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.