I ended 2017 with the intent of adding more color and art to my handwritten journal. I was doing ink drawings and adding some of my tangle drawings to the journal then writing about what I was creating which sometimes included comments about my life. This means my journal was generally black and white. I wanted color too. So… in December I started using some cheap markers and trying to get creative on my pages.
I added calendars for the months since I started my job the end of July using various colored markers. Working is now a major part and joy of my life so I wanted it in my journal. On December 31st, I added an acrylic wash background using neon colors since they are very transparent. I wanted to see the lines on the right page to use as guidelines for my writing. I can’t write in a straight line unless I have lines to guide me. I ended the year with a celebration page for the good things that happened in 2017. I’m glad I did this because I tend to remember the bad things instead of the good things.
I still wish at times that I didn’t have to work but who wouldn’t when they love to do art?! To have nothing else to do but art would be such an adventure. I had that for a little over a year. Other than having to look for a job at the same time, my days were full of art and I loved every moment of it. It also helped with the anxiety of not finding a job.
I am surprised by how much I enjoy my job. I interact with people every day. Two days before Christmas I was asked to hand out chocolates to the customers. It was the best job EVER! I have always considered myself an introvert but doing this job and handing out the chocolates taught me that I can interact with strangers and not die in the process… lol.
I am also a Gemini. So to find this out about myself isn’t surprising. I have many times in my life seen two sides of myself which are in complete opposition of one another. There have been a couple people who have commented about this as well because of seeing me in different environments which reflect those oppositions. The best thing about this job is when I walk out the door at work, I leave it at the door. And when I walk in the door at work, I pick it back up. In my previous job of 33 years, the job went with me no matter where I was, which meant no breaks from it not even on vacations.
So yes, my daily life sometimes ends up in my handwritten journal which was originally intended to be just for writing about my artwork. That means it creeps into this blog as well which was also meant to be just about my art. No matter how hard you try, life does cross over into our art.
For 2018, I’m continuing in my journal from 2017, this is my first page which begins my chapter for 2018. I’m about 1/4 of the way into the journal. I created this today before I knew the group, I joined on Facebook has daily words for inspiration. The words for the first two days in 2018 are EXPRESS and VESSEL, so these words didn’t make it into my journal page.
I was exhausted after an 8 hour shift at work yesterday. I had no energy for doing anything creative on the 1st. This is also my first try at doing zendangles. I want to try and find balance this year in everything including in my art especially, between taking classes and doing my own art, so I’m trying things like this on my own.
I started the page by drawing in guidelines for my words using pencil, then added the words also in pencil. Then I added the background with an acrylic paint wash in neon colors. Once the paint dried, I went over the letters with cheap water based markers and the dangles are gel pens.
I had intended to erase the guidelines but forgot I wouldn’t be able to erase them after I put acrylic wash over them, so I improvised and went over the lines with gel pen then added the dangles. The hardest part was trying to figure out what patterns to use on the dangles. I have found I’m not very good at creating designs or patterns on my own. Hopefully, I’ll get better at it with practice.
In this journal, the left page is blank for artwork and the right page is lined for writing. I use a wash so I can still see the lines. I do artwork on the left and the right is for writing which I do over the acrylic wash with gel pen. I know I won’t be able to do this every day, however, I plan on doing something artistic whenever I want to write in my journal. If I have a lot to write about I generally do that on my computer and just do highlights in my handwritten journal.
As I mentioned, the first two words for this year are EXPRESS and VESSEL. Doing my journaling this way I hope to EXPRESS myself artistically more in 2018. Technically I consider my journals (both physical and digital) my VESSELS which contains many parts of me and my life. I want my physical journal to be more of a visual journal. Sometimes I include pictures of what I have created in my digital journal. This year I hope to add more pictures of my art into my digital journal so I have a record of what I have created.
I still plan on doing my ink drawings. My thoughts have been about wanting to incorporate my love of black ink with my love of color. This is something I’ll need to play around with this year. I also want to explore different ways of using ink in my drawings. So far I have just used a pen. I want to explore using a brush.
I enjoyed the dangling bits on this page even though it is obvious a beginner has done it. The challenge I had was in creating the different dangle patterns. I tried not to copy patterns I saw from other pictures but in the end I found myself doing just that. I need to find better balance and I didn’t have enough open space between the words, but that is okay. It was fun to do for the first time and is something I can play with while sitting down recovering from a long day at work.
On another note, I did another lesson from Life Book 2017, week 33, “Bloom into Spontaneous Collage” with Shelley Klammer. Her explanation of how she gathers collage materials for here spontaneous collage page helped me tremendously on creating this page. I am not a fan of collage but after doing this page, I realized, I do like collage just not so much in my artwork with paints. I sometimes have difficulty with my paints lifting. This type of collage was fun to do. I may find myself doing something like this from time to time. I just don’t have much collage material.
Her method of doing these collage pages is more about intuitive collage. It isn’t about designing a page before you start or even picking a subject to collage about before selecting your collage pieces, which I think is why I liked it.
Doing it intuitively brings information from your subconscious to your conscious mind. Until I did this collage I was sure I didn’t have any dreams left. But this collage ended up being a dream board of sorts. Without thinking about it, I found myself selecting pictures that had some symbolic meaning to what I wanted for me and my daughter. It helped me to realize my dreams were not dead, they were just buried.
I find my dreams too hard to keep to the forefront of my thoughts. Since being laid off from my previous job of 33 years, I felt my dreams were impossible and it has become very difficult to think about them without sinking into depression. So learning those dreams are still alive was a relief while at the same time it hurts to realize they may never come true, at least not without some major changes in my life.
In Life Book, I work on single sheets of paper. At the end of Life Book, Tam shows how she binds her pages into a book. I have been considering this and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so a few months ago I looked up alternatives. I looked up alternatives because I didn’t want to permanently change my pages by adhering them to each other or to other paper in order to bind them into a book. I landed upon an idea I hope will work.
I want to create a book box for storing my artwork from Life Book. That way I can store the pages as loose pages and be able to take them out if I want to. This way too, I can use the back of my pages for a journal of sorts about the class for that particular piece. The issue I have is my pages are 9″ x 12″ and the chipboard I have is 12″ x 12″. I’m not sure I can create a book box that will hold the pages using the chipboard I have. If not, I may have to buy a different medium to create the book box. I’m thinking I could use hardboard which I can purchase at my local hardware store. I’ll just need to learn how to cut it down to the size I need. I have time to figure that all out since I’m only on week 34 of Life Book 2017.
It is my hope that this idea will work out well. If it does, then I will be able to use it for storing any other artwork I do on loose sheets of paper. There are other options but they all have their drawbacks. This one seems to be the one that will reassure me that my pages will stay intact without having to alter them in some way for storage.
I am glad 2017 is over. I want to move on and let go of the difficulty of the past couple of years. I am grateful for the time I had to bring art back into my life. The time I had without a job helped me to cement this need into my life and make it a priority so when I did get a job it wouldn’t be set aside again. These last two years have been a time of adjustment, of learning how to alter my priorities and choose what was important to me and how to make room for what is important.
Up until now I have never chosen a word to focus on for the year. I tried New Year’s resolutions several times to no avail. I’ve had years of no focus at all. For 2018, I decided to choose a word and see what happens. My choice is BALANCE and each month I plan on choosing another word to focus on for the month which supports my focus of BALANCE. For January, my word is BOUNDARIES. It is my hope, to focus on them, journal about them, research and then make choices I can incorporate into my life.
I’ve had issues with setting boundaries my whole life. In some of my art classes the topic of boundaries has come up so I decided it was time to learn about them and set some of my own. I know I have some boundaries but they have been arbitrary. It is time to put some reason behind them and make them a solid part of how I live my life.
This may seem strange to some people to think someone my age doesn’t have firm boundaries by now. It even sounds strange to me. It is something I have come to understand to be a source of issues I have run into in my life. Since deciding this, I have found myself dreaming about situations that reflect these issues I’ve had in my life. It is like my subconscious is showing me what I should have done in those situations instead of what I did do. It is showing me the boundaries I need to set. I find this rather interesting.
I sometimes think I should have been a psychologist or research scientist because of these remarkable things I notice about my mind and how it interacts with me and my universe. I notice it even more now. I’m not sure if that is a product of allowing my creativity to grow through art or if it is just this particular time in my life which finds this all very fascinating. Maybe a mixture of both. It is so very easy to discard these subtle truths as our imagination conjuring up something that could only be in a science fiction tale. I, however, prefer to believe in the impossible. Maybe that will carry over into other aspects of my life as well and I’ll find myself believing my dreams really can come true.