The value of art time

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.

Out of my head, onto paper

This has been a rough week for various reasons, so a day of pouring out my heart and head into my art journals has been good for me. I don’t sleep well some of the time, and when things are rough I tend to have bad dreams. I process everything that’s going in complicated dreams, often with my long-dead parents in them. I haven’t been doing that this week, but have been very wakeful, so hopefully getting lots of thoughts down in my art journals – many unreadable – will help settle my brain a bit! People say art is cheaper than a therapist, but I’m not sure they’ve seen my journal and paint supplies 😉

Playing with windows

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.

Dylusions online classes

During lockdown in England Dyan Reaveley started offering online classes, and they’ve been fantastic! These 3 pages are based on some of the classes I’ve done, combining techniques and just having a play. Here’s what I used:

Dylusions: 8×8 journal. Paint: Desert sand, Squeezed orange & Tropical sangria. Stencils: Retro, Stars, Circles. The page had a little leftover Angles in the background from another page. Other: Collage papers, Bigger Back Chat 2. Other products: Archival ink, White gel pen, black Fude ball pen.

Dylusions: 8×8 journal. Paint: Crushed grapes, Rose quartz & Cherry pie. Stencils: Fancy floor, Grid. Stamps: Dy’s alphabet. Other: Collage papers. Other products: Archival ink, White gel pen, black Fude ball pen.

Dylusions: 8×8 journal. Paint: Mushy peas, After midnight & Polished jade. Stencils: Court jester, Teardrops, Spring flowers. Stamps: Dy’s alphabet. Other: Collage papers. Other products: Archival ink, White gel pen, black Fude ball pen.

Getting down the bones

Sometimes all I need in my art journals are the bare bones in order to remember an event or feeling. Other times I write a lot; how readable it is depends on the content. I’m generally very open with what I share, but there are times when I can’t have other people reading the text. The ‘feeling let down’ page was one of those rare moments, so the story behind the page is on the back of a tag. I can lift it up and read if I want to, but probably won’t. Getting it written down was enough. Cathartic!

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A bit of this & that

I hit the wall on Friday. I was working, had an appointment for an x-ray of both knees in the hope of replacements, a bunch of deadlines, a meeting with some of my staff, a puppy to wrangle etc. I found myself rushing round the house muttering “I hate every f*cking thing” as I went. After 50+ days of 6-6.30am starts and little rest, I was exhausted.

The x-rays went well, but left me very sore. I had lunch at the skatepark; sunshine & fresh air helped. The meeting with four of my staff made me feel a lot better. In the face of all this they’re innovative, determined and caring – I love them to bits.

Today I got up with Inky at 6.30 but went back to bed when Tony got up about 8 – I didn’t get up until midday and, after lunch, Inky slept in my arms for about 3 hours. I didn’t really tackled any work till after dinner, which has no doubt done me some good.

Yesterday I did my weekly diary and started a journal page which I completed tonight, along with some COVID journal backgrounds. The journal page has a story behind it, which I can’t share 😉

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Uniquely me

I’ve been a fan of the late Dr Wayne Dyer for decades and, through him, have learned to enjoy the Tao te Ching. I have a few quotes from the Tao on the wall above my desk that I read when I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed. They help ground and settle me.

We’re currently in lockdown due to COVID-19 and it’s unsettling. I’m going to make an art journal about the whole experience because art is how I process the work but, in the meantime, I’m using my art journals to help me feel balanced and calm in the chaos.

This is one of my favourite lines from the Tao and one of the quotes I have at work. I think it’s important we value our own unique place in the world. As I sometimes say to my staff when customers are being a bit ‘special’ – there’s infinite variety in the human condition!

This page is a lot brighter than this scan shows – we have a new scanner and I’m struggling to get the settings right.

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Art, COVID-19, our household

New Zealand is now Alert level 2 with COVID-19. No community outbreaks yet but think it’s getting close if the overseas experience is anything to go by. People who are wilfully ignoring the protocols are endangering others. It’s not cute or funny or brave – it’s dangerous and should be criminal.

Tony is in the danger category – diabetic, over 70 etc so is choosing to self-isolate. Me going to work does put him at risk but we’re doing all we can to minimise it. Things like me washing my hands in the washhouse before coming inside.

I’m limiting the news I watch to the essentials for work and trying to make social media a safe place while sharing what I need to. It’s a fine line, because I don’t want to feel overwhelmed but do need to be well informed for my work.

So I have been doing plenty of art, partly because I’m not sleeping well. Penny and I are into our second month of Dr Vuong’s Leap Year Challenge and I’m learning so much. I’m recording some of it in my Dylusions journals because the mix of thinking and art helps embed it for me.

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Back on line & some art

I’ve had terrible internet problems for the last 10 days, just as we upgraded our printer and pc (we lease them for the newspaper so have to change every 3 years) and it’s been a *nightmare*. It seems to be fixed, thank goodness. It’s even used up a lot of my art time, which is never good for my temperament 😉

So now I am back to creating art, including journal pages to help me remember everything I am learning as part of Dr Duc Vuong’s Leap Year Challenge.

I’m teaching a Dylusions art class in Greymouth in early April and have been busy putting class packs together – I’m excited about it and hope others are too.  Bookings can be made through Left Bank Art Gallery.

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