Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Necessary things

This page is on blackboard paint and address fears with in myself of not being good enough. Good to put it on a blackboard as eariy conditioning is very persuasive. Blackboards can also be wiped clean.
collage glue watercolour pencils and paints and liquid pencil
These pages were one of those 'aha' moments which are so exciting when you journal.
The first page came from me ripping out a page that I didn't like..I disliked it so much I put black all over it so I could re-work it but still didn't like it, so tore it out. And then because I do believe that it is all part of us and process I decided to use part of it and try some collage. 
As I started ripping a picture formed of waves and sea, so I kept ripping and layering/playing and going with what the picture was telling me.( it pays not to over think, just pay attention and trust your instincts)
I saved some brighter green areas as they reminded me of mountains or hills.I laid them aside for later.
(as it happens they got laid on the next page and there they stayed and became part of the whole)
the bit I really like is when you are at the end of your picture and you ask yourself the question(or two) what is this? What have I done? and what words will I add?
And you realise that even though you didnt think you knew what you were doing your subconscious had it totally sorted.
The important thing is to allow the space to process.
In this one the waves that were overwhelming me became the mountains that rose above. All ripped from the same page. :-D
Before and after..the colouring in side of the journalling spectrum..Fun!
Collage and  glue..made sure it is sealed well as the paper will lift otherwise. Over the top paint and watercolour pencils, a paint pen and felts

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How I started

I started back at High School as an adult student to learn Art. It offered good experience and teaching and the hours were minimal for a lot of information and support. Perfect for when my children were young.
 I stayed there two years before going on to complete a Visual Arts Diploma and then a Fine Arts Degree.
Post Art School I have participated in and completed various creative writing courses through Uni and Otago and Aoraki Polytechnic.
All the above has resourced me well.
 I recognize the Pitfalls of making, what holds me back and I have the ideas and the tools needed to get stretch a project.
The challenge is generally in starting and self motivating (ignoring housework). Once I have a plan and I  have started, it tends to be all I want to do.
So with all this knowing and experience, I thought starting an Art journal would be easy peasy.

I opened the book I had bought and faced the blankness of the page. It sat and looked back at me totally expressionless.
 I had a moment of panic and insecurity about my abilities. And then asked myself out loud what it was that I needed to do. The answer was just to start didn't matter what..but get it out of my head and then deal with it. So I did.
I poured everything I was thinking out into the computer without editing. I stuck it the book and I then illustrated/coloured in with what first came to mind. It was a sunflower.
I found out later that the sunflower is the adopted flower for Synovial Sarcoma.
Gary's cancer is what prompted the blogging and the journalling in the first place, and it is what has enabled me to continue it as a practice and learn the value. So I really liked this quirk.
 A regular space opened up when he was going through Chemotherapy, that I sat and journalled in.

  1. Think about how you want to Journal on Paper, in a book, By writing or visual means or both.
  2. Gather some materials..keep it very simple in the beginning. If you are planning on using paint it is a good idea to prepare pages first with gesso or acrylic binder...Just to seal the page. I then use low tech stuff like water colour pencils and ink pens over the top.  these items are easy to transport. This blog has good information on materials and preparation.
  3. If you are wanting to layer up your page and use paint and water and lots of glue etc..A Sealant or gesso will basically strengthen the surface so it dosen't fall apart or rip up. Alot of art journallers will tell you that ripping and mess is is all part of the process. Its easier to just go with whatever happens..much more enjoyable. Make it part of the work. This can be quite freeing..some of you will hate it.
  4. I carry a plastic water filled pen with a brush on the end. I love some swish to your water-colour and is safe to use when travelling and on your lap. This Photo is courtesy of Sarah Whitmores Blog, she is one of the artists in the Art Journal Book I have recommended.wi

4. Writing and colour and cutting, sticking and pasting are all good ways to start. 
It is a matter of recording how you are feeling and information. Once you start and keep going with it you will develop a rhythm and a preference for materials and your personal aesthetic.
Its fun! and play is important. For those of you who went to playcentre with your kids and loved the clay and paint table..get some cheap paints and make some marks and write or draw over.
Get some safe and non-toxic ones and use your fingers.
No Rules.
Check out some of the blogs at the side of my page and on my ADLS blog for inspiration and ideas.

All inspired

Just added some of my favourite blogs for inspiration and scrolled quickly through what everyone has been doing.What a fantastic way to jump start your creativity for the morning. Check out some of the very clever people at the side of my blog.
Heres my favourite picture of the day

neon elephant
 This is by "Matti" and with her friend Lisa they teach a 'get your paint on class'
If I wasnt going back to Polytech to re-register as a nurse I would be doing it..Looks like fun

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Why Art Journalling??

This could be 'why Journalling" of any sort really, Writing, Blogging .
I personally have found it an invaluable way of figuring myself out.
It has kept me focused and entertained in and through confusing and potentially anxious situations. For example waiting rooms...
In the past year I have been a support person for my husband Gary as he has gone through surgery, radiotherapy, more surgery and intensive chemotherapy. I cant speak for him (you can check out his blog But watching him and going through this process has been incredibly challenging and painful for me.
I felt in rare moments that I did things right..I have relied on other people to tell me as I  didn't have a clear perspective..hard when immersed. As Dory says..'keep on swimming, keep on swimming'. But mostly it is day by day and a sense of muddling through.
I started Art journalling as a way of making sense of this and a way remembering, it seemed important to get down what was happening and how I was feeling. Also as a way of containing and describing.
My Journal become a comfort and a way to focus.
What kick started this was a book I came across in University Books Art Journals and Creative Healing by Sharon Soneff and I decided to try it.
(by the way..this  a fantastic book and well worth hunting was a bath time re-read for the past year)
I have always kept a Visual Diary right through Art school with scribbles and Ideas, half formed paintings shopping lists and recipes, But I always felt that the ideas I put down down needed to go somewhere and I needed to complete what I had started and if I didn't ,there was the accompanying sense of failure.
With an Art Journal...pretty much you can develop an idea on a page and leave it can take it further if you choose or it is complete within its self. It ranges for me on a sliding scale from Adult colouring in and scribbling towards more therapeutic.
I naturally veer towards drawing and painting and I have been learning collage..I am not a natural collager it has been a process..I am more messy.

Things I have noticed and or loved through Journalling.

I have always got something to do..if I am waiting front of tele,in planes, the other day when I was at the urgent Drs with my son for three hours..we both drew and he did some reading and I coloured in and drew trees.
I can look at it and access where I was and see progress in my thinking and my drawing
A daily of weekly habit of drawing and wanting to draw or create occurs
When you do act intuitively with images and drawings and ask questions..most often you get miraculous and encouraging answers.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

On-line workshop

I have been participating in a fun on-line journalling workshop..21 SECRETS.
Through this I did one of Gretchen Millers workshops..'the Board Book one' which I blogged here. There is another workshop series coming up which looks good.
I think I might do it..:-)