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 writing..it 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. http://daisyyellow.squarespace.com/
  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 this..gives 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.wihttp://sarahwhitmire.blogspot.com/go.

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.

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