Wednesday, May 29, 2013

  In the past year my work has changed in a few ways. I am using more drawing, handlettering and painting. Last summer I experimented with painting around words and letters and I liked the look so much I have continued the experiment. The notebooks I paint in are Art Design and about 25 pages, the paper is textured on one side which changes the balance when doing a double page spread. I’ve used both Golden and Liquitex acrylics and various cheapie craft acrylics. While Golden is pretty luscious to dip into, I really prefer the cheapies.  The craft paints are easy to get a very thin layer with and you can work over it. 

I used to gesso over pages of printed books as a base for collage. Gesso has that gritty tooth that works so well as a base for paint, but is difficult to write over. Now I use an antique white craft paint and you can write on it with any pen, ballpoint or any other kind. It can be brushed on, smooshed on with foam or sponge, or spread with a used gift card. Gift cards are a useful tool. You can use them as they come or cut them in half at an angle to scrape with or even notch them to create patterns.

The photo is of one of my Envelope Journals.  The pages are simply opened business envelopes.  After layers of other papers, paints, and a heavy adhesive like Yes! they become thick and stiff.  They are bound with a metal spiral using a zutter bind-it-all.  In this particular volume I recut the pages and used gaffers tape on the bound edge for extra strength. 

One of the ways I prefer to work is to use something repeatedly such as a symbol written with a marker or pastel, a rubber stamp image, tape, or whatever else catches my fancy.  I will do it on each and every page, go back to the beginning and go through with something else.  I use anything and everything in my books such as rub-ons, labels from canned goods, wine, ale and liquor bottles, stickers pulled off of boxes, new stickers, fancy printed paper napkins or tissues, used tissue paper, wrapping paper, tickets, postage stamps, clothing tags, pictures cut from magazines and newspapers, store bags, old book pages, candy wrappers, band posters from telephone poles, postcards, and so on. 

One day my husband and I had lunch at a brew pub on Portland's east side, after which we walked up the street and I checked the poles for "art materials".  I was slow and he was about half a block ahead of me when an older man in a beat up car pulled over and asked me what I was doing.  Before I said anything, he said, "Hop in!"  I'd had a couple of pints and in my most gracious way, said "No thank you!"  My husband stuck closer after that.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thinking Way Back, Waaaay Back

I've been thinking about early inspiration.  The earliest memory was the summer after Kindergarten.  At the end of year I brought home the booklets containing my work and Weekly Readers.  I worked over the worksheets several times.  The booklets themselves were folded sheets of construction paper that became the cover and staples down the margin kept everything in.  I used my mother's pinking shears to cut squares of newspaper which I pasted down.

In the first grade, there were several students who attended speech class.  They came back from sessions with composition books that had work sheets, such as a large snake making an S glued in.  It intruiged me.

Next was likely after Christmas in 1961.  I took some used gold foil giftwrap and some used sheets of paper and my sister's Tot 50 stapler to create a workbook. 

After that was the creation of a teachers grade book which I made out of scrap paper.  I was fascinated by that mysterious book that teachers had with the big paperclips holding in absence notes that were in various states of crumple.  I played school a lot as a child. 

In junior high I was into minatures.  Like dollhouse things.  I would take the top of a  zip out page notebook that was used up and cut it into small books.  I also made a few from scratch.  The tinier the better.

My imagination has always been more creative than imaginary.  I can think of things to do and make and alter other ideas readily.  I always wished I was better at imagination.  Not the thinking up things, I am very good at that, but pretending.  I always needed someone else to pretend with.  I could never do it alone.  My daughters were good at it, they had imaginary friends.  I'm still envious of that ability which is why I made up Ianto. 

These days I am working on grunge books.  I still love the rustle and crunch of "abused" paper.  I've been taking printer sample books and soaking them out doors in rainwater with coffee, ink, dye and whatever strikes my fancy.  I am now in the process of drying them out.  It is so much fun to see how each and every page turns out.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Artful Dodging

Inner Landscape

My inner landscape has just been altered.  Not so much by what is in it, although new discoveries have been made; but it has taken on new form, an inclusive form.  The mythology has been introduced to the alchemy as the inhabitants have risen to take my hand and introduce themselves.  Morag, the wise woman lives there as do various and sundry trolls and pixies.  Archetypes are evolving.  Dreams are become more tangible.  The entire world of it existing peacefully as a country on this bereft and be globe.  I may be the only inhabitant to see it fully, but that does not make it less so. 

Just as ones opinions of the reality we live in give it a certain slant and shade, this is just as real.  I was happy to meet some of the inhabitants this past week and look forward to meeting more.  This is what I have always longed to do, but allowed myself to get too tied up in someone else's norms to dare step out.

It began simply enough in the weeklong workshop I took at Hollyhock with Nick Bantock called The Artful Dodger this June, 2011.  We worked on art projects and writing projects.  And they all generated our own new countries.  Meeting the other participants still makes me wonder how we all arrived at the same space and time.  Were we all seeking to create the same sort of thing? 

Prior to embarking on this journey, I searched the net to find what others who had done this before were now producing.  And the results were not encouraging.  I did not see anything that excited me at all.

And now, having come home and studying what I did produce, I do not think anyone looking at my work would really equate it with any of his.  The backgrounds are the only real connection.  I do not render well, and while I now have a bit more encouragement to work on that, it is not what I really am inspired to do.  What I am inspired to do is to continue on the inner journey and explore the new territory.  I have new insight into how to explore symbolism.  And a new relationship with color.  And a better way to write and watch it unfold.  That alone would be worth the time, energy and money spent, but added to that was a great deal of affirmation into the synchronicities, the alchemy, the entire inner realm.  And the outer realm as well, not neglecting the body or senses. 

What a grand trip it was.  Let us begin.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thought Rhyme and Dreaming Awake

Thought Rhyme is a type of poetry, like the Psalms of the Old Testament where the first line and the second line are different but echo each other, its pattern is ababab...  I find that it is an important element of what I love to do on a page.  I mentioned in  a much earlier post how I like to find patterns in paired photographs.  A great deal of it is unconscious.  When I gather collage elements together, there is often something going on in the choices.  When I glue it all down at first it looks disjointed as though there is no common thread, but the more time I spend with it, the more the images start binding together.  It's like a dream where the elements seem to have nothing in common, but when you analyze it, it starts to fall into place to create what is going on inside that we tend to ignore during our conscious life. 

Sometimes I will get out my dream book and analyze my page as though it is a dream.  They do a similar job.  It really makes or breaks an art journal.  The photographic term 'depth of field' comes to mind.  What is in sharp focus, what is in soft focus in your page. 

Conversely, you may use a technique that just fills the background.  But is that really all it does?  What goes on in your mind when you do it?  Is it a quick and messy process that just moves you forward?  Or is it slow and meditative and you are a thousand miles away while you create it?  I find that very restful and rejuvenating.  A background of tiny lines may seem to be just filler, but when you look at that page again you will remember in some way, the density of thought that created it. 

I've been recently painting pages for backgrounds.  And sometimes it turns into a page on its own.  I am no painter, but the joy it brings me is just marvelous.  And that is why I have been able to grow and keep working in my journals for so many years, the joy is intoxicating and I am always ready to drink deeply of it again. 

Some of the other processes that fill me up are cutting magazine photos out.  Not just severing them from the page, but cutting a photo out to ready it for use.  Some I like to cut the image out in its own shape, like a flower, or a bird or a dancer.  If there is movement in the photo, such as a dancer, then cutting away the background will add that movement to my page. 

Whatever you are doing, whatever your style, you bring a depth to the page that no one else will ever fully realize.  Your pages are a gift to yourself.  Do not worry that your work isn't like some other artitst's, it is yours, and you really need to express yourself.  That is the difference between art and craft.  You might feel uncomfortable with your handwriting sloping up or down the page, or not being readable.  Maybe it shouldn't be readable by everyone.  Maybe you should develop a code in your script that isn't readable.  How mysterious that would be.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Solitude and a Room of One's Own

Who knew better than Virginia?  Personal space is so very important.  We will be moving shortly into a house of our own, within which I will have a room of my own.  I've always had a room to work in, but it has always been shared with storage and extra furniture, our library, and so forth because always in the past our home has been too small.  In my past life I had a larger house which I called the library, I didn't feel any need for art space then.  But everyone else in the house would clean the living room by dumping the excess into my room. 

Currently, in my new life, our two bedroom condo/townhouse/duplex/apartment has very little room and very little storage.  My wingspan is far too wide for this and I look forward to moving into the house we are purchasing.  The room you see in the photo above is to be my art room.  It has everything I could dream of, a large walk-in closet, a window seat, some built in shelves and space for tables and chairs and whatever else I need. 

My current "room of shame" has had every possible enhancement to help straighten it out, and the perimeter of it is quite nicely organized, but the remaining 7X7 space is a veritable sea of crap.  Boxes of collageables, paper cutter, unshelved books and magazines, art supplies and more art supplies.  In order to find one thing, three more must be moved.  This detritus will fit nicely into the closet of the room pictured above.  It is a dream come true. 

Solitude is quite another thing.  While I have quite an independent streak (noted early on in a report card, "M is sometimes too independent").  I should probably blow that up on a copier and frame it.  But Gryphon and I are very close.  We spend most of our time together.  I thought early on in our relationship that I would feel smothered by that, remembering being a mother of three and sometimes feeling like an anthill.  I remember one time trying to put on my makeup in the bathroom and being joined methodically by every single family member until I blew my cool and ordered them all out.  But I don't feel that way now. 

I still crave solitude, but I do find it here and there and it is wonderful.  Mostly I just crave room enough to move around in.  I have a recurring dream, a house dream, in which at one point I enter a sunny room, empty of furnishings with a golden oak floor and I turn to my young daughters and tell them, "this is the room for dancing". 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Eye Candy

I've been rather taken with the painting "The Nightmare" for quite some time.  And I like to watch every Clive Owen movie and television series available.  So when the above image turned up on the series "Second Sight"  I just about went squirrely trying to find it online, it was my screensaver for quite awhile.  So I am being rather a pixie by posting it.  Everyone (like all 2 or 3 of you) reading my blog has requested more eye candy, so I am going back through my posts and adding it.  Not more photos of Clive Owen, but photos from my journals. 

I've done quite a few journal pages lately.  I've gotten a bit more experimental.  I thought I would lighten things up a bit by doing a pink journal.  Amazing how dark one can get with a bright pink page.  I have an obsession with black and white photos on my pages.  The starkness appeals to me.  It gives me focus on what the image is saying to me.  I like the drama, the contrast.  I use b&w photography magazines for most of the images although lately fashion magazines have been using more of them. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

5 Card Stud

These are images of a set of tarot cards I made for my former muse, prior to Ianto.  There is an
entry earlier in my blog about that.  I enjoyed making these, they are on silver cardstock and there is a common pattern on the backs.  But each grouping of  cards has a different theme of sorts.  The point of them as a gift was encouraging him to stop smoking.