Music of my life

I have music on most of the time – at home, in my car, in my office… music keeps my brain busy so that I can concentrate on whatever I’m doing. I know that sounds odd – but it’s common with addicts, including food addicts like myself.

I listen to a wide range of music from opera to rock and hip hop. Favourites include HIM, Queen, P!nk, Meatloaf, Kiss and Nickelback. I often record the lyrics in my art journals. Why? Because my journals are about the things in my life and in my head – and music is a big part of that.

Dylusions – Paint: After midnight, Calypso teal, Mushy peas. Stencils: Diamonds in the rough, Shutters, Squares. Stamps: Dy’s alphabet. Other – Pitt big brush pen, Ranger collage medium, Distress black soot ink, black Archival ink, white gel pen.

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Art classes in Greymouth went well

I taught an art journal class on Thursday night and a gelli print class on Saturday in Greymouth, through Left Bank Art Gallery. The classes were held at CoRe, a fantastic community facility run by Cassandra Struve, one of those people who has so much passion for community development and can see the possibilities then act on them.

Some of the people who attended didn’t want to be photographed, which is fine, so these photos are entirely representative. People seemed to get a lot out of it and enjoy the processes. I had brunch with Penny Kirk yesterday and spotted a women who had attended the gelli class. I said hi and she told me she’s already turning her gelli prints into cards and will be buying her own gelli plate.

I’m already talking with Cassandra about running more classes in the new year, taking people to the next level with art journals and printing. As I said to Tony this morning, it’s funny that when you travel away you quite often get more support than at home. Perhaps when you’re local people assume you don’t have much to offer, or figure they can catch you any time?

Here’s a few photos of the classes and what people created. Enjoy!

An iterative process

Developing a body of work is a strongly iterative process for me. I start with an idea and play with it, refining and revising until I have a huge pile of works, especially if I’m working on paper. Perhaps only 30% of those works will make the final cut.

The final works often bear no resemblance to the initial ones; sometimes I can only ‘feel’ the linkages, not really see them. But the linkages are there, because each work is a visual representation of the ideas in my head. When I am deeply engrossed in a body of work there are repeating colours, shapes, lines and patterns that appear over and over, often without my being aware of it at the time.

My process is really about the process, not the final image. A lot of my current works are small – either A6 (4.5×6”) or A5 (9×6”) on beautiful Hahnemuhle watercolour paper. I might have 10 or 20 pieces of paper on the go all at once. I put down colour on each piece in layers, then work back into them making marks, adding patterns or collage – back and forth amongst the pile, strewing them all round me as I work. It’s messy and intuitive.

Choosing pieces for on the advertising ahead of time is stressful because I don’t know what the final works will be. But choose I must – and I have. Dimmie, who I am exhibiting with, is going to produce the poster etc with her awesome design skills.

The photos show some of the possible works, and a pile of works I’ve done to date. 

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Well, that pushed my buttons

The journaling on this page tells the story!

This is the first layout in a new 5×8″ Dylusions journal – I love the high quality stock for working on. I used Dylusions paints (Periwinkle blue, Vibrant turquoise, Mushy peas), stencils (Diamonds in the rough, Teardrops, Squares) and stamps (Dy’s alphabet), letter stamps (Tim Holtz tall text), Pitt Big Brush pen in walnut, Distress Ink in black soot for the edges of the journal strips, Ranger Distress collage medium & Tombow Mono adhesive. The image is from an old magazine – I keep files of people, buildings, angels, religious icons and flowers.

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My art journal habit

I’m also teaching an art journal class in Greymouth next month and, as with gelli printing, participants get a pack to get them started. When I teach art journaling its about how to get going, tips and tricks, making it your own.

Why do I art journal? It’s a fun, creative outlet with no rules. It is whatever I want it to be on the day; writing or no writing, paint or collage, personal thoughts – found word poems – song lyrics, deep and meaningful or light-hearted.

I write down the things that are in my heart and soul; sometimes I leave it so it can be read, other times I journal in such a way that even I can’t re-read it. My journals are a trusted friend where I pour out my feelings and work through anything that’s bothering me. I frequently record song lyrics – I love recording the music I listen to – and often there’s a message in the song I chose on the day.

Here’s a fairly random selection of pages I have created in the last 2 or 3 years. I hope you enjoy the variety of colours, styles and imagery.

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Gelli-ing in Greymouth

I’m teaching a couple of art classes in Greymouth next month, so I’ve been busy putting class packs together. I love gelli printing because it’s something anyone can have fun with, regardless of artistic or physical abilities. There’s no toxic chemicals and you don’t need a lot of time or materials.

I thought I’d share a few fav prints from the last two or three years; as you can see, gelli printing can produce a wide variety of styles. Some prints I keep as artworks in their own right, some become the base for mixed media works, some become part of collages, some I cut up and use when I’m making cards.

 

Hidden

Years ago we did some training at work that included Johari’s Window. I won’t go into all the details, except to say it struck a chord and has stayed with me. I’m fairly open on social media but that doesn’t mean I share everything, just that I choose to share more than some might. Yet there *is* a hidden part – parts of me that I know and others don’t (or only a few people know).

Why don’t I share everything, given I share most things? Same reasons as for others, no doubt. Fear of judgement, of being made to feel wrong, that people won’t like or approve of the hidden parts of me. And, in today’s world of strong judgment via social media, fear of starting a “Twitter pile on”.

This is the last page in my small Dylusions journal; I have had such a great time filling it up. It’s ok, though, because I have lovely new one waiting in the cupboard!

Stamps: Dy’s alphabet, Heads n Tails. Stencils: Diamonds in the rough, Sugar lumps, Blocks. Paints: Polished jade, Lemon zest, Periwinkle blue. Other: Ranger Distress collage medium, Archival ink, Distress ink, white gel pen, clear alphabet stamps, Pitt Big Brush marker, black Uni pen.
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P!nk – Courage

I’m still recording the music I love in my art journals. I enjoy the process, but also it tells people a lot about me. Music is a huge part of my life; I listen at home, in the car, at work, while I cook…
This is P!nk’s Courage. It speaks to me because maintaining my weight loss means having the courage to face all the reasons I overeat. The courage to dig deep emotionally, face my fears, feel emotions instead of smothering them with food.
This page is in my large Dylusions journal. Inks: Peony blush, Bubblegum Pink. Postbox red & White Linen. Paints: Peony blush & Funky fuschia. Stencils: Teardrops, Star struc &  Diamond in the rough. Stamps: Dy’s alphabet. Other: Archival ink, Distress ink, white gel pen.
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Secret spaces

There are difficult things happening in our household that won’t be on my blog or FB until we have final confirmation. I’m worried and stressed, trying hard – as a food addict – not to eat my feelings, and searching for the words for how I feel. My art journals are a safe, non-judgemental place where I can say anything I want and it doesn’t matter or hurt anyone.
Sprays: Periwinkle blue, Vibrant turquoise, Calypso teal, Fresh lime shimmer. Paints: After midnight, Fresh lime, Vibrant turquoise. Stencils: Shutters, Holes, Stars. Large Dylusions journal. Stamps: Dy’s alphabet. Other: Archival ink, white gel pen, Pitt Big Brush pen, Distress collage medium.
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People’s truth

This page refers to some stuff I’ve seen on social media, protecting men accused of vile things because “they seem so nice” or “their music/acting/whatever” is great. Uh huh…

As someone who was abused as a kid and had a bad first marriage, I don’t care. When people show you their truth, believe them. Also, trust your instincts.

Can you see the mistake in this? I could have ripped it out and started again or tried to cover it up but for me the joy & release is in the doing, so I’m happy to leave it alone. Can’t see it? The first “t” is truth is actually an” “x – oops 😉

Materials used are all Dylusions unless otherwise stated – Paints: Mushy peas, Slate grey & Ground coffee. Stamps: Dy’s alphabet. Stencils: Shutters, Old school numbers & Diamonds in the rough. Other: Pitt Big Brush pen, white gel pen, Ranger ink, Distress ink.

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