Merging Poetry with Art and more artwork…

I have been playing around with the concept of merging my mixed media art with my poetry.  I have been wanting to find a way to do this for a while now. I have added some of my poetry to a couple of my art journal pages but something felt missing.

The below spread is from a lesson on Mood Journaling from Book of Days 2017 by Effy Wild. The concept is when something is bothering you, to sit down and just let yourself go, feel your emotions, and just reach for whatever paint color immediately comes to mind. Then just slap it on the page, making marks with whatever medium you reach for and allowing your mood to express itself through the application of the medium. Her lesson is much more descriptive of the process of how to do this and I’m hoping I’m not revealing too much by the description I have given so far.

For this piece I really didn’t have any strong emotions but did tap into some of the feelings I have. The point is to tap into your feelings and get them out. This is usually what is behind my poetry as well, which is what made me think about using the mood journaling process to help me merge my poetry with my art.

Once I completed the lesson, this is what I ended up with:

silhouette

At first, I considered using it as a spread for an MDS (Multi Day Spread) for journaling my week. Then one of the individuals in the class Facebook group suggested it would be a good spread for reflection. I liked this idea. Then I thought about a poem I had written earlier in the month and thought it would go well with the spread.

I chose to add a second silhouette, making it look like she was on the other side of the window. Then, I took a picture, imported it to my editor on my computer and added the text from my poem to see how it would look. Here is the result:

Mood Journaling Silhouette copy

I like it. I like it a lot, although the wonkiness of the boxes kind of bothers me. That perfectionist side of me being too critical but, it will do. I plan on using the spread to add text about what I learn about myself, positive things. Things that are insightful and uplifting.

At first I wasn’t sure how I would add the poetry text to my actual page. I did some calculations and found if I place a line every 1/4 inch I can have 36 spaces for writing which is just enough to fit the poem in the same way it appears above, only it will be written in my handwriting.  I won’t be placing any other pictures of it here, because the rest will be very personal.

I do, however, love this process. When I read a poem I have written, I can usually tap into the original emotions I had when I wrote the piece . I should be able to use this same process to create a mixed media page which will become the background for the poem. Maybe one day I can turn them into a book of mixed media poetry.

Give Your Story to Wisdom copyI worked on some other art lessons this week from Life Book 2017 organized by Tamara Laporte. This first one is a lesson given my Tamara. I love her whimsical animals. She gives them all human eyes. My daughter thinks my elephant looks cute but creepy with its human eyes. I sort of like her.

Intuitive warrior copyThe next lesson is also from Life Book, the teacher Amber Kuileimailani Bonnici, is the Intuitive Warrior. I am loving all the different techniques I’m learning. I would not have considered using the colors I have in this piece if it wasn’t for this class.

Less is More copyThis last is a lesson by  Melissa Dinwiddie on Less is More. I’m not crazy about how this one came out. Abstract painting doesn’t come easy to me. This is something I will need to work on if I want better results. I think I used too many different colors and too large a canvas. The instructor used small canvas so this minimalist approach seemed to look better. Or, maybe I should have had a larger variety in shape sizes. It is something to consider if I want to do another piece like this.

My journey into meeting my inner artist has been and continues to be an interesting one. I’m learning a lot about what makes me happy in my artwork. I love it when I can do a face or in this case, the face of an elephant and have the shading come out so well. I am learning, I’m not a fan of collage, especially not when it comes to mixing different decorative pattern paper together. It doesn’t come out looking right to me. I have yet to put my finger on exactly what or why that is. I do, however, love collaging with old text paper. I’m learning the more I work with watercolor, and other water soluble products the more I love them and the easier it becomes to work with them, this includes acrylic paint.

This week has been the best. Finding a technique I may actually be able to use to mix my writing with my art is a feeling I find difficult to describe. Oh, heck, it makes me happy. And, I just realized, the last piece I don’t like so much? That technique will also have a place in merging with my writing. I almost missed it. Looking at it just now, I realized, with a little practice, it could become a very dynamic technique that will merge well with my writing. giving plenty of white space for text.

The other great part of my week has been, I have finally narrowed down a process for editing my ink drawings. I was getting frustrated over not having crisp, clean lines, that looked like a print shop created them. I finally realized, “Hey, these are hand drawn pieces. I don’t want them to look like they were made by a computer digital program. I don’t want them to be perfect in that way. I want them to be perfect in the imperfections that come with something made by hand.” These will be my one of a kind hand drawn pieces which once I have the majority of them edited, I can sell individually or in a collection for people who like to de-stress by coloring or just want an ink print. The editing I’m doing is to mainly clean up any stray marks and to make sure they will print clearly when enlarged.  I have over fifty drawings I can convert to digital files, most of them are mandalas. I’m looking forward to when I can open up a web store to sell them.

~Patti

Multi Day Spread

I’m am taking Book of Days 2017 class which is a year long class given my Effy Wild. In Week 11, Effy has a lesson about creating multi day spreads. I LOVE THIS LESSON. I can’t go into the details of the lesson, so will just show my progress so far. If you want to learn more, you can join her year long course Book of Days. This class isn’t just about techniques on how to use your different mediums to create art. It is about meeting yourself on the page. For the content she provides, it is worth the price of admittance. She is unbelievably generous in pricing, otherwise, I could not afford it. Thank you Effy! I am learning so much!

I begin with Monday, my first day working on my MDS (multi-day spread).

IMG_0497

Monday, focal image

I do not plan any of the days in advance.

DSC_0481

Tuesday, view of complete spread

DSC_0483

Tuesday, close up

Some days, I have no idea what I’ll be doing, and I just start adding color to the page.

DSC_0495

Wednesday, full spread

DSC_0494

Close up

DSC_0493

Slightly different angle

Wednesday was one of those days.

DSC_0498

Thursday a bit closer

DSC_0499

Thursday close up

DSC_0500

Thursday full spread

Thursday, I had a plan. It was a strange day, waking up hopeful, happy and excited, then by evening, after a nap, feeling as though I hadn’t accomplished anything, and feeling scattered.

The more I work on this art journal spread the more I feel the desire to try something like this on canvas. I have never worked with canvas before. I have wanted to for a very long time and I think trying something like the techniques I used in this spread would be the perfect thing to try on canvas.

I used mostly Inktense pencils in this spread so far, along with some acrylic sprays I created by just adding water to my acrylic paint in a spray bottle. I layer colors until I’m happy with how it looks. Paint pens, gelly roll pens, uniball signo white pen, pilot super color gold pen, are just some of the tools I used for the details. The stencils are my own creation.

Each day I am thrilled with how my daily addition has added to the spread and created a cohesive view of my week so far. I won’t be doing Saturday and Sunday but I would not be surprised to include them on future spreads.

Because it is Friday, I will wait to post this until I do my Friday addition and can show the completed spread. So, I’m saving this post so far and will return to it later tonight or tomorrow.

I’ve been having a conversation online with some friends about working through fear, finding what works for us, getting past the frustrations and what causes frustration to begin with. I’ve dealt with this very thing for most of my life.

In the past, two weeks, I picked up “The Artist Way”, by Julia Cameron. I only just started week two. Week one was powerful. It gave me insight into my negative thoughts, how to alter them into positive thoughts, and ways to discover their origination. What I find wonderful about this book is at the end of each week’s chapter she provides a list of tasks to work on. There are a lot of tasks. You don’t have to do them all. You can select the ones you want to do. These tasks reinforce the process she speaks about as well as help you dig deeper into your past to find out what is causing the blocks, negative thoughts and so forth.

I mentioned this book in our discussions because for me it is giving me a process to follow. A much needed process to work through what has blocked my way for so many years. I fumbled my way through my life for a long time, and at times,  stumbling upon things which worked for me. And… sometimes, forgetting about them as I got lost again in my internal self made drama, because I didn’t know the tools to stop the self-sabotage. This book is about learning the tools that you can use for the rest of your life.

Ever since, the end of last year, when I decided to make a concerted effort to heal, using art to do so, it has been like a tiny trickle of water has gradually grown into a river and the flood gates are being opened. I now find myself having a multitude of choices and having to let my inner wisdom be my guide as to which choices are the best ones for me. Each choice has opened up more gates increasing the flow of knowledge and understanding.

Someone once said, once you hear a thing, you can’t unhear it. Or something like that. For me, this is so true, once I know a thing, I can’t unknow it. Without the appropriate intent, it can end up left at the side of the road until something brings you back to it to take it back up again but the knowing is always there.

The problem is if you don’t know the process to acquire the knowledge you seek, it can be a very difficult path to travel. I am learning that until we show the great Creator/God/Universe that we are serious about our intention, then we will only receive the minimum amount of help, just a bit of bait dangling to see if we are serious enough to take a bite of it. We are given more and more opportunities if we continue to take what is offered and utilize it. This week’s spread and the classes I am being drawn towards definitely reflect this concept. I am being overwhelmed by the amount of help available, some of it free, some of it expensive, some of it not free but within my means.

Here is my completed spread:

DSC_0501DSC_0510DSC_0513DSC_0515DSC_0517DSC_0519

I am absolutely thrilled how this came out. Considering how long I have been learning multi media art (not all that long), I think I’m doing really well. If this was done on canvas instead of in a journal, I would be tempted to hang this on my wall.

I really don’t care what others think of it, though it is nice to hear from time to time if someone likes my artwork. Any artist enjoys hearing when others like their art. It helps with the self-confidence if we are really honest with ourselves. It, however, doesn’t crush me if someone tells me they don’t like it. It just tells me their likes are different from mine.

This is the work I focused on this week. I worked on this along with “The Artist Way” which I mentioned earlier. My week was a combination of profound happiness mixed with being overwhelmed by the efforts I have taken on to improve myself and my artistic skills.  Overwhelmed though in a good way.

The one thing I know for sure, is I have gone from hating my life, to loving my life and that is a huge accomplishment for me.

~Patti

Enjoying myself….

I started writing this post a few days ago. I was interrupted before my first sentence was completed. Coming back to it today, I had no idea where I was headed in that interrupted sentence. I scrapped it and now I’m starting again.

Yes, I am enjoying myself. I’ve been learning. I’ve been arting. I’ve been getting messy. I also may have broken one or two toes in the midst of all the fun, or if not broken, then badly sprained. My right foot is rather colorful at the moment. Thankfully, the swelling is down and it isn’t as painful to walk. I am still being very cautious. I stopped taking Advil. The last one I took was yesterday morning. I have pictures but not sure people would really want to see them. The two toes involved are my small toe and the one next to it. They are quite colorfully bruised along with a major section above them on the top of my foot. Stairs are not very friendly to my toes apparently.

Enough about my toes and on to my art.  I’ve been focusing on a couple of things.

First, I’ve been working on learning how to draw faces. Mostly I’ve been learning from Tamara Laporte’s classes, Effy Wild’s classes, and Christy Sobolewski’s YouTube videos she had up. Christy is moving off of YouTube and hopefully her plans will include keeping what she had available free on YouTube, free on her new platform too. That is yet to be known for sure by me.

These ladies all teach whimsical faces which is a great detour for me, because since I found out I could draw in 8th grade, I’ve only done realism, which could be quite daunting for a new artist with confidence issues. Doing whimsical helped me to let go of perfectionism and just have fun. Though of course that was and is a constant battle for me.

I feel a deep need to return to realism, so I turned to Alphonso Dunn which I discovered on YouTube way back in my early meanderings through YouTube when trying to spark my inner artist back to life. I followed him but rarely went back to his videos. He, however, has been lurking behind every face drawing taunting me to come back to him.

So….. I did…

I watched his video “Beginner Portrait Drawing E1” several times. I first watched it all the way through to just absorb it all. Then I watched it again and  made notes in my Art Techniques Journal, drawing a face with all the proportions noted and lines, etc as he did it in the  video. Then I watched it again and made notes in OneNotes where I could make notes and insert screen shots of the different steps. Sort of creating my own digital step-by-step instruction book. Then while referring to my Journal and OneNotes, I made my first sketch. It was rough and not for anyone’s eyes but mine.

The below pictures are of my 2nd and 3rd drawings done last night using my Pilot Color Eno mechanical pencil, following Alphonso’s proportions instructions. The first in purple and the second in blue colored lead. Thanks to Dede Willingham always discussing how she prefers drawing with blue lead and how it doesn’t smear, convincing me to give it a try. I love, love, love the colored lead for drawing and not having the messiness of the graphite. Graphite has its place and I’ll still use it. For now, I’ll be using these colored leads.

Page 6 & 7

The two together in My Faces Sketchbook, I handmade. (Love this journal for this purpose.)

Page 6

First drawing, done with purple lead.

Page 7

Second portrait, done in blue lead.

I’m still trying to figure out how the faces came out so differently. I used the same proportions. The difference may be in the eyes, since that is the first thing I draw once I create the vertical guide line and find the center point. I don’t establish a horizontal line with the width first but let the size of the eyes determine the width, so that might be why they are different. I want to know so when it comes to doing a wider face versus a narrower face I’ll have the right technique in place and won’t be fumbling around to make it happen.

Drawing faces is now on my list of daily practices at least until I can do one without having to fumble through thinking about proportions.

Second, I’ve been taking Life Book 2017 lessons. I haven’t been working too hard on trying to stay up with the lessons each week. It has been a challenge to try and stay focused due to some medication I’ve been taking. It has the side effect of making me really sleepy. I’m finally getting off of it and it takes some times to get it out of my system. I didn’t want to attempt the more challenging lessons while my brain was so fogged in. Now that the fog is beginning to lift, I have more confidence in applying myself to the lessons.

I won’t be describing the process for these because that should come from the instructors. If you are interested in learning how to do something like this then click here.

Flowers of Gratitude final

This is one of the lessons. As you can see it has a whimsical feel to it. I love learning both whimsical and realism. My mind doesn’t naturally create whimsical which is why these lessons are a challenge for me in one way, and yet fun in other ways, and also provide me the ability to relax more than when I do realism. They both though will awaken my inner critic who just loves to tell me I’m not doing things right or won’t be good enough.

For instance, when I look at this journal page, my eyes want to go directly to the flower in the hair of the girl on the right. The flower to me is all wrong and my inner critic loves to point it out to me and make it the focus as to why this particular journal page is garbage. There are other things too my inner critic loves to point out while I sit back and look at this with pride seeing how much I’m improving. I have it sitting on my mantel to remind me every day, nothing has to be perfect in order for me to love it.

This is another class where we learned about shading. I love these flowers. This is one journal page my inner critic has nothing to say about.

shading and highlighting

Then, I do things like this from Life Book which shouts out to me to listen more often to that little voice inside which encourages me to try things even though I don’t have the exact supplies the instructor uses. I had none of the supplies except for maybe one, other than the colorful paper to use for collage. I improvised with the supplies I had on hand and was able to create similar results as the instructor. This journal page is a reminder that supplies are just that, supplies, it is up to the artist in how to use them. Just because one artist creates something one way, doesn’t mean I can’t create something similar doing it another way.

Roots Down Branches Up

Roots Down, Branches Up, is a piece which can be used in many ways, such as, genealogy chart, charting progress as an artist, recovery from trauma, anything that focuses on root/foundation, where you are now, and where you want to go in the future. Thanks to Effy for this lesson.

This week, though painful in one way, has been very enjoyable in other ways. I’m learning a lot in my practice. I’m growing as a person and as an artist. I’m learning techniques which can be done in a variety of ways, and artwork that can be utilized in many more ways.

Third, this one is recent, as in the past couple of days. I’ve been hearing/seeing “The Artist’s Way” many times since the beginning of this year. I was curious, so I looked into it, found the book, and purchased it. It is important for me to learn to get past all the negative talk in my head which holds me back. I started yesterday with my first morning pages, and today I start my first week in this course. I’ve committed myself to the twelve weeks. I have no idea where this will take me. It is my hope, to a good and wonderful place, though I know it might be difficult at times.

These are the three main things I am focusing on. There are others like Book of Days 2017, and doing some artwork that is just from me and not from a class. I have so many other things I want to do as well, writing being one of them. Writing this blog is part of it and for now, my goal is to post once a week. If I can do it more often, then great, if not, I want, at the least, to post once a week. And yet, still more and more things, I want to do. They will come.

~Patti