Keeping it hidden

I’ve been working back over some starter layers in my art journal today. I’ve got a lot on my mind at the moment, not all of it positive; despite that I know how fortunate I am, how fortunate we are. Really, life is good…

This page started with layers of gesso, fluid acrylics, Dylusions spray ink and stencils. Today I added more ink, and lettering which I sprayed lightly with water to let it run. Finally, I journaled with a white chalk pen so that it’s not readable.


A theme emerges

Mum’s funeral service, conducted by a local JP who had a lot to do with Mum, has made me think about what I do and don’t believe. Mum was an atheist, as was her dad. I spent some time in the church as a teenager but I suspect that was about belonging more than anything. I certainly don’t call myself a Christian. Thinking all that through seems to be a recurring theme in my journal, as does my changing relationship with my now-retired husband, and career/art time, now that Mum is gone. Here’s what I have been creating with all this in mind:

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Working in, working on, my journals

Recently I purchased a few arty magazines from Stampington & Co, because it is cheaper to buy direct from the USA than to buy them here in New Zealand; that’s if I can even find the titles I want. So, I’ve been enjoying the Winter 2011 edition of Art Journaling by Somerset Studios. Yesterday I popped across to Ro Bruhn’s blog and, what do you know, she was blogging about sketchbooks. As I said on Facebook, I had an instant case of sketchbook envy. Then I got to thinking; what is it about Ro’s sketchbooks, amongst others, that make me envious and wanting to do more? I use my sketchbooks, so what’s the issue here?

I spent some time looking at my journals, some online ones, and the pages in Art Journaling and started to see the differences. Often the ones I love use pages that have been prepared ahead of time – smothering them in gesso and acrylic washes ready to work in. Many that I like have stitching and ink splatters, or just lots of layers of work. Yet when I look at mine I tend to want to get the ideas down, visually thinking out an idea, and then move on. It was an “AHA! moment.

I hauled out a 13x21cm sketchbook with a nice weight of paper, and went through it covering all the pages with gesso. When that was dry I went back and edged all the pages in various ways – something else I had realised I love the look of. After that had dried, I started creating some pages, working back and forth, adding paint and collage and ink and my own handwriting. No plan – just working intuitively and, more importantly, keeping working on the pages. And you know what? I now have 3 pages in my new journal that I’m really happy with. They say something to me, say something from me, and are testament to my new working process.

For the record, the page I have scanned is about the recent disasters and how I am overloaded by all the tragedies and taking myself off the news circuit for a few days. A huge step for someone who is normally a news junkie…

Make it stop. Cath Sheard, 2011


Painting interlude

I have not really done any painting in the past week. I have two problems mainly:

1. The weather is so hideous. It is 24 degrees or so here most days and incredibly humid. My acrylic paints are giving me grief; they get to the tacky stage almost instantly. Awful.  There is no way I would consider varnishing in this weather.

2. Our wee dog has been increasingly sick over the last week. We have it under control now I hope but it has been very time consuming. She is my only baby and I have been really worried about her. You can meet Faith here.

I’ve been going to bed early each night so she can cuddle up with me and get some ‘Mom sympathy’. So while I soothe her, I have been rereading some favorite art books. Such as the Acrylic Revolution, and some books about journals and mixed media. Then I scribble some notes in my art journals; so the time has not been wasted. It’s amazing what even that small amount of research does to rev up the brain and get the creative wheels spinning.