there as well ...

So in this less than positive mood I'd painted the page grey and added a torn off strip of paper with some rather interesting panels of paint (printed on the paper rather than put there by me).
Then I added the grey, worn out looking lady but she looked so miserable I couldn't resist giving her pink wings - bright pink is my strong brave colour.  Then of course I had to add other touches of pink, just to lift it all a bit.  The writing at the very bottom is from a Teesha Moore collage sheet, and I've learned from her to make colour copies of my own work and cut it up as collage fodder - so that's what the top left panel is.
So then of course, the thought about flying away from everything turned out to be what I wanted/needed to get down, and everything else followed.  I wrote "but stayed" before I did the other writing on the right hand side, and it ended up a bit of an orphan in terms of meaning, when disconnected from the main message.
Unsurprisingly I was much more cheerful by the time I'd finished - not to mention having got rid of a few things in quick telephone calls and the time-honoured strategy of ignoring some stuff as well.

This is a short post because I'm tired after my day trip to the Motability Show this week (by golly I know how to live the exciting life).  It was brilliant and helpful but very tiring, so am slumped in the studio doing very little more than make pretty backgrounds at the moment - seem to have run out of words!

Saturday, 9 August 2014

BE YOURSELF ....

  
At the risk of sounding self-congratulatory, I am really pleased with this page!  I like the colours and the layout, I managed not to write in straight lines, the Easter Island head makes me smile, and I got down something that I'd been thinking about a lot.  Successful art journalling I believe?

Anyway, below is how the page began - I have this terrible tendency to just paint a page a single colour, so I was determined to use at least two.  Having just bought a new bottle of turquoise/teal and this glorious lime green (these are just bog standard acrylic paints) it was obvious that I would try the two colours together, having noticed how great they looked together in the car going home!
It needed a bit of shading and a touch of white too, and then I was off with the bits of collage and this wonderful image of a carved stone head I'd found from somewhere, a newspaper I think.  The collage is just bits of colour and pattern which appeal to me - something I've learned from Teesha Moore.  As soon as I added the glasses (using one of those cheapy £1 clear stamps) I knew instantly what the page was about.
So then I developed it a bit more - doodling on the collage shapes and getting the writing down.  My stone head stands for someone trying to be something they aren't, so as well as the glasses he got a beard etc. Man in disguise - geddit?  This process doesn't necessarily happen all in one session, although I don't normally work on more than one page at a time ... except when making general purpose backgrounds.
And then, my favourite part, when its almost finished but it "needs" something?  This is usually resolve through the "I know, lets doodle on it" method!  In this case with an assortment of posca paint pens, although you should note that I resisted the temptation to doodle on every single inch?  Proud of myself I was.
Like I said, I'm pleased with it and while I rarely blog my worst efforts - well I paint over the really awful ones - this one is up there with some of my favourites.  You don't have to like it obviously, but thanks for coming by anyway.
Love
Rosie X


Sunday, 3 August 2014

EXPOSED ... ?

  
This page is very recent and I made it because I'd been inspired by some black and white (well shades of grey really) journals I'd seen online.  It seemed a very interesting way to work and although I didn't want to do a whole journal this way, I chose to try it out for the last page in the current one

You'll have seen my Modigliani ladies before - and not least the ones from the accidentally copied in black and white page.  I sourced the images on Google and made a collage sheet with them, which I now copy at need.  That first non colour page was a happy accident that I've had a lot of use from.

So with these ideas in mind I made a monochrome copy of another of my home-made collage sheets and used that here.  The background is a simple coat of grey acrylic paint, with borders cut from my collage sheet.  I then went on to add bits and pieces like the bunting shapes at the top, and the clock, and then of course my Modigliani lady - I'd avoided using this one because she never seemed to fit before with what I was doing ....
But once she was in place on the page - at this stage just an exercise in working monochrome - I decided she looked as exposed as I sometimes feel, and there was my subject matter!
It is my mission to be brave and fearless with myself in the journals I make - after all anything else would be pointless wouldn't it?  I then try to be equally brave about the ones I share (almost all but not quite) in the hope that this might help somebody else, or speak to them in some way.
I'm really pleased with the finished piece, although I did miss bold colours a bit, but nonetheless its an interesting way to work now and again - the grey might be particularly appropriate for difficult days or sad ones?

There will be a few more pages from this A5 journal to share, but at the moment I'm doing exploratory work in a new size, and loving it!  My new journal is SQUARE, which gives me just that bit more scope, and the paper is so much better quality.  Its approximately 8 x 8, so it still sits comfortably on the shelf, but the question now is whether I buy more of these or bite the bullet and try making some of my own?

And of course a number of people asked after the adopted pussycat, and the news is GOOD.  William, as we've named him, has settled in amazingly quickly.  He and Stanley are on their way to be firm friends and enjoy taking turns to chase each other around the house.  Apparently their relationship will be less combative once William is neutered - he's so very distinctively male at the moment that my beloved calls him "fluffynuts". Here's a picture of an early meeting between the boys - William is the black one.
Just noticed that the cats are also monochrome!!  What an artistic household we are ....

Saturday, 26 July 2014

MAKING A DIFFERENCE?

  
With this page I really wanted to be quite wild and free, especially in the colour department!  It was one of those times when, as quite often happens, I had no idea what I wanted to say until I got around to saying it. Below was the painted background I started from - it took me a while to realise that these could be as messy as I liked, since most of it will be covered up anyway.
Interesting how different colours can look in varying lights - the above picture was taken in the evening under electric light, but the others in the daytime, where you can see the true red and oranges more clearly.

I'd found these bits of doodly scrapbook paper left over from another project, and just loved these scribbly shapes, so cut some out and just plonked them down.  By the way I use PVA glue (Anita's) to stick down everything, I buy a big bottle and then decant it at need into little fine top glue bottles - cheap and easy.

I've recently discovered the joys of printed tissue paper, which I put on with gel medium - if you see any grab some, it makes great collage, and I like the transparency of it.  I've got some plain tissue and plan to try printing my own using stamps - yet another item on my long list of things to get around to ....
Next I used a fine liner pen to sort of extend the wiggly lines a bit, but then I just went for it with a Promarker and drew huge squiggles as well. The page had got to this stage when it suddenly came to me what I wanted to say, so I wrote it in grey Posca paint pen - I get these at my local art materials shop.
And after that I just did my usual pleasurable squiggling and doodling, mostly using the Posca pens.  These come in different nib thicknesses and buying a few at a time I've now got a nice selection of colours.  The general loudness of the page (I was thinking fireworks and names in lights) made me realise that I don't want those things any more, if I ever did.  Fame is over-rated it really is, not that I seem to be at real risk of having any!!  That's the way I like it, burbling along in my own little corner of the world, with occasional travels to broaden my mind.

We've just done something totally out of character - which is to impulsively bring home a stray cat which had been hanging around a place we visit regularly for a week.  Now he (newly named William) and Stanley appear to be good buddies after less than an hour's acquaintance, and have taken themselves off upstairs on a voyage of exploration.  How nice is that?  And we'll overlook the deep scratches on my arm from trying to stuff a very frightened little cat into a carrier .... he didn't mean it.  Note to self, do NOT fall head over heels for this little chap until we've checked in at the vet's on Monday and established whether or not he's micro-chipped.  Hmmm, might already be too late on that one.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

CLEAR SIGHTED? I wish.

 
Just a quick post because I've been away this week and am still tired.  This is a page I was particularly pleased with - I've seen some black and grey pages that intrigued me but didn't want to do without colour completely, so told myself I could have just one!

Unfortunately I was so absorbed in what I was doing that I forgot to take a picture until I got to the point below, but I think you can probably see its evolution anyway?  The background is Caran D'Ache crayons as usual, and I added a grey border with Posca paint pens.  I've made myself some collage sheets using Modigliani images (now out of copyright), and when making copies I accidentally pressed the black and white button instead of colour.  Great result, talk about serendipity, and I've loved using the black and white images, and of course the lady bottom right is one of these.

The glasses are the top are a stamp by Stampers Anonymous - a Memento ink pad works well over the crayons as long as they aren't too thick and waxy.  Then as you can see I let rip with the writing, except for the drawing of a life plan page, and some Posca Paint decorations in the top right corner.
The little panel in the bottom right is another home-made collage sheet - I borrowed an idea from Teesha Moore and made colour copies of some of my pages and cut them up to make collage images for future use.
Not nearly as much doodly drawing on this one because I actually like the spaces here.  Luckily I took this photo of the finished page BEFORE disaster struck!  I had used a very soft pencil to add shading around the figure and noticed it was coming off onto the facing page, so decided to seal this one using Mod Podge.  I THINK that what I'd used for some of the writing may not have been totally dry, so to cut a long story short the black lettering got smeared.  Aaarrgghh.  I've cleaned it up as best I can but the result is nowhere near as clean and crisp as in this picture.  Lesson learned.  I just love these colours though, and can't wait to use them again!!

And as for being more clear sighted ... well that's a work in progress, but I am trying not to be someone who is just swept along by things but to make and implement decisions to achieve the things I'm after.  Its all a bit hit and miss, what with the brain fog, and I don't have much control but I do have a BIT.  And that helps.  I'll keep working on it!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

COLOURS

 
Here's another background done with Neocolour II water soluble crayons by Caran d'Ache - I am amazed how much more vivid they are when put on over a gesso base - how come I never knew that before?  I loved how these colours came out so much that I forgot to take a basic picture until after I'd added the foliage, doodling and Modigliani lady!  I used Posca paint pens to colour the leaves because they give an opaque colour over the background - I was just doodling and drawing here because I didn't immediately know what the page would be about.
But when I looked at it again, the point of the piece was obvious - I just LOVE these colours and they make me smile.  Simple as that.  So that's what I wrote, and then I doodled some more in the spaces.  Job done.
We can easily make art journalling into something which seems complicated and difficult, but it needn't be. Just throw down some layers in intense colours that make you smile, add some collage elements you like, do a bit of doodling, then write whatever comes to mind!  Don't let the idea that you have to write something profound and deep stop you from just having a go.  If you don't have words of your own you can always use a wisdom saying or quotation that strikes a chord.  Personally I rarely do that because this is my journal, my diary if you will, so I like the writing to be authentically my own thoughts and words, but you can do whatever works for you.

Now I must go and iron some stuff as I'm going away for a few days ... a change is as good as a rest, and I WILL be taking my basic journalling kit with me!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

I MESS THINGS UP

 
Quite recently I was talking with a friend who said - you've messed up quite a few times in your life haven't you?  I agreed this was sadly true, and also that it was highly likely to happen again, because its what we human beings do. You try not to, and you do get better over your life at making fewer mistakes, just as you grow in self-knowledge of what you are and aren't good at.  Some of the most important things I've learned have come through the painful lessons of getting stuff wrong, but I choose to embrace that rather than allow myself to be forever haunted by my mistakes.

I must acknowledge a very strong Teesha Moore influence here - these flower garden shapes were outrageously copied from a piece she did, and I was impressed enough to give them a go.  I still like them but don't think they'll find their way into my journals regularly, they're just not authentically "me" somehow, but you only find that out by experimenting.
The flowers (or are they cactii?) are done with Promarkers, as is the background below.  The markers aren't the best medium for covering a large area, but they sort of workm and I wasn't too worried about getting a perfect finish on the page because I knew I was going to write over this.  I do absolutely love lime green and blues together but maybe that's just me?
So then came the writing - which as I've explained came directly out of a conversation with a friend.  Then as ever I laid down the basic lettering before going back and fancying it up.
And all that was left to do was add doodly dots and so on ....  which of course, I did!
The result is interesting but as I said, probably not something I would revisit just because it owes so much more to Teesha than myself, and that's not the way I want to make art.  Some techniques - like the wormhole doodling also learned from her - become part of you because it instinctively feels right and/or you just LOVE the effect.  This process of self discovery and sincere imitation is all part of learning and growing, and you have to try things out in order to know what works for you.  I'd be pleased and proud if anybody copied something I did - as long as they credited me with the original idea!

Anyway, like I said, we all mess up sometimes, some more than others, but the main thing is to LEARN from what we do, right or wrong.  And I have.  Just don't ever think that I can't make lots of new mess-ups because I can and do .....

PS My stats show that 260 visitors looked at my last post, yet only a handful commented.  This is just to say that it means a great deal to me to know that you're out there and that my blogging is helpful to you .... especially on the days when it seems like too much effort to keep going with it.  So please, say hi now and again just so's I know I'm not talking to myself.  Tell me what you like or what you might want to see more or even less of!

Sunday, 29 June 2014

THINK POSITIVE - well you've got to really!

 
I was looking through recent pages to select something to blog today, when my eyes lit on this one.  I was impressed that I'd manage to write in the vertical for a change, and loved the colours.  Then I read what I'd put and realised it was a perfect fit for how I am feeling today ... forgive me if I tend to revisit the same themes over and over, but then again my life is a bit like going around in an endless hamster wheel at the moment!!

Anyway if it also seems odd that I hardly remember a page made recently - its because the condition I have also affects memory and concentration.  Which is difficult, and I have to ask people not to tell me things later in the day when I will instantly forget them, or fend off furious friends and relatives who are saying "but I TOLD you" ... yes well you probably did, but I am capable of forgetting almost anything!  Its a bit of a trial really.  Anyway this page was made (I now see) when the grandchildren had just been to visit, and I was suffering the after-effects.  They also came last weekend.  Nuff said.

The page below is an experiment with water colours - which I do love but have always seen as a bit wishy washy for journalling, when I get more intense vivid shades with acrylics.  Feel free to disagree. Everyone has different art materials which just work for them - I do myself!
Pretty much the first thing I did was add in this picture of a rabbit (hare?) person - what it stands for is that feeling of pretty much being brought to your knees, and only managing to get along by crawling.  That (I now recall) is how it felt that day, and I'm not far off the same place today.  So I began on the far left, writing down how tired and sad I was feeling etc etc., but didn't get very far before I had to shout "stop" in my own ear and try to talk myself out of it.  Well it doesn't do to wallow does it?
So then the page sprouted this flower as a positive symbol, and I began the necessary process of persuading myself that things aren't so bad, and you just have to keep on keeping on.  Like you do.
Anyway after (yet another) positive lecture to myself the page was finished, and while I don't particularly recall if this exercise worked on that particular day, it has today.  I've said and written a lot about positive thinking, but I genuinely believe in it.  You can be in exactly the same place but feel very differently about where you are through exercising the choice to be half full rather than half empty!  Call me Pollyanna playing the Glad Game if you like, but it works for me when not a lot else does ...
One thing I particularly like about journalling is how getting feelings down on a page is really helpful and therapeutic, healing almost.  Then going back and looking at a page again can bring back the thought processes you went through at the time - a useful aide-memoire for someone like me who is VERY good at forgetting stuff!

Friday, 20 June 2014

OFFICIAL OLD BAT ....

 
I made this page when I realised an appalling truth - having made one of those "young man" speeches to a hapless youth in a shop.  That's right, the look on his face said it all, I AM officially an "Old Bat".

Never mind, it was probably inevitable, and as you know all of life is grist to my journalling mill, so I set to making a page about this painful realisation.
The background is Neocolour II crayons by Caran D'Ache, and I should add that since I made this page I've discovered that they work even better over gesso.  The colours seem to become even more intense, though sometimes a soft look is what you're after.
The face is a favourite stamp of mine, by Daniel Torrente for Stampotique.  I often use it to represent myself, having hair broadly similar to this depiction.  Its the slightly sick expression I love though, one which unfortunately crosses my face regularly.
And then I just let rip with the doodling and drawing bats.  Sorry this is a short post - I have sciatica at the moment and sitting down for any length of time isn't working for me ......

Friday, 6 June 2014

WAKE UP ...

 

I'm struck how very differently this page ended up from its early beginnings - I do love it when that happens and you end up not going in the direction you thought you might!  In fact I was having a conversation with my other half on quite a serious subject in the middle of this, which might account for a swerve going on in my mind?

Anyway, thought I would show more of my process with this.  The blue background is acrylic paint on top of gesso, which I then splodged with a baby wipe to give this textured look.  I'm moving away from using collage sheets and enjoying using (free!) bits and pieces cut from magazines, found circulars etc.  What I don't like is shiny paper, and I rarely use the stuff - but then again my heroine Teesha Moore uses lots of it, although I think she gives her work a coat of gel medium when its finished so that its kind of shiny anyway.

My prejudice against shiny paper means that I am always searching for matte images - and more and more circulars (and even some magazines) seem to be going in that direction.  This was a Fairtrade flyer which I'd finished with, and I liked the simple teardrop shapes and wanted to use them.  I save stuff like this in my collage box.
Then I got out a stencil to make the background more interesting - and this is what I use, a sponge dabber which goes on your finger and a water based ink pad.  It works for me, and I never had a lot of luck with paint and stencils, it always bleeds and makes a mess!
I knew when I started that what I wanted to do was some zentangle style doodling on the teardrop shapes, which as you can see below worked out well.  I also added some stamps and the headline cut from another flyer (local estate agents paper).  The message to wake up originally concerned a completely different subject, but my conversation with the old man send me in another direction.  (He came and peered over my shoulder at about this point).
And this is how it all ended up, a result I'm pleased with because once again I've stretched myself and tried something new.  I like it.  You can see from the pictures above and below that I outlined the teardrops using my Posca paint pens and added more pink to balance the page out.  My preferred pen for the doodling is a Pigma Micron, which I have in a number of thicknesses.
Only just noticed that I've virtually obliterated the stencilling, but I never worry about that, putting down different layers and then covering them up is all part of the process!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

WHY IS IT .....

 
Something of a cry from the heart here ... I'm sure most of you will have experience of this phenomenon too.  Sigh.  We've been back 10 days and it feels as if I haven't had a moment to myself since!  Well obviously I must have or this page wouldn't exist, but that's only because I determinedly carved out a little time to play here and there, so that I wouldn't go completely crazy!

Anyway this background was very quickly and simply done, just using Promarkers. It began with outlining some shapes in dark pink and then filling them in.  Stripes like this seem to encourage me to write across them ....  but sorry about this picture which was taken in electric light, making the colours look a little strange.
Once I began to write in black the pink started to look a bit washed out (these are the true shades) so I ended up edging the panels with black to make them stand out.
And of course it was irresistable to do zentangle type doodling in some of the spaces once the writing was done!  This kind of work is just SO restful somehow.  The other colouring (ie burgundy) is also Promarkers - I seem to have periods when I use these constantly, and then I neglect them for a bit.  So many pages have been paint related lately that maybe its just a reaction to that?  Maybe we just have fads on particular media and then need a break from them.
Back from our USA trip with lots of lovely craft stuff bought from the likes of Michael's, Jo-Anns and A C Moore.  Happy days .....!!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

SACRED SPACE

 
Yet more paint splish sploshing about - you'd never guess I used to really hate using the stuff would you?  Below you can see what passes for an "arty" background with me - I was just splodging around on top of a gesso coat, rubbing paint in with a babywipe and then smearing some or all of it off again: nothing very clever but it looked OK.  Its easy to forget that you're going to write/draw all over it, which means it doesn't have to be anything more than a bit interesting.

I also used a mask and some dark blue paint to give me the honeycomb effect, and then for some reason drew a white line across the page with a Posca paint pen.  It must have made sense at the time, but I can't for the life of me remember why!
The writing I then added was done with Promarker - although I am a fan of these I do think the range of blue shades is a bit disappointing, and I've actually added a few blue Copics to my collection to get the colours I want. 
The idea of the unsuspected self really appeals - don't think its original, I probably read it somewhere, but the concept speaks to me.  It works particularly well in terms of journalling for me because, so often, I am amazed by what comes out when I just go with the process and let it happen.  Sometimes  things come out I didn't know I was feeling, or hadn't understood were forming a barrier I needed to get past.  Stuff like that. 
I also have this thing where I get stuck in monochrome mode and work pretty much in one colour the whole way through - shades of blue in this case.  I do admire the work of Teesha Moore and wish that (more often anyway) I could work in the variety of vivid colours she uses.  Its somethng I'm working on but clearly wasn't expressed here. 

There's something almost biological about the structures I've drawn - arterial branches and cells perhaps - an organic element anyway.  It may have been deliberate .... not sure now.
But it makes sense doesn't it - if the body is a temple of the holy spirit then it is also sacred ground, a space which contains all our deepest meaning .... and indeed the unsuspected self, the true self that sometimes we don't even show to ourselves let alone others?

Gosh, I am in reflective mode today!  Its probably because tomorrow we fly up and away - visiting Virginia in the USA.  Fear not, I have packed a small travel journal with prepared background pages, plus some new drawing materials and a notebook ... just in case the spirit moves me to work in one of them.  What's the betting I'll be so busy eating ice-cream and gazing at the views that I forget to do any of it?

See you in a couple of weeks or so. 
Rosie X