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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Where has the time gone?

I normally blog regularly but February was super busy. Work, LIANZA including time in Wellington, Dr V’s Leap Year WLS Challenge, and so on. I enjoy being busy, and me being bored is never good, but this was a bit hectic really. March is a quieter month, kind of, then April goes warp speed again. All good really.

What have I been doing? LIANZA work, which I love. I met up with Just H and Polly F at Waitohi, the stunning new library in Johnsonville. A visited the art at Te Papa and had some time at Zealandia where I saw Kaka, Tuatara and Takahe – both experiences were truly incredible.

The Dr V Challenge was hard work, habit changing, and incredibly well worth it. My AP (Accountability Partner) Penny K and I have signed up to do it all again in March, to cement the learnings and learn even more new skills.

And art, always art. It grounds me, heals me, keep me sane in the busy times.

Here’s some photos from the last few weeks. Enjoy.

 

 

A little art time

I haven’t posted for a fortnight because I’ve been busy with other things, although still doing my art. I’m doing Dr Duc Vuong’s Leap Year Challenge. He’s an international weight loss surgeon but this is about ‘whole of life’ improvement.

It’s very challenging, including timewise, and I’m learning so much. He has an ‘accept no excuses, cut the bullshit’ approach. I have to speak with my Accountability Partner every day – thanks Penny! I’m documenting some of that learning in my art journals, aside from taking notes.

I’m also preparing to teach some more art classes in Greymouth in early April, so am sitting in the evenings cutting out over 350 stamped images for the class packs. I just shouted myself a new pair of Tim Holtz Tonic scissors 😉

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One Little Word for 2020

Every year I join #olw – One Little Word with Ali Edwards. In 2019 my word was ‘deep’- you can read about why I chose it here. In previous years I’ve had prepared, intention, mapping, balance, calm, and determined. My word lives on the wall above my desk, as a reminder of what I want to do and who (how) I want to be. This year my word is TRUST.

Did ‘deep’ work for me? Yes, mainly. It encouraged me think deeply about issues; not always easy when we’re accustomed to 140-character tweets as conversation. It reminded to dig deep personally so, despite physical pain, I have gone from 4,000 to 6,500 steps a day. I learned to dig deep emotionally, to understand the many things contributing to my addictive nature and unravel some of the (deep) pain that drives self-soothing with food.

So, why ‘trust’? Last year I tested a few words, thinking about their meanings and what could work for me. Today I was doodling with a white pen in my new black Dylusions journal and, without thinking, grabbed my favourite alphabet stamps. Before I had time to realise what I was doing, I had stamped TRUST on the page. Ok then, that’s a pretty clear message from my subconscious!

What do I think TRUST might mean for me in 2020? I will TRUST:

  • my artistic process
  • my instincts about people and situations
  • that everything will be ok whatever happens with Tony’s health
  • myself to eat properly to maintain my weight
  • in the process for building our new multi-use library
  • myself to balance work and leisure for my wellbeing
  • the universe to look after my best interests

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Good girls go to heaven

A bit of Meatloaf for a change from my usual P!nk, HIM etc. This is more the music of my teens, and I still love it today.

Dylusions – large journal. Sprays: Dirty Martini, Vibrant turquoise, Calypso Teal, After Midnight & White Linen. Paints: Fresh lime & Calypso teal. Stencils: Circles, Spring flowers, Teardrops & Diamond in the rough. Stamps: Dy’s alphabet.
Other: Distress collage medium, Archival Ink, Distress Ink, Pitt big brush pen – walnut, white gel pen, Tombow marker – pink.

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Look for the miracles

Anyone who has known me for a while will realise I don’t believe in God, but do believe the universe looks after us if we are clear in our intentions. It’d be fair to say there’s some big stuff happening in our wider family at the moment, and some huge challenges.

Last weekend I said to my sister “at least we haven’t seen four horsemen” and she (sort of) laughed and said she could hear hoofbeats! The next day, we were presented with more challenges.

Yet this week there’s been some amazing stuff too. Some medical issues are improving or are being well looked after. My niece Rosie and her partner Jason got engaged, and their baby bump started to show. So much love ❤

Even when things are dark and life seems bloody difficult, it’s worth being crystal clear in your intentions and watching for the miracles.

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P!nk on my mind

On the way to and from work I listen to music on the car stereo, from my iPhone – isn’t technology wonderful! A lot of the time I listen to P!nk, closely followed by HIM, Def Leppard and Guns ‘n Roses. Sometimes I choose the song because of the beat, or the message in the lyrics, or a bit of both. Looking back at previous pages reminds me of music I love, and of where my head was at when I did the layout.

Dylusions – Small journal. Paint: Rose quartz, Vanilla custard, Slate grey. Stencils: Diamonds in the rough, Love hearts, fronds of foliage. Stamps: Dy’s alphabet.
Other: Archival ink, Distress collage medium, Distress oxide ink, white gel pen, Pitt big brush pen.

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The sacrament – and my process

I was away last weekend and didn’t work in my art journals, but did get plenty of art time to work on more Hokitika Gorge paintings. But I miss the freedom that comes with an art journal, where the process matters more than the outcome. I’m not sure I’ve ever documented my process for a layout like this, so will try to capture it.

 
Before I do though, this is another song by HIM, with Ville Valo singing. HIM disbanded a while back and Ville has moved on, but I still love their music. The lyrics, often quite dark, really speak to me. Villa reads a lot, including poetry and classics, and his writing frequently includes references to religion and Edgar Allan Poe’s works.

 
This layout was done in my small Dylusions journal, which means there’s no need to gesso the pages as they’re really strong and colours generally don’t bleed through.

 
Using ink blender foams I put down Dylusions paints in Polished jade, Lemon Zest and Vibrant turquoise. Using the same colours and the ink blenders, I stencilled using Dylusions Teardrops, Squares and Diamond in the Rough – I use each colour, and each stencil, in all three sections.

 
Once that was dry I used Distress Collage Medium to glue down the magazine cut-out, leaving a medium strip of gel medium around it. Next, I blend a shadow in once the gel is dry, using a walnut Pitt Big Brush Pen to outline the collage. The slickness of the gel means you can blend out the pen, which is India Ink, if you work quickly.

 
I write out my words – often song lyrics or my thoughts – and print double spaced. I insert a line at the top of the Word doc so I know how wide each line can be and adjust my font size to fit; for the small journal 10.5cm works well for me. I roughly cut out each line and use a foam blender and Black soot Distress Ink to ink the edges to take away the harshness of the white paper.

 
I put them aside and use Archival ink in black to stamp the title with Dylusions Dy’s alphabet stamp set and Stamper’s Anonymous Tim Holtz Tall Text stamps. While the lettering is drying I use Tombow glue to adhere the text strips; I’m not too fussy about lining them up, spacing etc. Once they’re down and the stamping ink is dry, I use a broad tip white Signo pigment ink pen to add highlights to the stamped letters.

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