Between all the problems around the world recently, and the news that Tony needs major surgery in the new year, I’m a bit unsettled. The best thing I can do is pour my heart out into my art journals. For these pages I’ve used StencilGirl stencils, Dylusions paints, Ranger tags and Fudeball pen.
I’ve spent the weekend finishing off the multi-step Christmas card pile, and had a few blanks left over. Rather than tuck them away unused, I decided to make a couple of general cards using a favorite StencilGirl stencil by Jessica Sporn and some leftover Gelli prints. The stamping is done with Dina Wakley paint, which has a lovely matt finish.
Once or twice a year I buy the card making kit of the month from SimonSaysStamp – they’re great fun and great value. Mind you, I normally save up my craft money and buy one or two things I can’t get here at the same time, to make the most of the postage. This time it was two Wink of Stella pens, which I have been wanting for years, and a couple of the new Tim Holtz distress colours.
Yesterday I sat down with the kit and had a play. I love the “hello” die and the journal cards are quick to use; the foil accents look great. The double sided papers are softer colours than I tend to use, but I love the finished results. Here are the cards I made yesterday (and yes, there is something grubby on my scanner, hence the occasional stray mark!)
I’ve got a totally mad project underway using my new Tim Holtz Crazy Birds stamp and die set. I’m making 80 or so of these little guys. It’s a lot of work but they’re huge fun to do. Basically you stamp the bird and colour it in, then die cut it. Stamp the bird again, and die cut the eyes, beak and wings. Attach the eyes, colour the beak and wings and attach them too. I’ve coloured them using Distress Stain and Distress Ink, because I love the bright translucent colours.
There’s a lot happening at the moment around Tony’s health, and it’s a time of considerable change for us. I’m not posting the details yet, for family reasons. One of the things that helps me rebalance myself and manage the feelings is my art journals. I pour the words out, often unreadable, and it helps me think things through. When things are tough there’s often a theme comes through and that’s the case at the moment. Two themes are strong; the first is change, and the second is the comfort I find in the Tao te Ching (thanks Dr Wayne Dyer).
I have been dreaming a lot lately; usually a sign my mind is very busy, which would be a fair comment. I’ve started a new series of paintings, after going back through old material form my years at The Learning Connexion and doing some fresh research into the artists we studied and whose work spoke to me. I re-read some comments from my tutor, Peter Adsett, and thought about how they apply to my work now.
Once I started painting I found I’d gone right back to being fascinated by the edges of the canvas, and that my memories of the old Patea Freezing Works buildings – which I have painted before – have reappeared. I think those shapes are strongly ingrained in my mind, and appear in my dreams and when I am painting without thinking too hard about it. The first one hardly referenced the buildings, but the shapes get stronger as my hand keeps working.
Here are the three works I have done so far – one may need warming up a bit yet, but I am watching it for a day or two. The white is not as stark as it appears, I kept getting glare on fresh paint from the lower afternoon sun.
I’d been thinking about the sea, playing with collage,and remembered some work I’d seen in a Somerset Studio magazine years ago that combined the two so had a play. It was fun for in my art journal but this is not a good direction for me. It’s doesn’t feel natural (even in a stumbling beginner way) and would not hold my attention for long enough to make a series. I’m glad I tried it though, especially on Father’s Day. Dad was in the Navy, a champion swimmer, and loved fishing in the sea. So, this one’s for you Dad.
The quote is from the poem “Sea Fever” by John Masefield:
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way, where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
From time to time I test out new directions, usually after being inspired by reading about and watching other people’s work. I love watching other artists on YouTube and letting that inspiration feed my work. I don’t want to copy their work and, even if I did, I am a hopeless copyist. What I do as an artist is what I do! Sometimes Tony will see a work and ask if I could do something similar. The answer’s always no. My hands and brain are wired to create in a certain way, so when I watch a lot of someone I can see their influence in my new work, but it always ends up looking like mine…
Recently I have been reading about Flora Bowley, and my dear friend artist Martha Marshall put me onto Jane Davies. Here are to test pieces; I am sure you can see the influence of their style. I’ll be doing more pieces in my art journal until the new way of working becomes part of what I do and feels integrated into my art practice. I’d love to know what you think of these directions.
I’ve been able to do an art card a day most days this last week, it feels so good! I still have to be careful, but am happy to take the win. These use Stencil Gil stencils, Copic markers and various pens, Ranger Glossy Accents, ephemera, Diamond Glaze, Golden paints, old maps, newspaper words, gesso, Golden Garnet gel medium.
My shoulder and wrist are still quite sore if I do too much (please, never ever drink and drive – your careless actions could change someone else’s life forever), but I *needed* some art time. I grabbed some gelli print tissue paper, the June Stencil Girl stencils, a green Posca pen – which shows as white in the scan, and a fine black pen and got to work. The quotes in the circles through the centre are from Wishes Fulfilled by Dr Wayne W Dyer. I’ve been a fan of is writing for many years, and have been listening to this on audio as I drive to and from work each day.