I’ve been doing #BlogJune for a few years now. I used to blog regularly but, as life changed, blogging was replaced by art journaling as a way to get my thoughts out of my head. All the same, I enjoy writing and blogging, and the connection with people that it can bring. It’s about having limited time, so making choices about what to prioritise.
A friend on Twitter mentioned #BlogJune last night and I thought, yes, I’m going to give it a shot. Reestablishing a writing and blogging habit will be good for me. Chances are the posts will be a bit random, but life *is* a bit random at the moment.
I’m doing two #100dayprojects, and am up to day 84. One of them is about making a collage a day, and I’ve been playing along with Froyle, as she inspires us to try different colours. This week she asked what colour represents hope for us. My initial thought was orange but, the more I thought about it, that’s not true. I love orange, it’s about fire and passion and danger, not hope.
For me hope is a mix of blues and greens; the colours of nature and the sea. The land and waterways being healthy is what will give me hope for earth. I particularly love the colour of the Hokitika Gorge, and the greens of the land as it meets the blue of the distant hills on the West Coast. When I’m there I create lovely gelli prints inspired by the land around me. When I get home I stop. Not because I’m home, but because – as beautiful as it is – the land around me doesn’t inspire me in quite the same way.
Here’s the first of this week’s collages inspired by the colour of hope.
I’ve been learning to draw faces. Today is day 50 of this #100dayproject. I can draw a recognisable face with no real effort now. What I can’t reliably do is convey a specific emotion, but hopefully in the next 50 days that will come.
I’m also doing #100daysofcollage with Froyle Art and loving it. We’re doing a different colour each week. These are in a small Dylusions journal, so not overly time consuming. I’m using up some of my stash of gelli print and hand printed papers.
But I’m also circling back to my earliest art journal love, Tim Holtz and Distress. Sometimes I put it away for a bit, but I always come back. I just got some new paper dolls, transparent wings, and some other bits and pieces. Heaven! Thanks to Fiona at Create for having great stock.
Is my art original? Yes. Am I influenced by others artists? Absolutely. There’s a core group I’ve followed for years, including Tim Holtz, Teesha Moore, Traci Bautista, Dina Wakley and Dyan Reaveley. Some of them are designers with Ranger, so I’m influenced by both their art and their new products.
Artists whose work has influenced me include Jasper Johns, Richard Serra, Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell and Cy Twombly. I was fortunate to study some of them at The Learning Connexion during the four years I studied art.
Teesha Moore, whose work I love, has been sharing some of her older art journal pages on Instagram. She’s had some health problems, so I don’t think she’s creating much at the moment. I’ve made her style of journal before, and often use her collage style in my journals.
Tonight I hunted round in the cupboard and found a blank journal I’d made from Fabriano paper, based on a video she did of her process back in 2010. I’ve started colouring the pages using Golden Fluid Acrylics. Once it’s fully dry I’m going to use magazine images and downloaded mixed media papers to create my pages. I’ve just bought some of Denise Lush’s new collage papers and think they’ll be perfect for this project!
My art practice runs deeply through my life, and sometimes cracks appear. Life gets in the way, and my art practice takes a lower priority for a time. From the outside that probably looks like a wee crack on the surface and no big deal. But actually those shallow cracks run deep – art is vital to my life and it’s important I always find – make – time to move my hands.
Since Tony moved into the rest home I’ve found less time for my art. At first glance I should have more time, not less – but that’s not how it works. By the time I work, and visit him 4 weeknights out of 5, then bring him home at the weekend, time is precious. When he was at home, sure things were difficult, but I sat at my art desk while he slept the days away.
Over the last few days I’ve made a concerted effort to do a bit more art and it feels good to be moving my hands. I need to prioritise my art time better! These pages are all in my Dina Wakley journals.
Over the weekend I’ve been talking with Penny about food addiction again … it’s a complicated thing. An alcoholic can potentially avoid alcohol for the rest so their lives, a nicotine addict doesn’t have to smoke a cigarette ever again. A food addiction faces their addiction multiples time a day. Is it hard? Yes. Do we always succeed? No! But we’re not giving up either…
The other pain is my knee. I’ve got really good movement, and a scan on Friday showed there’s no clot in my calf. That’s great news, but does mean we still don’t know why it’s so tight and sore. Last night I slept with only one pillow knee to ankle instead of two. I slept ok but my hip’s been uncomfortable today. I think I can persist with just the one though and let the muscles adjust.
For me, with pain comes art. Actually, art comes with most things; pain, joy, sadness, anger, love and so on. This weekend I made a Teesha Moore inspired journal, starting with a large sheet of Fabriano Artistico paper that I cut, folded and stitched. Not quite my usual style, but a lot of fun.
Tim Holtz unveiled the latest colour is his Distress line today, Prize Ribbon. Love it! Watching the reveal video, with all the makes, reminded me how much I enjoy using Tim’s products. I’ve been very focussed on the Dylusions and Dina Wakley range for a while now.
Tony was home for the day from the rest home and had brought his Paint by Numbers with him, so I grabbed a fresh journal and a pile of Distress Oxides sprays and Distress paint. I made a stack of backgrounds, then went back and added splatter with Distress Ink, Distress paint and DWM white gloss spray.
Once that had all dried I hauled out Tim’s paper dolls, the new wallpaper range, quote stickers and other bits from his range, plus some paper dolls I’d made recently inspired by Niamh Baly on YouTube. The paper dolls used Tim’s etching heads as a starting point.
Tim Holtz often mentions thedarkside … referring to grunge and using browns in your art, rather than bright and cheerful. Although I didn’t go fully to the dark side, I used Walnut Stain, Black Soot, and Ground Espresso on every layout.
It was fun to do something different, and break out some old favourite supplies – I’ll be sure not to neglect the, for so long from now on.
Some weekends, aside from cooking meals & basic things like washing etc, I spend both days at my art desk. This is one of those weekends. Tony is in more pain and sleepy so he’s sitting in the lazyboy, napping, while I play with my art supplies. Art is good for me – the movement of my hands, the meditative sense of slowed-down time when fussy cutting out images, and the chance to get my thoughts & feelings out of my head and into my art journals.
I’ve been working in my large Dina Wakley journal, and the large Dylusions journals. I’ve really enjoyed playing with Steampunk images for a change.
Last week had its ups and downs. The downs I’m not documenting… The ups included an amazing fishing trip for Tony, something that was on his very short bucket list.
Tomorrow we’re seeing the respiratory specialist, Dr Hicks, to get the details of his latest lung MRI, to confirm a few things. We’re supposed to see the Hospice Dr to look at his meds, but this might not happen due to COVID19 level 2 – Breeda is trying to sort it for us. Tied into that is a meeting with the Hospice wound nurse to have a look at the ulcer on his foot.
I continue to art out all the feelings. I’m so grateful for my art journals as I’ve been feeling a bit unwell, and my temper starts to fray far too easily. I’ve been playing on my huge Dina Wakley mixed media journal.
I’ve been playing with making windows after doing some Dyan Reaveley online classes – which I highly recommend – and watching Niamh Baly on YouTube. I didn’t mean to cut the same window in two pages, they were stuck together and I didn’t realise! Still, it doesn’t matter.
I put a stamped figure on the final, single, page (shown below) and backed it with some Dylusions collage papers, then added a quote. There’s journaling in white gel pen on the black hearts; the inks are water reactive so pick up the red and pink from underneath, which I love. I used Shimmer spray inks on all 3 pages and like the added sparkle.