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!

Saturday, 21 February 2015

BECOMING MYSELF ...

 
I thought I'd like to show you that (although I don't usually publish them) I make messes and pages I absolutely hate ALL THE TIME.  Sometimes I even rip them out of the journal, but mostly I cover them up and reinvent them.  Gesso is brilliant for that because it covers nearly everything!

So below you can see how the page originally began - with a blue paint background, over which I was gradually building a face.  I'd just added some lines in the hair with a dark blue Promarker, when I decided I hated what I was doing and wanted to begin again.
So I got out the gesso and painted everything out - except I forgot that the one thing gesso won't cover is the ink in Promarkers, which kept coming through.
So - if you're stuck with something, find a way to live with it, right?  So I began to try and incorporate the blue lines into something much more random, and added some lime green paint and some bits of stencilling.  I still hated it.
So more gesso over all that, and a deeper shade of blue.  A bit dark but I could live with that, and then I found this image of a woman and stuck her in the corner.  
I wasn't keen on the dark background but I loved the red against it, so searched out all sorts of red in my collage fodder and laid that down.  Much better, now I was getting somewhere!
I love the attitude in this woman's face, she looks proud and utterly unapologetic about who and what she is.  So I wrote in the middle "I am myself", and then the rest just followed.  It took me a long time to be able to make this statement (I am the child of a critical mother) and to believe that that is enough, but having got to that place I felt transformed by it and strong.

Lots of dots and other marks then followed, all done with Posca paint pens, which are opaque even over pretty dark colours.  I keep thinking I will work in big bold shapes of colours without all the doodly detail, but every time ....
Anyway, the point of this page is that I AM (finally) myself, though it took a long time to dig through all the layers of expectations laid on me by others and myself.  I am everything I need to be, I am comfortable in my own skin, and I have a valued place in the world.  I only wish I'd got to this place earlier in my life, but now I have boy do I want to celebrate it!  Go Me! :)

Friday, 13 February 2015

CONFUSED .....

 
If you follow my work at all you'll know that I often work with a limited colour palette - if I start off with blue paint, then I tend to pick out blue pieces of collage, and so on.  I just got made that way. However, on this occasion I was trying to break out beyond my usual boundaries .... so I made this background of strong bright/clashing colours.
Then I began to add bits of collage and some strong black lines to mark the page into sections - don't ask me why, I just wanted to!  Nothing was planned at this stage, it generally never is: I just go with my gut and make shapes and draw lines in whatever way feels right.
But, as always, when I began to write things that need to come out bubbled up from the depths - the first words I put down were "I feel confused", tucked away in the corner as if I was ashamed of feeling that way, and the rest seemed to flow from there.

I love the bright colours and bold shapes I've put down here, but also the way there's no structure here, it all seems a bit random - which strongly reflected how I was feeling at a time when nothing was really making sense.
Its always satisfying to get something out of your head and down on paper, and it was particularly so on this occasion.  Things are no clearer than they were but I feel more comfortable with letting it be like that, especially when there's nothing I can do except wait for things to be different.

As you know I always have fun adding all the dots and doodles at the end, though on this occasion I'm wondering if I might have gone a bit over the top?  Whatever, it is what is is, a glorious muddle of confusion and bright spots - a bit like my life really!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

ITS NOT EASY ....

 


This is one of my "talk myself out of a low mood" pages!  I try really hard not to be a Moaning Minnie, always on about my pain or problems.  We all know how it can feel to be on the receiving end of someone who only ever wants to talk about themselves, their health, their latest operation etc so when this journey of chronic illness began I made a private vow that I wouldn't turn into one of those. OK I will also admit that we have one in the family as a horrid example ... which made me all the more determined to work at being half full rather than half empty!

But it was a bit of a blue day so I made this background of blue circles, and you can see the first words I wrote down below.  I often do this - make a background and then just write something, anything down.  It frequently surprises me what pops out that I didn't know was there but which needed to be said and acknowledged in order to deal with it.
So of course, having done that the next question had to be "what isn't"?  What's not easy that you need to give voice to?  Then the rest came naturally.  I began to add yellow to reflect a wish for positive energy rather than the negative blue, and the wings just seemed right: the idea in my head being something to do with wings lifting you up and out of yourself.  I know what I mean!  They're done with a rubber stamp which I printed onto a separate piece of paper and then stuck here.
The face is there representing the face that I, and presumably each of us, presents to the world - which doesn't always reveal what's really going on inside us.  The yellow is a Posca paint pen and, as you can see, these write really well, even over a blue Neocolour II background, although as here certain colours may need more than one application.
Then I got to the fun part - the doodling and the dotting etc, which I find kind of meditative and takes me away somewhere else.  At this point it actually began to remind me of a map of the heavens or something like that?  Like some kind of planet glowing in the firmament?  I also added a bit more yellow collage while I was about it because it seemed to need a frame of some kind.
So I guess this page was about being sunny and yellow, rather than blue, while at the same time admitting to myself that its sometimes a struggle to be that way, and to stay cheerful, and that I literally dare not give in. That way lies madness .... if it were not for God and all that she means in my life.

Monday, 2 February 2015

SIT QUIETLY ....

 



I was a bit fed up when I made this ... you might just possibly be able to tell!?  Life the universe and everything was rather getting to me and I used my journal to deal with it.

So this was me making a blue/green background, because that was the mood I was in - Neocolour II crayons and a strip of collage map. When the background was dry I dripped water onto it and I really like the result that gives.
Then I went hunting through my collage box for greeny/blue colours and cut out a series of scallop shapes.  The blue stars are from some salvaged wrapping paper, and the blue lady is by Picasso when he was still painting real people!  She looks as fed up as I felt.
So then I got out my pens to alter the scallops a bit - I like to change them so that they become "mine" so to speak.  While using a blue paint pen on the top left scallop and it went a bit dry, so I did that thing where you shake the pen and press the nib up and down.  Surprise surprise, the result was a blob of blue paint above the big star.  After cursing horribly for a moment (yes, and me a woman of the cloth) I got out a straw and while it was still wet blew it into a prettier pattern, so's I could pretend it was there on purpose.  Then I just got down on paper my very strong urge to hide from all the people who wanted to talk to me ....
And then I just doodled a bit in the spaces until it felt "done".  I'd seen the black "leaves" somewhere and liked them, so tried them out here; the yellow dots are posca paint pen, which writes brilliantly over just about anything.  All the black work is done with a paint pen too, including the lettering.
Art journalling is SO therapeutic - by the time I'd finished I'd pretty much got over my frustration. Well .... almost!

Monday, 26 January 2015

UGLY .....

 
I actually made this page in response to reports of yet more atrocities perpetuated by the Isis militants, wondering how anyone could seriously believe that God supports and applauds the rape, murder and torture of thousands of innocents.

And then today, this theme felt right for another reason - today the first woman Bishop will be consecrated, which should be a day for rejoicing.  However, in a week's time in our Diocese a man will also be consecrated Bishop who won't allow the Archbishop of York to lay hands upon him because those same hands will have consecrated Libby Lane.  This is the idea of "taint", as in somehow poisoned by laying hands upon a woman.  This man further asks that female incumbents of parishes do not celebrate communion while he is in their church.  Words fail me, or at least they haven't and I have written to my Bishop protesting this appointment in the strongest terms.  You can probably appreciate my point about ugliness, and I cannot understand while these two contradictory appointments seem right to the church's hierarchy?

Anyway, that's enough church politics.  This page began as a painted background, with a collaged pair of shoes and some washi tapes.  The shoes kind of represent the spiritual journey, and the birds on a wire the general "twittering" of many voices.
The rest is more or less purely decorative, put there for no particular reason except that I liked it and it looked right, although the colours might be said to reflect my feelings of anger?  I added more pieces of collage - just shapes and patterns that I happened to like, and which I added to with my paint pens.
The starburst shapes are a stamp, and of course no page of mine would be complete without a gazillion dots as shading ....
Forgive me if I'm using my art blog to rant about my particular concerns (and perhaps prejudices), I don't normally do so but on this occasion it was too much on my mind not to