Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Don't look back ....

I should begin by saying that I don't actually like this page ....it was heading in the right direction but then I spoiled it by over-decorating.  I don't care though because on this occasion its the message to myself that really matters.  Come to think of it, my sermons are a bit the same!

I quite liked it at this early stage - painted background again, you can't say I lack perseverance can you?  I may have mentioned that I'm not a huge fan of paint.  The page is these colours because I was picking them up from this wonderful image which I absolutely LOVE.  The slightly wistful look, the doubt in her eyes, the way she seems to be turning back and asking "is this OK"?  Well that's what it says to me anyway ...
And that's what made me write these words - because I know I have a dreadful tendency to look back and wish that I'd made different decisions, but I also know that's a completely pointless exercise.  What's done is done and can't be changed, but you can learn from both positive and (particularly) negative experiences.  Most of all I refuse to endlessly rehearse what I could or should have done differently.  I will not be defined by the difficulties of my early life, or the fact that it took me so long to develop emotional intelligence - what matters is that I worked at it and got there in the end.
Then this was where it all began to go wrong as I drew wierd splodges - they remind me of lava lamps back in my distant youth, and in the same way these are pointless blobs which (in my eyes at least) add nothing to the page.  The one on the top right even looks like some sort of green octopus!  Where the heck did that come from?
I knew it wasn't right but thought a bit of doodling would fix it.  It didn't.  Hey ho.  I wanted to share both the important message which reminds me to stop wallowing, but also to let you know that just like everybody else I can make horrible pages that I don't like (we all do) but still feel comfortable leaving them in place because they also have their place in the journal. In the same way some of the pages of my life are not ones I'm proud of, they aren't pretty, but like it or not they were and are signposts on the way to something better.
In a funny sort of way this page actually works, because I'm not distracted from the core message by pretty stuff I really like.

Its really important to my journey that I don't allow the past drag me down or hold me back, but to build on both good and bad something better and more beautiful,  always working towards becoming the person I am meant to be....  That'll be a Work In Progress then!

I found this on Pinterest. I think this is what all the rambling above is trying to say .....

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Just for me ....

The other day I was working in my journal and decided I didn't like the page I was working on.  At some level I think I also felt that it wasn't quite "arty" enough ... and then had to laugh at myself for coming up with such a ridiculous notion!  The whole point of the journal for me is the reflection on life, the universe and everything - good, bad, indifferent, puzzling or confusing, or indeed all these things at once!

So I needed to remind myself that anything, and I do mean absolutely anything goes.  You can put one big word in the middle of the page, draw a tree and then write about something completely different, consider the social habits of polar bears, whatever floats your boat.  You can stick pictures down and not draw or write anything unless YOU want to!  The point is that you enjoy and get something from the process, and that the final page kind of speaks to you of the journey you went on in making it.

So I covered up the work I'd done - and I didn't even paint or ink it but "cheated" and used scrapbook paper!  The purists would say that's NOT ALLOWED and isn't arty wouldn't they?  Off with their heads.  Then I stuck some random pictures on top for no better reason than that I liked them - which is good enough for me.
The red welly is just fun, and I'd rather like to live near the sea one day.  The stamp is one I've had for ages and LOVE, but rarely seem to use, and the teacup is just, well, there.  Then I went even further against the purists, and I didn't even write my words - but typed them on the computer and cut them out in strips.  Its a technique I use a lot in my scrapbooks, and it looks good here too - don't you just love old typewriter fonts?  I do but couldn't exactly explain why.
And when I'd done all that I wrote some little bits and drew a few doodles, just because I wanted to and not because I thought I should!   I like this page, its different, its fun, and it reminds me to loosen up and just go with the flow.

A journal is for YOU, and you need to be able to feel that you can put anything in it.  I make a few very personal pages which I don't publish, so its completely up to you who sees or doesn't see what you do.  If its going to have value to you then you have to be free to do whatever you like with it, and if you aren't enjoying that process why are you doing it??

I will climb down off my soapbox now and continue work on the covers of my next journal - this one is filling up nicely.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Fear and Loathing ...?

Great title innit?  This page came about when I found these words in my box of media clippings, and just knew I had to use it.  I should  probably issue a Health Warning at this point that if your politics are not broadly central to left, you are unlikely to enjoy what follows and should turn away now. 

I'd already made a nice purple background and even used a few stencils - another thing I struggle to love, maybe because I prefer drawing/doodling.  Anyway, having met my personal challenge to constantly try to work outside my comfort zone, I felt free to do whatever I liked with the rest of the page.....
And what came POURING out were my feelings about the unkindness of the present coalition government and its policy of protecting the rich and penalising the poor.  Got some things off my chest here, particularly concerning the so-called skivers and shirkers ... I loathe how we are increasingly hearing the language of the Workhouse, and the re-emergence of the horrible idea that people are only poor because they are shiftless and lazy.  Heck, don't get me started, I'm afraid this is going to turn into something of a rant.  You have been warned.
The Christian faith I live by has (or should have) an inbuilt "bias to the poor", and it is a given that you help those in need without judgement or precondition.  Whether we're people of faith or not, its been said that the measure of a civilised society is how it treats its most vulnerable members ..... well I rest my case on that one.
So the purple page led to some purple prose on this occasion, which gave me a chance to air some of my despair at the things being said and the policies being enacted.  I'd like to send the Cabinet to spend a day down at our local Food Bank (run by the Salvation Army) which our church supports.  I'd like to say to those who bang on about welfare rates being too high, or how they aren't going to support the feckless through their taxes .... hang on a minute, I live on welfare!  I don't have a choice because I've been disabled by a chronic condition.  Before that I worked and paid into the system for many years, and at quite a high rate.  Now I am unable to work but still do the best I can to continue to make a difference in society, and I'm not getting anything for free or that I'm not entitled to.  Its not YOUR taxes that pay my benefit, but mine, the ones I already paid, the insurance scheme I contributed to all my working life.  Remember too that things don't always go the way we hope, and redundancy or foreclosure can happen to you too, so think hard before you consent to welfare being cut or programmes dismantled.

OK, I will crawl back into my box now and mutter quietly to myself.  I might recommend you leave me there until I recover my normally sunny and optimistic temperament.  It may take some time.  I leave you with one thought - which is that its been calculated that the average person is 3 pay packets away from total meltdown.  That is, once they'd missed those three they'd be seriously struggling - unable to pay their rent or mortgage, their bills, and what about those credit card debts?  Don't JUDGE people on welfare - most of them are just like you, going through a bad patch.  Keep paying your taxes and pray like hell that when/if you ever need support it will still be there to help you through.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013


When I was a child, if someone called you a "dreamer" it wasn't a compliment!  It meant a failure to concentrate, to be fully present, or something like that.  Now I think that the world would be an infinitely poorer place if there were no dreamers ... and that's what this page is about.  At least I think it is, I'm never sure these days!  If it says something else to you that's fine, and part of the magic.
It began with me making blobby shapes on the page with my Caran D'Ache neocolour crayons - my favourite art material.  As you know, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with paint.  As ever I was challenging myself to push the boundaries of how I usually work, so hence a slightly off the wall colour combination ....
When I look at the basic page above, I STILL don't like it, and am mildly surprised that it didn't end up as one of those (admittedly few) that I eventually hate so much I tear them out.  But I didn't, and the urge to write on it came instead.
This was another of those times when the thought seemed to come out of nowhere, but the more I reflected on it the more important it seemed.  I know now that it is undoubtedly a message I was meant to receive (I know where from but you can make your own mind up about that).  I'd been thinking a lot about the necessity of laying down some of my long-time dreams and admitting that they were things which just weren't ever going to happen.  For example, in my teens I'd wanted desperately to go to art school, but my mother poured scorn on the very idea and sent me to learn shorthand typing instead.  Yeah right.  Not long ago my darling man said - well if you still want to, why don't you just GO? 

I thought about it, very hard indeed, but realised two things.  One was that I could no longer physically manage the demands of doing such a course, and so couldn't get the best out of it.  The second was the realisation that I genuinely didn't need to - not that I don't have much to learn, because I do, but perhaps I already am the artist I was meant to become?  That was SO liberating, and allowed me to let go of the anger I'd nursed for too long about my youthful dreams being so carelessly squashed. 
So this is the finished page - quite a simple one for me, and the doodling very restrained!  The other thing I learned from this exercise was that when you let go of old dreams which are no longer relevant to the person you now are, it makes a space for new ones to come in .....  I wish I'd understood that earlier in my life, but in some areas I'm a slow learned!

I still don't like these colours, or the blobby shapes, very much, but the beauty of art journalling is in how it is able to release things that need to be expressed or let go of, so this page is precious to me - not because it is beautiful, but because of what doing it released and enabled within me.

We had a fabulous holiday in New England, but its rather nice to be home again ....