A Logical Analytical Artist

After my previous post, I was led to check out a couple Facebook groups I have been a member of over the past year. I am sorry to admit that I haven’t paid much attention to them over the year. I needed to revisit them to try and understand why.

One group I revisited is called “My Year 2017”. It is run by a lovely group of ladies who provide art videos every month. I believe they are based off of the monthly prompt they provide. The videos are meant to help give people different ideas of what they can create artistically from being inspired by the prompt. After reviewing the group again, and working on November’s prompt, at first I thought it would be up my alley, but after doing it I realized that isn’t the case.

First, let me explain that November’s prompt in the way Gina explained her approach, the words she picked and how they connected for her helped to give me some hope. For the past few weeks I’ve been contemplating my purpose in life. I knew this would come at some point because of my new job and would make me question my choices. For the past few weeks I’ve been feeling like I have no purpose and I have just been biding my time here until the next phase in whatever may come. Gina’s video and the five words she chose were very meaningful to me and helped give me hope that I will find a new purpose in this life.

You can find Gina’s video here.  I won’t post what I created or give the prompt or description of what she created because I don’t want to take that away from her. She worked hard on the video and I believe it is worth viewing if you are interested. The reason I mention it here is to try and give you some insight into the way my brain works. I am vain enough to think someone might be interested in the workings of my brain. lol Besides I just copied what she created because I wanted to have it to remind me of what I learned from her.

Let me explain something else, following art instruction videos takes the pressure off of trying to come up with my own idea for what to create. For a very logical and analytical mind, this process gives my brain a time to stop all its analytical mumbo jumbo and just do what someone is instructing me to do. I don’t have to think of what will work or not work together or how I need to prep something so what I want to do next will work. It takes the pressure off. For my learning mind this is great because I get to experience without having to think much about it and most times I end up with something I’m very pleased with.

Now… if you don’t have an analytical mind like me then you might not understand just how wonderful it is for me to take an art class like the ones I have been taking this past year. This past year which is actually coming up on two years in January, has been a time of great mental strain. My brain has been analyzing, over analyzing, painstakingly logical in trying to find solutions for me that would create the ultimate solution for the situation I found myself within. I had to find something that would be a safe haven for me and allow my brain to just STOP. To just LET GO. This is what the art courses this past year have been about, as well as, the wonderful part of also learning and experiencing different techniques and supplies.

Now… think about what it means to try and create something from a prompt, whether it is a one word prompt or a quote or something in which the artist is to dig in deep to try and discover what meaning or relevance it has in their lives. This was too much for me. I was already analyzing every single thing in my life, so trying to take a simple word and do what I’ve been doing every minute of every single day for a year, well, it wasn’t going to happen. Not when art for me was supposed to be a place of refuge, a place that brought my mind and my heart peace.

So when I first thought “My Year 2017” was going to be something I would enjoy, instead, it turned out to be something I avoided. When I reviewed the group a couple days ago, and though I found November’s prompt had meaning for me, I realized, it wasn’t the prompt as much as it was Gina’s message in her video in regards to how she approached it, the words she chose and her explanation of how the words connected for her, that had meaning for me. I accepted this but also knew it was a message to not avoid the videos. When I have time I will view the videos provided by this group to see what message they may provide for me. Who knows maybe when my mind has had enough rest, it will work on a prompt or two.

One of the ladies from “My Year 2017” group also does a Pick 10 challenge. The Pick 10 challenge is about picking 10 prompts and using them to create an art journal page. This is different from the prompt I mentioned earlier. These prompts are either art supplies, or art techniques or simple instructions, like use the color red. You do the prompts in the order they are drawn. These are the types of prompts I can get into right now because you don’t have to think about it. When you first see the prompt you go with what first pops into you head and just do it. The fun part is seeing what happens. Here is a picture of what I created from November’s Pick 10, you can see the video here, of what Cindy created. I used the same prompts she pulled for November. I just added the words which wasn’t a prompt just something I felt drawn to do after the page was completely dry. I also added some white highlights which wasn’t a prompt either. I needed the white to help bring the words out more and some of the elements.

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When I work on faces or try and create my own art journal page, for me, it takes a lot of thought, mostly because I haven’t been doing this long enough to give over completely to my intuition. This is why, for now, art classes are so important to me.

The past week was physically draining on me. I worked seven days in a row, most days were only four or five hour shifts, with the last day being an eight hour shift. I was exhausted by the end and was glad I had three days off to recover. Each day when I was home trying to rest my feet and body, I would work on something, usually I like working on mandalas. However, I’ve been challenging myself to try and go beyond mandalas and try my hand at abstract floral art.  My previous post shows one I completed recently. This is the one I started next and is a work in progress.

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I’m still rather basic in the layout for this type of work. I find it very difficult to figure out how to do overlapping elements. This is why I’m challenging myself with this type of art. For years I allowed myself to be held back by my lack of confidence in my ability to create what I want. Faces was one of these things I didn’t have much confidence in being able to do. I let that stop me for years from doing anything art related so now when I find something that makes me feel like I can’t do it, I now want to challenge that mentality and break through whenever possible. Here is an example of doing just that:

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This piece was created from Week 28 of Life Book 2017. Yes, week 28, I just finished it today. It is a bonus lesson given by Jamie Dougherty. I avoided this lesson for months and I let myself think I was doing so because of all the stuff going on in my life. Indeed, part of the reason was that but another part of it was because it challenged me. The class was about facing your negative thoughts about yourself and incorporating it in a fascinating way by using ash and mixing it into the portrait. I won’t give any more details than that because it would give too much away about the lesson. The lesson is called “From the Ashes”.

What held me back was facing my negative thoughts. Oh, I know I have them, but it is very different to know you have them than it is to purposefully focus on them. This was daunting but once I got started I wanted to see it through. I like how she turned out.

I don’t exactly call this a block when I avoid doing a lesson or something I find difficult to face. I’ve heard other artists asking how other artists deal with this type of situation and ask how they get through it. A good many of those answering tend to say just barrel through it. One person actually said she sits down in front of a page and just sits with her feelings. She might sit there for a few minutes or an hour or whatever it takes before she is ready to start working on it.

That isn’t how I approach it.

In fact, whether it is my art, or something I need to do in life, I approach it the same way. If when I think I need to so something, whether it is a lesson, a task, or even something like renewing my passport, IF, at the time I’m thinking about doing it, IF, I feel a strong compulsion to NOT do it, then I DON’T. I will revisit it after a period of time and if the feeling is still there, then I wait and revisit it again and again and again until that compulsion to NOT do it is no longer there. I wait until I feel a strong compulsion to DO IT. When that happens then I know the time is right.

I know, I know, there is the risk of this approach creating serious issues. Let’s say this happens when I know my passport is about to expire, this could cause me problems with other things in my life if I don’t do what needs to be done. I could possibly miss out on a trip I wanted to take. So you might think this approach could end up very bad for me in some situations, BUT, I’m here to tell you it has never caused me a problem. IN FACT, it has saved me in more situations than I can count and in more ways than I can ever tell you.

In the past, I have tried to push through the strong compulsions I feel and go ahead and do what I felt needed to be done regardless of how strong I felt about not doing it. This either ended up with me in a very stressful situation, where I was overwhelmed and battling situations that would not have happened if I had waited, or I ended up frustrated because of roadblocks, unbelievable roadblocks were thrown in the way. In some cases it has helped me avoid situations I didn’t want any part of.

Take my art for example, if the next class up in the schedule of classes is one I feel strongly compelled to not do and I try and push my way through it, I very often regret it. I regret it because I become frustrated over it and what I’m trying to do doesn’t work out the way I want it to because I’m frustrated and trying to force something that should otherwise have been enjoyable in the doing of it. I have learned it is better to wait out the feelings and then do the class when I have felt that compulsion switch from not doing it to doing it. I then have a much more pleasant experience with the class and working with the products.

This same thing happens in other things in my life if I follow those feelings. I consider this following my intuition regardless of how illogical it may seem. For me, it is quite logical.

Maybe this will help explain my mind to those who understand and are a bit logical in their own thinking. In most of the courses I’ve been taking this year, there is only one which should be done in the order specified. All the others can be done in a random order. Even so, my mind is one that really wants to do things in the order they are given. This benefits me in so many ways even when it isn’t necessary to do it that way. I know I don’t have to do them in order, but even so, I have not jumped ahead in any of the courses. When I try, it feels wrong. Learning to follow my intuition is about following what feels right.

So there you have it, my mind in a nutshell, so to speak. Take me down the path step-by-step in a logical linear fashion and I’m fine. Take me down a path that jumps from thither and yon and then back again and though I have a wonderful sense of direction, it will feel all wrong. Maybe that is why I find mandalas so easy to draw and the abstract floral drawings such a challenge.

 

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).

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Monday, focal image

I do not plan any of the days in advance.

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Tuesday, view of complete spread

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Tuesday, close up

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

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Wednesday, full spread

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Close up

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Slightly different angle

Wednesday was one of those days.

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Thursday a bit closer

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Thursday close up

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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:

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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