Sunday, 24 May 2015

CAN'T SEE AHEAD ....

 


Well I'm back - and (almost) over the jet lag, although we found a brilliant homeopathic remedy for that which helped a LOT.

This was a page I made shortly before we went .... I must have been in holiday mode already when I put that palm tree in there (we've been to Florida)!

I sometimes feel that my pages can be a bit too tight and controlled, so I tried my best to loosen up with this one.  At this stage its simply acrylic paint in two colours with a little bit of collage on the top.
Then very often I just write down whatever is on my heart at the time - frequently surprising myself with the revelation of what I'm really thinking about or need to say.  You may know that we're making preparations to retire, but any kind of timescale is a bit unclear at the moment.  We'd actually hoped to be gone by now, but in fact the current approximate date is September.  Since building work on our new home hasn't even begun I'm not setting my heart on that happening!
But when I wrote this statement down I realised that was OK - I can still look forward to getting there even if I'm not yet sure how and when.  Its entirely possible that I was also demob happy because of the holiday, and simply content to just let things roll for a time.  Usually I like to have rather more control of things ....
The palm tree is also done with collage, and like the shapes below and above it are just cut from random magazines.  Once I found the texture that I used to make the trunk it was always going to be a tree, and then it just seemed to need the red bird, who seemed to look a bit like a chicken.  Well that got me thinking about our chickens happily pecking about in the yard, blithely untroubled by anything much .... so I added chicken(ish) birds to indicate that state of mind.
Sorry this is quite short - my brain is still slightly out of sync with the rest of the world, but I hope to be back to proper form shortly.

Couldn't resist sharing this picture of me drinking a FABULOUS cocktail on our trip - it was called The Tranquiliser, and boy did it work!  Three kinds of rum, loads of pineapple juice, all topped up with cream and a cherry.  :)
And yes, we DID have a very nice time, thank you for asking!!

Monday, 4 May 2015

WAITING ....

 


My continuing love affair with lime green - something NOT shared by my family, who clearly have no taste and appreciation!  I especially like this colour in the Spring, when the new green leaves are such an intense lime shade, before dust and traffic fumes get to them.

So nothing fancy going on here - I just painted the page in this yummy shade of green acrylic paint, and then began to add bits of green collage, mainly from a children's book I got from the charity shop.
And then the collage just grew and grew .... the butterfly top left and the advertisement bottom right are both from tissue paper which I tore out and collaged on with matte medium.  Its a besetting sin of mine that I tend to get stuck on one colour and produce all manner of tone on tone pages - if I start off blue it often stays blue, and I have to remind myself that it is OK to use more than one colour!
Still didn't know quite where I was going at this stage, even when I added the rather wistful looking Modigliani lady (if you've been with me a while you'll already know how much I love his work). A white Posca paint pen added a few highlights here and there.  Between the pictures above and below you might also notice that I added a shadow, using a grey marker. It always amazes me just how much difference such a small subtle addition makes!
So I left it awhile to come back to another day, when I knew what I wanted to say, and this was something of a cry from the heart.  Something we'd dreamed of and hoped for over a long LONG period of time FINALLY came to fruition, and instead of feeling joyful I found myself oddly flat. I've been doing some work on changing that.
We are off to Florida on Wednesday so this will be my last post for a couple of weeks - but I plan to come home laden with craft bargains (Jo-Anns here I come!) and collage stash.  The sunshine always warms my bones and, combined with the relaxation of being away from it all, I experience less pain, which is rather wonderful!  Arrivaderci ....

Sunday, 26 April 2015

WINDOW ....


I'm not very well this weekend so this will have to be a shortish post.  It began as a yellow painted background with a green edge - which I hated, although I liked the stencil and the window image.
So I changed it a bit and gave it a grey edge - and also added the lettering.  One of the reasons we're retiring soon is because its hard for me to get out of the house without help, so I spend far too much time alone and inside.  Rightly or wrongly I sometimes feel cut off from the world (except for the internet) and left out of so much that is happening "out there".
But the next day I looked at this again and saw nothing but a wail of self pity - which will never do! So I pulled myself together and wrote the stuff up the side.  It helped.

I hesitated before sharing this because (obviously) I prefer to share things with a positive message, or that celebrate my victory over something negative.  This sort of does the latter, but the greater part of it arose out of the need to give voice to how isolated and lonely I feel at times.  This is an integral part of my journey and it felt important to share my occasional darkness as well - for me art journalling has to be HONEST, and document both the light and the dark.

Thankfully the lights have come back on but I am in sore need of a long lie down .....

Sunday, 19 April 2015

WINGS ....

 


OK, so how to explain this one because I'm not sure I can??  Well it began as below with just random circles of pink and lilac shades scribbled on the page with my Neocolour II crayons - I took the picture before I'd hit all of them with my damp/wet paintbrush so you can see the before and after. To begin with it looks like a scribble a child might make, but under the influence of water it just blooms and the colour is "set free" ....
I had no particular sense of direction here so just began to play, adding random bits of collage - this moon face, some wings (from a stamp I have) and stripey legs.
Then stuff started to happen and before I knew it I'd gone and finished without taking any more pictures!  Ooops.  Anyway, I was cutting up a childrens' book from the charity shop and thinking how these grey shapes looked like rocks on the seashore and one thing led to another.  As you can see I've outlined them quite strongly and done all kinds of other pen work - most notably using dots as shading.  I even found some collage shapes that, with a bit of pen work, reminded me of mussels on the rocks.
The lady got drawn on arms, feet and hair, and it was only at this point that I sat down and wrote in the empty space .... and this is what came out!  I surprise myself sometimes I really do, but I love that part of the process of art journalling - just going with it and seeing what emerges.

Now please don't ask me why this poor woman is "on the rocks" so to speak, because I have absolutely no idea!  She actually looks happy enough to be there - wait, maybe she's broken through all the rocks that were in her way and thrown them out to the sides so that she can be free?  I guess you can make up your own mind about that!!

Hope the Spring is arriving where you are - here there are green shoots and buds everywhere, and that wonderful intense lime green of very new leaves.  Lovely :)

Saturday, 11 April 2015

JOURNEY AMONG STARS ....

 
When I started this page I'd been reading a passage about an individual's moment of epiphany (meaning arrival) and thinking that I knew exactly the feelings they were describing because I'd shared them.  So that's what it came to be about ....

It began as swirls of blue and turquoise, with a little bit of collage - the piece in the bottom left corner was actually a huge picture of an eye that I found rather beautiful.
I was busily adding more bits and pieces (and some spiky doodling) when I came across a fragment of wrapping paper with these stars on.  They added a lot to the page, and also to my train of thought.
And that allowed me to get down in words the feelings swirling through my head.  Such moments of illumination are rare in my life - but they turn up occasionally as unexpected gifts, which are all the more precious for being infrequent.  After a few months I can't normally remember the content of such a brief insight, but what I do keep with me are the feelings that went with it, of suddenly seeing how everything came together exactly as it was meant to, and being utterly at peace.
And that was all there was to say - just a reminder to myself whenever I look back through the journal, how very precious those unlooked for moments are.  Yet they aren't something to be grabbed, pinned down under a microscope and examined, rather they are rare shafts of sunlight that keep you going through what can often feel like quite a lot of grey fog ...

So then, having nothing more to say, I just went mad with the stars in the remaining space - the biggest one is a clear stamp . Quite a simple page, but it pleases me because it celebrates something special which, while indescribable, nonetheless remains in my memory as a shaft of illumination and understanding, even if only for the briefest moment.  :)

Monday, 6 April 2015

EMBRACING CHANGE ....

 

This is one of those pages I'm really pleased with - difficult to explain exactly why, but I like the shapes and the colours and I'm satisfied with it in some way which is difficult to quantify, but has something to do with having got down on paper what I wanted to say .....

Anyway, it began with paint - just bog-standard acrylic paint, and I then deepened the colour at the edge with a strong pink neocolour II crayon.  I added a piece of patterned paper for no other reason than that the pink and orange look nice together.
And having introduced the orange I went on to add more - from an assortment of collage pieces copied from previous journal pages.  The Modigliani lady just seemed to belong there - almost every page seems to need something HUMAN, whether its a figure or a pair of eyes, just something.
You may notice the grey shadow I added between the above and below pictures - I used a grey Promarker, and it always amazes me how much difference it makes!  I didn't know that I was going to write this until I did - but then again its not very surprising since this is what is most on my mind at present.  Health issues (mine) have led us to the decision to retire early, and while I'm sad to be leaving where we are, I'm also a bit excited about the future and time to be together .... and I WANT to be allowed to look forward to it.
So having said what I wanted/needed to get out of my subconscious, I did the my usual trick of filling in the remaining gaps with this and that - I often use dots as shadows/shading and this time I used the grey Promarker again, and like the subtle effect it has given compared to using black.  The flowers are just doodles to fill up the space.
So there I am - caught between a life that I've loved but can no longer sustain, and a new life of freedom from responsibilities if relative penury!  Fortunately I LIKE beans - we may well have to eat a lot of them for a while - and am happy to get my clothes from charity/thrift shops.  I have a secret slush fund saved up for craft supplies - I definitely can't do without those!!

Sunday, 29 March 2015

NOW I SEE .....

I think these are my all-time favourite colours - there's just something about blue and green (especially lime green) that works brilliantly.  Anyway, I like them a LOT so that was probably why I reached for these colours from my big set of (84) Neocolour crayons.


This is how I do a lot of my backgrounds - just scribble away in circles, and the results can be really interesting.
Didn't know where this was going so I just began to doodle on the top and add a few simple bits of collage - not pictures in this case so much as segments of colour.  By this time the words "now I see" were running around my brain, so I added the eye.  It wasn't originally green but Promarkers work really well over photographic images like this, so you can re-colour something to fit with what you're doing.
And then I just wrote my words in the spaces between - not a complicated or "clever" page but its relative simplicity of message and method pleases me.  I guess you will be able to tell that I was in a calm place when I made this, one of those (fleeting) moments when everything makes sense and you see how you are part of the pattern.  It never lasts but its nice while it does.
Sorry this is quite a short post - I'm tired today, especially after this morning's Palm Sunday service! We had a donkey in church who was very sweet and so well behaved, he was a pleasure to have around. We'd planned a procession of witness but it was and still is lashing with rain ..... one of those legendary April showers arriving early!!

Saturday, 21 March 2015

I MUST BE MAD ....

 


I was DEFINITELY talking to myself here!  It's often said that this is the first sign of madness, but does it count if you're writing it down rather than muttering in the corner??

It started really simply - 3 or so colours of paint just slapped down any old how.  Backgrounds don't have to be clever or complicated!  After all you're going to write and collage on top.
So then I added some bits from my stash of collage materials, mainly copied from old journal pages. I cut out a circle from a plain section so I could write on it, and the purple curve on the left was put down for the same purpose.  As soon as it was stuck down I disliked the right hand section, so I just painted over it.

You can tell exactly what I was thinking from the very first things I wrote down.  ... I have this thing going on in my head that I'm not a worthwhile person unless I produce something every day - its kind of justification for my existence, because otherwise I often feel like a taker rather than a giver.
So more writing and reflection followed, as you can see below - and of course that crazy looking lady in the middle is meant to represent me.  I simply had to remind myself of all this because these ideas seem to have a pernicious hold on my mind, so much so that if I take time out to rest or simply don't achieve anything much with a day ... then somehow I'm not trying hard enough, I'm not USEFUL, I'm not FOR anything.  I know, completely MAD.
At this stage it sort of needed something but once I added the red it began to work as I'd hoped, and then I could just go for it with the doodly dots.  The branches are kind of about making connections in my brain with what is good and I know to be true, in order to overcome the negative ideas which creep in there when I feel vulnerable.  I guess a lot of people out there know all about the voice that whispers "you're a waste of space, you don't DO anything, you contribute nothing".
So if those voices are in your brain too, don't believe them, and fight back with everything you have because its NOT true.  My conscious brain absolutely doesn't believe those whispers, for myself or for others, and I'm not mad its just hard sometimes to be one of those people who "only stand and wait".  Because I don't work and can hardly do anything in terms of housework, it can be hard to find ways to do what I've always longed for - which is contribute something to society and make a difference to my fellow human beings.  This blog  is part of that effort ....

Sunday, 15 March 2015

THIS IS WHO I AM

 


This page is an exploration of pain really - someone who used to be a very close friend and very special to me doesn't really seem to have time for me any more.  I know its hard that she has to come to me because I can't drive now, and getting on the bus is too much for me, but I thought there were still lots of way for us to connect.  It seems I may have been wrong, at least for her, and this was me working out my feelings of sadness and some anger about a friendship that seems to be ending because I can't do things any more.

The vivid colours I chose may have had more to do with anger and disappointment,than anything else, but are also to do with strongly asserting that I am still ME, and I thought I was valued for that and not for the things I could DO?  I took this picture to show how Neocolour II crayons look before and after you put water on them - just a slightly wet paintbrush.  It looks like wax crayon scribbles and then dissolves into intense colours - alchemy!
And then with the colour blocks laid down I began the infinitely enjoyable process of adding doodly details - initially in the corners.  These are done with Posca paint pens, which are opaque over pretty much any background.
Then I began to add bits of collage - most of these are from colour copies of old journal pages, cut out with a circle punch.  The Modigliani lady is sort of meant to be me, although I am thinner in my imagination than in reality!
And then below you can see how the things on my heart were poured out onto the page .... so that I moved from feeling angry and let down to a deep sadness at what what is being lost.  However she has the right to choose that this isn't right for her any more, and I must have the grace to let go.  In time I may come to celebrate the good times we've had, but right now I haven't got to that place.
And as always getting it out robs the issue of most of its power to cause pain and hurt, and seeing it set out on the page you can begin the process of letting go.  So then I just had fun with the doodly dots, which is an almost meditative process guaranteed to soothe even the most bruised heart.
It pains me to say that I can't be or do most of what I used to, but the process of losing those things has also been a process of inner growth and strength which I believe (hope) has made me a better person.  And its because of that I can let go of something which may simply have had its time.  Well, that's a work in progress for now.

Friday, 6 March 2015

SECRETS ...

Sorry about these pictures, which I can see now are a little bit dark.  I think this page was made back in January when it was somewhat dull and gloomy - whereas today the sky is blue, the weather is mild, the washing is on the line (!), and its almost warm enough to go out without a coat.

This began as a painted yellow background, onto which I added collage elements - for no special reason except that they rather took my fancy.  I believe the posh description for this is "tuning into the vibe"? Anyway, no very deep thought went into it, just instinct.  Some of the collage elements are colour copies of old journal pages, but others are images and shapes culled from magazines.
I finished adding collage elements to make a frame around the page, outlined the sections in black, and then used a grey Promarker to make a "shadow" around the edges.  Surprising what a difference this makes isn't it, so much so that I nearly always do it now though you may never notice unless its pointed out?
I do sometimes make pages like this, framing a big blank space to come back to later ... at which point I added the doll face, the writing and the doodly drawings.  Now and again I do a page like that and it never does get written on - which doesn't bother me at all.
You can also see here, if you compare with the previous picture, how I often doodle on top of a collage section.  In a way I feel this takes the piece from something cut out of a magazine to being "mine" if that makes sense!

Although this, like many of my journal pages, was entirely unplanned, it always amazes me how things come together and how I later see connections that seem to be entirely "right".  Maybe thats my subconscious at work .. but you can have your own theory about it!

Hope the Spring has sprung in your particular corner of the world - I'm enjoying early daffodils and crocuses, and we are quite northerly so it comes late to us here.  I would like to cast off a few layers of clothing and dive right into the Spring.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

REASONABLE ...?

 


When I am short of inspiration I often make backgrounds in my journal, ready for writing on when the moment comes, and this was one of those.

As you can see below I painted the page with lime green (just ordinary craft acrylic paint) and then began to add bits of blue collage.  I really LOVE blue and green together, and lime green best of all. Sadly, my family do not share my love of vivid lime green.
So above you can see what I had when I sat down to work on this.  I used a Posca paint pen to add a grey shadow around the collage elements, but the grey was too dark so it didn't work very well.  I added the face because I liked her grumpy expression - its a sort of "don't mess with me face" isn't it?
Now that's obviously what I was feeling because very soon after I knew what I wanted to say ...  I added a drawn border along the collage edges which helped to disguise the unsuccessful grey outline, and used stamps to get a bit of background texture.
Then I wrote what I needed to say - it seems I REALLY needed to get this off my chest!  A calling such as mine obliges me to be nice, kind and reasonable pretty much all of the time, and try to see both sides etc etc.  Sometimes that's incredibly hard, especially when I have strong opinions in the other direction, or when someone is spreading nasty gossip I don't want to listen to.
But of course I continue to be as nice and reasonable as possible, then I come home and get it all off my chest.  Lots of dots and details as usual here, which as you know by now is almost my favourite part of the process.  I think my actual favourite is when I begin to lay down random bits of collage which then kind of come alive  under my hands.  Magic!