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!

AP2015_wk5_rightpg

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.

AP2015_wk5_quote

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.

AP2015_wk5_closeup

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…

AP2015_wk5_wings:jpg

Letting Go…

The 2015 Art Project – Week 3

Prompt: Letting go to be free…

Week 3 was the first part of a two part (I think?) “Letting Go” theme. We were instructed to focus on worry. Worry is something we tend to hold on to that prevents us from relaxing, enjoying, being ourselves and essentially, being free. At least, that’s what is does to me. It can make me physically ill too. I do have a problem with worry. I know I over do it, but it just comes so naturally. Part of the instructions were to write down things that we are currently worrying about.

Let’s see….

  • Hubby’s job situation
  • Hubby’s happiness
  • If he gets a job up North, should I go with him, or continue school?
  • Forcing myself to go to work
  • Finishing my Ph.D.
  • Getting participants for my dissertation research
  • Making time for everything that needs to get done everyday
  • My mental health getting worse
  • My mental health never getting better
  • Coping with group therapy
  • Deciding whether or not to have kids
  • I can’t speak French and I live in Montreal
  • I don’t exercise enough
  • I can’t sleep properly
  • What is my medication going to do to me in the long term?
  • Financial
  • 30th Birthday trip planning
  • Doing a good job on everything I do
  • Making everyone happy
  • My sick friends (one has a brain tumor, one has fibromyalgia, one has cancer and one has a son with a bad heart)
  • Touching base with family and friends often enough

Some may scoff at my list, thinking that’s nothing compared to their worries or they may think some of those, like planning a birthday trip, are frivolous and that’s fine. I get it. In the grand scheme of things, my worries aren’t nearly as dire as those who worry about starving or not having a roof over their heads. I am grateful I don’t have to worry about those things, but does that mean I don’t worry, or don’t have the right to? No. Worry is intrinsic in human nature. It stems from the fight or flight response which evolved to protect us from danger and although danger has also evolved somewhat from wooly mammoths and saber tooth tigers, it’s not something you can readily turn on and off. If you are having feelings of distress or anxiety in response to something, those feelings are valid. It doesn’t matter what it is. Worry is different for everyone, everywhere, in every situation.

That being said, it’s important to check if the reasoning behind these feelings is valid. I often react to something and my mind gets all up in arms and stressed before I get a chance to look at things logically and rationalize the worry. That’s what my art journal page is about this week. It’s a reminder to myself to to slow down, to breathe and to think it through with a rational brain. By simply taking the time to do this, I can exhale some of those worries away.

Some worries are more difficult to deal with. These are usually the situations I have no control over. Control is a big comfort. I like to have a path set out in front of me with the detours mapped out ahead of time. I’m not a control freak, I just prefer to know what to expect when it comes to the big, important things. This is not always possible in life. So, the final part of week 3 asked us to pick three worries we have no control over that we’ll take forward into week 4. I’m choosing Hubby’s job situation, getting participants for my dissertation research and my mental health. I know I probably should have control over that last one, but I really feel like I don’t.

Now, for the art stuff….

I gessoed (can that be a verb?) the background white and doodled a girl (me, sort of) exhaling her worries over top.

2015-01-20 08.58.14Next, I shredded magazine recipes into strips. I used Modge Podge to glue them to the swirls of air she is exhaling. I wanted the letters from the recipes to be visible, but not legible, representing the irrational thoughts causing her feelings of worry. Next, I painted the background and the figure with acrylics. I used a Walmart stencil to get the white swirls in the background and then muted them with watered down blue acrylic. The big swirls are outlined in activated Neocolour II crayons. The lettering was done with a black Fude Ball 1.5 pen from Ranger Ink. I was told this pen would write on paint (no problem!) and would be waterproof (haven’t tried yet) so that I could paint over it without it bleeding. The silver bits are from a Sharpie paint pen.

2015-01-22 11.44.54Here is the quote. I can’t remember who it is from. I got it out of one of my old journals, thought it was appropriate.

2015-01-22 11.44.42And here is the full spread….

2015-01-22 11.44.13

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