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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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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Tim Holtz Distress Paints, Stencil Girl stencils, various pens, Sakura white gel pen. It’s interesting that two days in a row I have treated it like a mini art journal and scrawled down all the things that are in my head – making sure they can’t be read but feeling good for getting them down on paper. It’ll be interesting to see if that continues or whether it’s just because there is a lot happening just now.

I’m already thinking that it would be amazing to show these as a single artwork at the end of the year; they’ll be really disparate but tied together by size, and possible text.

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364 pieces of art

I used to blog a lot, as a way of showing my art process, and to clarify my thinking. Over the years FaceBook became my avenue for some of that, but it’s not as good. Too many distractions, and hard to see progress over time. And of course FB changes the rules from time to time, often with little warning. I’ve not been creating as regularly as I used to, yet it’s good for me – even 10 minutes a day helps and makes me a happier, and therefor better, person all round.

In lieu of over-ambitious New Year’s resolutions I won’t keep, I’m committing to making a small piece of art every day. I’ll probably work on index cards so I can take them with me if I’m away from home. I painted every day for a year once and it was great. Sure, in the end I didn’t manage every single day, but it was fun anyway!

I’d like to draw better, so I’ll be incorporating an element of drawing into some pieces. Along with the art, I want to think out load more, and commit those thoughts onto my blog. As an introvert I find it’s good for me to have somewhere to put my thoughts down. So, yesterday was a rest today – today, the 364 pieces of art project begins.

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Done is better than perfect

This is the third year I’ve entered Erika’s International Signature Exchange. It’s great fun and the signatures you get back are amazing. In previous year’s I’ve used the signatures without binding them because I don’t know how to do Coptic binding or similar. This year I decided that done is better than perfect so this afternoon I grabbed some linen thread, a needle, some beads, and a pile of signatures. My work would be enough to make a book binder weep (and not with joy…) but done is better than perfect. I have a journal I can use, and a sense of having made progress. So, feeling stuck on something? Jump in the deep end and go for gold…

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Playing with layers in the chaos

I have a couple of days leave – replacement days for working Easter – so have been creating all kids of things in amongst working on the newspaper and some other bits that I need to get done.  As you can see, when I get really into creating mode my desk can get a bit overloaded. Mind you, a friend who is moving countries once her house sells just gave me a huge pile of beads and glitter, which hasn’t helped the state of chaos because I’m not sure where to store them in my stash yet! (thanks Doris – I appreciate it and will love using it all up)

The journal page was inspired by one of Donna Downey’s Inspiration Wednesday videos  I love the way she works in layers, her videos are always fun to watch and she’s really good at explain both her thought process and her art process. If you want to check out her videos a quick search of Donna Downey on YouTube will do the trick.

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Trying out a new process

This morning I have been Gelli printing onto heavy water colour paper that I prepared with a faux Chine Colle technique last night. In many ways, just fancy collage.  I love the results I’m getting  and can see lots more experimentation coming. I am thinking about adding words to these, but am not sure yet. As much as I love some of them, I don’t quite see them as finished pieces. Here’s what I have so far:

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We bloomed!

This afternoon I held a mixed media class, Layered Steps: Bloom. Liz, Mollie, Sharon, Shei, Maria and Denise were awesome. They each did such a great job with their canvas and what I love is that, following the same process, each one ended up with something unique to them. We had such a good time that there’s definitely going to be more classes coming. Here are some pictures of the process, and a line up of the artists with their finished works.

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Blooming

I’ve had a good week, with a bit of time here and there to play with my art supplies. Here’s one finished piece, using collage, Gelli Plate prints, stencils, fluid acrylics, gesso etc.  This is the same process I am teaching next weekend – the class has sold out so there’ll be more classes to come.

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