The 2015 Art Project – Growing Your Wings

This is week 5 of The 2015 Art Project. The assignment was to create a self representation and give it wings. My self-representation doesn’t really look like me, but she is female, has brown eyes and the hair is close enough, so we’ll call her me. I gave her pixie wings instead of the typical angel wings. I felt like angel wings would make her seem dead. I’m not dead yet!

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I have no problem with putting myself out there, the spreading your wings part. It’s the where to go once you get the wings out part that I feel I am stuck at. For a long time, I was just doing what I thought everyone else wanted me to do. I wanted to make everyone happy and proud of me. For the most part, I reached that goal, but I was a total mess. I wasn’t sleeping, I hated myself, my depression was the worst it had ever been and I was completely exhausted. I wanted to give up and for a while, I did. What’s the point of working so hard to please people if it doesn’t make you happy? There is no point. So I took a step back to think about what would actually make me happy. Right now, art journaling brings me joy. I haven’t really figured out the long term yet though. I found a good quote to reflect these feelings. It’s about flying and not knowing where to go. It basically says that the miracle is in spreading your wings. In my case, the miracle would be realizing that I need to base my life on something other than having everyone’s good opinion.

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Now for the art part. I started off with a layer of white gesso. Next I put blobs of paint on the spread; dark blue, light blue and purple. I mixed those about with my fingers. It was kind of fun, lol. I made swirls here and there using my swirl stencil and Sharpie paint markers. I started to write the quote in, but it was hard to read with the colours and the swirls in the background, so I gesso’d over it and tried again. The black signo uniball ink showed up much clearer over the white gesso. I scribbled blue neocolour II around the gesso’d area to transition it into the background a bit better. The last touch was the star stamp using silver ink.

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The figure was drawn in my Strathmore recycled sketchbook. She was coloured with regular pencil crayons and outlined using various gel pens. I outlined the whole drawing in blue Sharpie to make it easier and less delicate to cut out. She looks worried because she feels lost, like I do. She’s not sure where to go from here.

Here is the whole spread…

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DLP6: Don’t Stop Until You Get Enough

The Documented Life Project 2015 – Journal
For more information and inspiration visit the girls at Art to the 5th

Art Challenge: When Not to Stop
Prompt: “Don’t Stop Until You Get Enough”

This challenge was posted on Art to the 5th on February 7th. I’m about a month behind. At least being so far behind, I’ll never run out of journal prompts!

The prompt is from a Michael Jackson song. Do you remember where you were or what you were doing when he died? I was downtown. My friend and I had just gotten caught in a torrential down pour. We ran into a Ben & Jerry’s to wait out the rain, but it was too late, we were soaked. There were two girls working behind the counter. One girl was crying, the other comforting her. The second girl explained to us that the first girl was fine, just a big fan. When we looked clueless, she explained that Michael Jackson had died.

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Anyway, I wasn’t going to do an art journal page on Michael Jackson, I wasn’t THAT big a fan. “Don’t stop until you get enough” made me think about school/work. I have definitely had enough of that! Why do I keep going? It’s because I haven’t got enough knowledge, I haven’t done enough learning. I don’t think you can ever get enough learning. There is always something you didn’t know, something you can improve upon….in my opinion at least. School/work and my pursuit of knowledge is represented by the eye chart (Ph.D. candidate in low vision). I scribbled other things around the page that I thought I could never get enough of; spirit, worth, motivation, love, joy, inspiration, kindness, passion, freedom, friendship and laughter.

This challenge was about layers which is something I haven’t done very much of in the past. A lot of people use old book pages. I didn’t have any books I was willing to sacrifice though. Instead, I tore recipe instructions out of magazines for the first layer. I shredded the pages into chunks and strips. I used gel medium to glue them willy-nilly all over the two-page spread. Any areas that weren’t covered I filled with lines or really sloppy handwriting.

The next layer was white gesso. I made it a thin layer so you could still see the recipe print and my chicken scratch through it. On top of that, I used blue craft paint and a stencil by Dylusions. The next layer was a variety of brown pigmented water colours. I added some stamps; clocks and keys with brown ink, but they mostly smudged off as I worked. The Snellen Eye Chart Stencil is by Tim Holtz. I stippled black gesso over it with a fat paint brush.

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I wanted the images of the stamps to stay put. I thought maybe if I painted over everything with gel medium, they’d stay. It worked! From there I got out a bronze metallic Sharpie and and a gold Sharpie paint pen to do some doodles. Finally, I wrote the prompt in black Sharpie paint pen and doodle highlights on the letters with a blue paint pen.

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DLP5: What Lies Beneath?

The Original Documented Life Project – Journal 2015
For more information and inspiration visit Art to the 5th

Art Challenge: Under paper
Prompt: What lies beneath?

I wasn’t sure what “under paper” was at first. Luckily, I wasn’t the only one. By the time I read the new challenge, there was already a discussion going on about it in the FB group. Under paper is the scrap paper you use to prevent whatever surface you are working on from getting ruined. I usually use a garbage bag for that…whoops. To make this week work for me, I figured I’d broaden the definition of “under paper” to include the paper I clean my stamps off on, the paper I test my pens on, test my doodles on and write my notes about different page ideas and quotes to use.

What does the prompt “what lies beneath?” make you think of?

A lot of people went along the lines of water and fish. Now that I think about it, that makes total sense, but that’s not what came to mind first. The prompt made me think of myself actually. I project the image of the person I want to be. I want to be smart, friendly, strong, well-spoken, kind, confident and successful. Really, all I am is kind…kind I can do well, but the rest? Fake it until you make it, right? Most of my friends, my colleagues and most of my family know me this way. What lies beneath is someone completely different. I second guess myself all the time, I get anxious and stressed over everything, I’m always exhausted, angry, lonely and just generally empty. I don’t like this person. I don’t want to be this person. Around others, I try to be the person I want to be, someone that they would like. Who would like a stressed, exhausted, angry person? No one. I can’t even stand to be in my own skin some days, how can I expect other people to tolerate me?

This is what my spread is about this week. The left is dedicated to the person I want/try to be. I started with gesso on the background and covered that with watercolour pencil crayons. I wanted the page to be colourful and bright. I used a stencil and some white paint to put the swirls in. I stamped a few hearts around the page with gelato pigment. I dipped a brush in water, rubbed it over the gelato stick and then painted the stamp. The hearts aren’t as clean as you would get stamping with ink, but it’s kind of neat looking. I used regular old pencil crayons to draw a cartoon of myself. Her smile is a little bit strained because she is acting a bit. Pretending to be happy and confident when you aren’t can be exhausting after a while, so the smile is a bit forced.

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The flowers and circles were made using paper punches from my “under paper”. They were stuck on with gel medium. I outlined the circles with Sharpie paint pen and the flowers with gel pens. Any writing was done with a black Fude pen.

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The right page was intended to be darker compared to the right. I used black and silver metallic watercolour pencils to colour on top of a layer of gesso. I used black gesso to stencil some bricks onto the background. I copied the lettering off the internet. I googled graffiti fonts, found one I liked and copied from the font preview. I saved the darker portions of my “under paper” for this side of the spread. Anything with more vibrant colour went to the other side.

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The figure was done with regular pencil crayon and outlined with black sharpie. Instead of details, I made her a sort of shadow and filled her with words that described me. She doesn’t really have a face because she doesn’t know what she wants or how to become the girl on the other page. She is lost. The bits of under paper were glued on with gel medium and outlined in Sharpie paint pen.

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I smudged white gesso along the bottom of the page with my fingers. I covered some of the under paper punch outs, but I guess that’s ok. I wrote the quote with a black Fude pen. Maybe next time I’ll use a ruler when I write.

“Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many, the intelligence of a few perceive what lies beneath.” ~Phaedus

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J52: Haphazard Valentine

Journal52 2015, Week 7

Prompt: Valentines

I skipped week 6 for J52. I’ll try to come back to it later. This page started out a little differently. A couple weeks ago, while I was in Toronto, I bought some new art supplies. I decided to use a blank page in my journal to try them out. I was staying at my aunt’s place in Toronto. She is an artsy, crafty type person too and she has all kinds of supplies. She even has a whole room just for arts and crafts. I am so envious!! Anyway, she was kind enough to let me use some of her stuff. I tried some stencils and stamps and I experimented with Distress Ink.

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The experiment page came out a mess. It was mostly pink with smudged stamps and blobs of gesso and gel medium everywhere. It didn’t really matter though, it was meant for experimenting. Then, this Valentines prompt came up. I figured the page was already pink, so why not. I scribbled on some hearts and lines with various colours of gelatos. I found a quotes about love from Charles Shultz that wasn’t too mushy, so I went with that. I cut out some chocolate from a magazine to go with it. I muted the bright colours on the page with watered down white gesso. Once that dried, I added some black pastel to the hearts for depth and I wrote the quote with a Signo Uniball pen.

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There is my haphazard valentine.

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2015AP Week 4 – Meditation

I get frustrated when I hear the word “meditation”. Usually I hear it when I am being given advice that I don’t want. I have depression. It seems to be the atypical, doesn’t-really-respond-to-medication-and-lasts-forever-kind. I am constantly told that I should meditate. It will relieve stress and negative thoughts and I’ll feel so much better. I appreciate that people are only trying to be helpful when they say this, but they always make it sound like such a simple solution. As if I hadn’t thought of this before or depression is that easy to cure. No doubt, meditation works for a lot of people. It wouldn’t be so popular if it weren’t the case. Unfortunately, it just hasn’t worked for me. It’s not for lack of trying either. I’ve tried various forms of meditation to no avail. I usually end up upset with myself because I can’t do it properly. The closest I have come to succeeding is in karate. The style I did incorporated several sort of moving meditations called katas. They were a series of punches, kicks and blocks that were preformed in succession. It cleared my head because there was no time to think. You had to move so quickly and accurately with strength behind each move. You focused on your muscles and movements, not your thoughts. That cleared my head. It wasn’t exactly relaxing though. It really got my heart pumping.

The week 4 exercise in the 2015 Art Project was a meditation which I wasn’t overly thrilled about. I’m not anti-meditation and it was only 8 minutes, so I thought I’d give it a try. To my surprise, I actually did enjoy it. Instead of providing an art journal prompt for this week, Victoria suggested we do an interpretation from the meditation. I think that’s why I enjoyed it more than I usually do. Instead of going into the meditation with the goal of clearing my mind and relaxing (which is near impossible for me), I went in with the goal of coming up with an art journal idea. That small shift in focus allowed me to focus on what was being said and the imagery to go with it. In doing that, I forgot everything else in my brain and I actually did relax. Maybe I have meditation performance anxiety, haha.

Part of the meditation was to picture an animal by a waterfall in a forest. That’s the part I decided to do as a journal page. The animal I saw was a unicorn. I’ve been on a bit of a unicorn kick lately, so that is probably why. I used “burlap” Distress Ink in the background and gesso’d over the areas for the unicorn and waterfall. The tree branches were created with a stencil using “burlap” and “tea dye” Distress Inks. The land, waterfall and rainbow were coloured with watercolour pencil crayons and activated with water. The mist at the bottom of the waterfall has some neocolor II crayon in it. The unicorn is mostly just white gesso. I outlined her with silver Sharpie paint pen and did her mane and tail with pink Sharpie paint pen. The shadows on her body are grey crayon. I outlined the unicorn in white neocolor to give the impression she was glowing.

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Another part of the meditation was to lie in the water and let our worries wash away. I decided to scrawl all my current worries into the waterfall with gel pens to make the water look like it was moving. It didn’t really work, but I tried at least. The spread still feels a little unfinished, but I am out of ideas for the moment. I feel like the upper right area could use something…a quote maybe? I’ll add to it later if I come up with anything.

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