Monday, 30 November 2009

Challenge: a Week of Ugly Art Journal Pages

I have been thinking about ugly art journal pages. How we need them. How important it is to make them, how they can heal and nourish us.

And I have decided to put out a challenge to all my followers and to the blogs that I read (and anyone else who wants to play.) I am going to post a week of ugly art journal pages and I invite you to join me. Let's get them out on the blogosphere. No more hiding in shame! Post your links in my comments and we will have an ugly art journal page tour.

I never finished this spread from my first art journal. I used to abandon them when the spread became ugly and I didn't like it.

I like the idea of diamond shapes in this composition. I think I could a similar arrangement work now. Maybe I will try it.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Someone Special Art Journal Page

This is my version of scrapbooking.

I have never been one to put my photos in albums. They are jumbled into a big plastic box that fits under the bed. I tried to make an album of my wedding photos but lost interest. I ended up throwing it away.

I have never been much of one to take photos to document my life. I don't know why. I mainly use my camera for reference shots for my painting.

I put this spread into a scrapbooking competition on Scrap 'n Craft with T, a lovely woman that sells scrapbooking supplies near where I live. The competition forced me to try some new techniques that I don't normally do, like using felt and beading.

I got disqualified in the first round.

Still, I quite like it.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Beat it Out of You Art Journal Page

Here are pages that I didn't get around to posting from my 'big' art journal. I am kinda missing the A4 size. *sigh* - never satisfied.

This is a post that I did earlier about starting these pages.

The writing on the pages is about my new painting series. It is inspiring to reread it. It brings me back in touch with my original inspiration. As you work on a series, it can be easy to lose touch with your initial impulse as you go down other alleyways.
I have been worrying lately about a gallery for the new work. I want to just let it go for a while and immerse myself back into the paintings. Too much information coming in from the outside, not enough from the inside.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

New Haircut

I think I love it. It's shorter than last time.

Gee, a good haircut can really make a difference. That bugs me a bit.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Karma Trauma Art Journal Page

I have been thinking about karma lately. Partly because of my sister, partly because of aspects of my own personality. Apparently there are two kinds of karma, one that you can overcome and one that you just have to live with.

But my interest isn't in dissecting karmic philosophy, it is really just about the question: what can we change, and what do we just have to live with?

I like the way these pages look really cheerful with the sunny colours and the ducky and star stencils, but then the subject is quite heavy.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Drawing in your Art Journal

That is an actual feather I pasted onto the page. I did the drawing and then the feather floated by. I wanted her naked but not distractingly so, so it was perfect.

I just read this post in iHanna's blog, a long time favourite blog. She talks about practicing drawing in her art journal. I think it is a great idea.

Drawing is something we all did as children. It is like dancing or singing, you don't have to be good at it for it to give its pleasure. Just like how we sing in the shower, or dance when we are by ourselves, try drawing in your art journal. No one else has to see it. Don't compare it to anyone else's drawings - most people who are good at drawing have been doing it for years and years.

In my art journal, I try to give myself permission to do 'bad' drawings. I find this challenging as much of my identity as an artist is based on 'I can draw'. This can be very limiting as I stop myself from just fooling around.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Rats and Angel Art Journal Page

I had a big disappointment this past week. After working on my new series for months, the gallery that I was sure would offer me a show, didn't. I had been hoping for this specific gallery as I know the owner to be honest, straight forward and good at what she does -- she has sold many of my works.

I have been thinking about the idea that everything happens for the best. It seems pollyanna, simplistic and self-absorbed to me. Everything doesn't automatically happen for the best, but I do believe that we can make whatever happens into something positive. I want to do that with this.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Pooh art journal page

I want to have pages ready for writing when I feel like it. Prepared pages with backgrounds and visuals all ready to go for just writing in. A place to write whatever.

They fill up fast. I love writing on visual pages. I don't know why it is so much more fun than writing in blank pages, but it is.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

It's Not a Race journal page

I had a chat with a friend of a friend at a barbeque Friday night. This beautiful, charismatic woman had had a dream to be a psychologist, but instead she owns a clothing boutique. She felt she had to run this business in order to support her mother and family in Brazil. It is a beautiful shop that sells very nice clothing. She is counting her years to retirement.
She said to me "It must be so wonderful to spend your life doing what you love."

It is. It is wonderful.
It is also scary, unprestigious, sometimes embarrassing, confronting, anxiety provoking, difficult, challenging, humiliating... I don't mean to be negative and I am not complaining, but there are reasons most people don't do it.

People talk about doing what you love like it is the answer to all one's unhappiness. Reality check. You give up stuff. There are many sacrifices. This culture is not set up to support people in doing what they love, and it doesn't.

That said, I love being an artist. Not because it is fun. It often isn't. Painting when you feel like it is one thing -- painting regardless of how you feel is something else. Some days it goes well, most days it doesn't. Most days I don't find painting easy.

I think I love being an artist because it is really intense. Because my studio is where I feel entirely myself. It is where I can and should be completely honest - though that is a continual struggle. Because I always feel challenged. Because inspiration feels like life running through me. Because being an artist feels like coming Home.

Finally, and maybe the biggest reason, is that in my studio I can continually create the world as I believe it truly is, rather than how it appears to be.

Monday, 2 November 2009

I am Sad Art Journal Page

I was feeling a lot of sadness about the world we have created the day I made these pages in my new smaller journal.

I wrote: I am feeling so sad today about this culture we have built. Why didn't we create a loving culture? Why don't we make our decisions based on what is most nourishing and contributes to our happiness? It is such a wonderful planet and people have such an amazing capacity for creativity, wisdom and love. But it is actually difficult in our culture to develop these qualities. The whole society could be set up to nurture us in developing love, wisdom and creativity. It needn't be any more difficult than what we are creating now. It wouldn't be more work. It might be easier because it would be more natural. Sure, we would make mistakes, but we could just keep going back to our initial intentions. We could weigh each decision by "will this help nourish wisdom, love and happiness?" Slowly, slowly we would go.

Notice the angel with the broken wing. I didn't see that when I was making the pages, only later.