Recording the hard stuff

I was talking with someone on a FB group page and they commented that you can’t journal the hard stuff because others might read it. It means you can’t share the page, so others don’t get to be inspired by your art.

I disagree; I’ve always journaled the good, bad and ugly in my scrapbooks and art journals. As an ex scrapbooking teacher, I’ve always shared my art in person and online.

Sometimes I write it all out so it’s legible and figure, if I share the hard or ugly stuff, I might help others get through and be able to tell their stories. We can all help create safe places for others to share their experiences, especially around addiction, mental health and abuse / domestic violence. I’ve never felt my life has to look perfect in order to share online.

But, even for me, there are things I don’t want the world reading about. Sometimes it is just too raw, other times it’s because it would compromise another person in some way. Often it’s about my food addiction, addictive personality, Tony’s health or my relationship with others who support me (or have similar issues) that I’m wanting to talk about.

When I want to record things but don’t want it to be legible, I use “scribble writing” so I get it all out of my head, but no one can read it. I usually start in the middle of the pages then work up and down, so the lines aren’t consecutive, and make sure the writing is loopy and overlaps. If’ you’re a scrapbooker or art journaler I’d encouarge you to record it all, it’s very healing.

For the record, this page is about some of the head struggles I’ve had this week, more than 2 years post weight loss surgery, what I’m doing about it, and the support I get from people.

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As 2018 ends

It’s time for me to look back at my year. At the end of 2017 I said I don’t have major goals for 2018, in many way it’s just more of the same, but perhaps a bit more refined. So, my aims are:

  1. Painting more
  2. Doing art/craft regularly
  3. Stay at goal weight while eating a little more normally
  4. Drinking 1200 mls a day, every day
  5. Walking 4,000 steps minimum, every day
  6. Connecting with people who feed my soul, through snail mail and Twitter
  7. Making sure I am a positive influence in the world

I have painted more, I even did a joint exhibition with Dimmie Danielewski and hope we can keep working together. I’ve also done very regular crafting, including ding all the ColourMePositive weekly challenges.

I’m walking more than 4,000 steps every day (sometimes 6,500 steps, which is a lot for me), drinking 1200 mls, and eating fairly normally. I got a bit too thin, down to 60kg and looked scrawny. In trying to fix that I’ve tipped the other way, sitting at 69kg, and working my way back down again. I think 65kg is about right. It’s tricky learning how to keep that balance! I haven’t been in hospital at all this year and, although I still have some health issues, I’m so much healthier than I was at 139kg.

Tony and I have been together almost 27 years. His health issues cause some difficulties but we manage ok. We’re fortunate compared to many, and lucky to have each other. One of the things we know is when you’re in pain, and limited in what you can do, companionship matters so much. 

I’ve connected with amazing people, both online and in person. A real highlight of the year was my trip to the West Coast to meet Penny Kirk, a fellow WLS success and art journaller, who works in community development – so we even share similar social concerns. We talked honesty about our lives and how we ended up so overweight, did art together and ate a fab brunch at a local pub. I stayed with Alan Fowlie, an old family friend, and did the tourist walk at Hokitika Gorge. The shapes of the river beds, and the colours of the water in the gorge, have made a strong impression on me and I’ve been doing a lot of art since then, trying to capture what is in my head.

Work has been great – I’m proud of my team, and enjoy my workplace. Of course there have been challenges but without them it would all get a bit boring. I love that we make a difference in people’s lives. Some changes in the structure at work as 2018 ended mean there are some additional challenges for 2019 – bring it on!

I’ve been doing the Papa Reo course through the Wananga this year. It’s not the first time I’ve tried to learn Te Reo and it’s hard going for me but I’m finally making progress. I won’t go on to do the next level, but at least can meet, greet and do the basics now.

Do I have any goals for 2019? Nothing concrete just to continue being happy, creative, and connected with people who matter to me, while trying to make a difference in the world. The words that spring to mind for me are kindness, authenticity, diversity and creativity – not bad goals for any of us I guess…

 

The art in my head

In November I spent a few days in Greymouth and Hokitika, and visited Hokitika Gorge. The shapes and colours have invaded my mind & are appearing in my art.

When I did my final (4th) year at The Learning Connection a few strong marks emerged, including a sort of curved power pole with a cross beam, normally in cream. (I can’t find an image of these works anywhere)

I’m finding those marks have reappeared in a new form – this time as a cross with some tiny hatchmarks near it, a cross and some hatchmarks inside a circle, and a curved pair of parallel lines with a cross beam. The circle / oval are featuring too, and are fairly new to me in terms of consistent use.

I’ve shown below some works from 2008, and some of the new works I’ve been doing, which are gelli prints as a base with mark making in subsequent layers. Looking at these, the connection between the 2008 marks, and today’s marks, isn’t as obvious as I thought it would be … 

(in other news, I think my scanner glass needs a good clean)

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One Little Word for 2019

Every year I join #olw – One Little Word with Ali Edwards. This year my word was ENOUGH. You can read about it here. As always happens, the word turned out to have more connections and meanings for me than I could have imagined. I ended up in counselling, getting to the heart of some issues, working towards a point where my heart – not just my head – knows I am enough. I’m a work in progress.

I’ve put quite a lot of time into choosing my One Little Word for 2019 and tested four out by writing down what they would mean to me. Aware and connection were pretty good but, in the end, DEEP was a clear winner. As we get into 2019 I know, from previous years, more connections will become clear, but for now DEEP resonates for me because:

  • I want to understand myself at a deep level
  • I am prepared to dig deep emotionally
  • I seek friendships that connect at a deep level
  • I aim for a deep understanding of key issues at work
  • I aim for a deep understanding of national issues that are aligned with my interests
  • I am prepared to dig deep to get fitter, even when it hurts
  • I am willing to dig deep to reach my goals

Normally I make an index card piece of art and put it in my office at work This year I’ve gone for a square format and made two, one for at work, and one for my home office, to keep me even more focussed on my word and what it means to me.

Collage papers using the Gelli

I’ve spent a couple of hours today making more gelli prints using stencils, masks, stamps and bubble wrap. What do I do with them? I use them for collage, in my art journals, card making and even in finished art works. Some of them will end up with more paint, crayon, pen etc over the top yet.

Doing the arty basics

My sister gave me a lovely set of Golden Open Acrylics – the traditional colours – for my birthday. I love them, and already had the modern set, plus Payne’s Grey, Permanent Dark Violet and Nickel Azo Gold. What I’d never done is a colour chart with them to see what they create. This morning I was awake early so decided to get out my art journal and have a play. It’s always surprising the colours you can make from even very basic mixes, and is a good visual reference to look back at.

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My One Little Word for 2018…

My ‘One Little Word’ for 2018 was ENOUGH. You can read about it here. It’s been a good word for me this year, as I start to reflect on the year that’s been.
One of the things I talked about in the original post was ‘Imposter Syndrome’. We held staff training this week and I talked a bit about imposter syndrome, without naming it – relating to something that happened when I was at Christchurch’s new library recently.

This year I choose to go to counselling to sort a few issues that arose after I got past the 2 years of post-weight loss surgery psychology appointments. I’ve talked about it before, so won’t bore you with the details, but in thinking about this post I’ve realised part of what counselling was about was accepting that I *am* enough. Hmm.

So, was ENOUGH the right word to guide me through this year? Absolutely. There’s something quite magic for me in choosing a word, writing about it, creating it on a postcard sized artwork to have in my office, and letting it guide me. Will I be choosing a word for 2019? Yes. But not just yet, I need to dwell on the possibilities a bit longer…

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Catching up – Hokitika & art

Last weekend I was in Hokitika visiting my friend Penny, seeing Hokitika Gorge and making art. If you want to know more about it, check out my FB page.

I’ve been catching up on my usual art stuff, getting a little more prepared for Christmas, and ‘clearing’ the decks ready for a day of print making inspired by the trip. I want to make some print to sell, not just throw in the drawer like I normally do!

Here’s some of my recent catch-up journalling. A pen I was using bled, I tried to fix it, it got worse – then I got wet paint on the scanner glass and didn’t notice! Oh well…in the end it’s only paper, paint & glue…

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Paint under my nails…

I’ve had an arty sort of day. I’ve worked in my art journals, but also felt inspired to grab a canvas and spread some paint around. Not sure if it’s finished yet, will leave it lying round and see what I think. As usual, there are messages in my art journal pages, which some people will recognise as relating to them…

Last night Tony, Sandra and I went out for dinner then enjoyed the Rocky Horrow Show shadowcast by Flash Mob Taranaki. I haven’t laughed so much in years. “Eddie – drawn, not sketched…”

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