September 30, 2008

Soul Journal – Day 7

Posted in Art, Art for beginners, Art journals, Beginner's art, Learning art, Soul Journal, Techniques (art) at 6:54 pm by amateur-in-art

Well, I’m getting behind on my postings, but oh well.

Today is Day 7. I started as instructed and wrote tiny on two pages, using the prompt, “I forgot to tell you…” I liked that as a prompt and my writing took me all over the place in content and emotion. Whew, what a ride!

Sarah warned that we’d be taping over this writing, and so I did write freely, but I have to say I kind of don’t like all this writing and then covering up. I like what I write, and because it is a journal, I want the ability to go back and see what I wrote in response to these prompts or on a certain day. Well, I’m solving that dilemma by making a copy of it to save – but I still don’t like covering it up. Maybe if I knew from the very start of this whole Soul Journal experience that “all throughout this journal we are going to be writing things and covering them up” or something maybe that would help. (Maybe that information was there, and I just forgot or missed it). I was crushed on Day 2 when we did it the first time. And I was afraid the whole time that I was working on my Soul Armor that I’d have to paint over that. I guess right now, I find the covering- over process more inhibiting than freeing. I don’t want to create something deeply personal and meaningful if I’m going to erase its existence.

OK. Enough whining! Sorry about that. After writing the “I forgot to tell you…” prompt, then we were to cover it all up with not-clear tape. I don’t have many varieties of tapes, and I had some brown packing tape that I wasn’t sure if it counted as “clear” or not, because initially I thought of “clear” as like regular Scotch tape. You could see through the packing tape pretty easily, but I decided to use it anyway. I like the brown tone and the way it mixes both transparency and opaqueness. Besides, I actually decided I wanted to have some of the words show through, anyway, as a way to sort of craft a new narrative out of what I had written earlier.

I don’t want you to see everything I wrote, but here’s a deliberately blurry pic of the start of my tape-over.

And here’s what it looked like (blurred) after I finished. In addition to the packing tape, I used masking tape, black electrical tape, and blue painter’s tape. I really liked the black and blue colors and contrast.

OK. End of Day 7.

But I do have a question. How long will it be before this all becomes one big pile of goo from the tape, esp. the electrical tape, which always goes gooey on me after a few years. Ick!

© amateur-in-art, 2008

September 27, 2008

Mistakes Welcome

Posted in Art, Art for beginners, Beginner's art, Learning art, Soul Journal tagged , , , at 11:37 am by amateur-in-art

I like that one of the things I’m learning through this Soul Journal work and my other (feeble) efforts at “art” is that I’m learning to go easy on myself. I’m learning to expect mistakes – and that that’s OK. I’ve been accused at times (in other matters) of being a perfectionist – so allowing myself to make mistakes, and to shrug and move on, is kind of a big deal for me.

This work with the Soul Journal has especially helped me in that regard. I’m having the attitude of “however it turns out is fine,” and mostly, I think I’ve been able to do that.

I know that I have Grand Visions of things in my head, beautiful artwork like all the many that are out there, and my own work never measures up (yet) to what I see in my head. I’m (mostly) allowing myself to be OK with that. Sure, sometimes I get frustrated, but it feels good to be able to put things in perspective and to realize that it is really not that big a deal whether my blue turned purple or if something is a little off-kilter or whatever. If it’s true that “you learn from your mistakes,” then I must be getting a very good education! 😀

Part of what I’m learning through the Soul Journal is to be gentle with myself. That, my friends, is a gift, and one that I am grateful for.

© amateur-in-art, 2008

September 26, 2008

Soul Journal – Day 6

Posted in Art samples, Beginner's art, Soul Journal tagged at 10:19 pm by amateur-in-art

I didn’t have nearly as much fun with this one as I did with the previous assignment, but it was OK.

I liked the scavenger hunt for images, and I really liked that Sarah gave us specific things to search for. She provided a long list, instead of just something generic like: “find 20 images from magazines.”  I think by the time I found everything, even though I let it set overnight, I had kind of lost interest by the time it came to laying out and creating the page.

I don’t like the color of my background. My paint said “Navy Blue” but it went sooo purple. I also learned gee, I sure don’t know how to make a decent wash of paint. I’ve been adding water to paint – but I think I need to go the other way around and add paint to water so it is not as strong and opaque. (I tried this later and it turned out much better).  I could have started over on this page, covering w/gesso and starting fresh, but I just didn’t feel up to it.

That’s it for today. Onward!

© amateur-in-art, 2008

September 21, 2008

Meditation on Pink

Posted in Beginner's art, Learning art tagged , , , , , , , , at 8:42 pm by amateur-in-art

I’ve recently found myself gravitating towards pink in my color schemes. Often hot pink, fuchsia, or a softer baby pink.

This surprises me because for as long as I can remember – certainly since I was a little girl, I’ve always hated pink! Pink was a prison. I rejected it outright because I found it babying, wimpy, crying and weak. And, I’ve come to realize over the past few years, that was precisely the messages I was receiving as a young girl, about what it meant to be a woman. We were “Other.” We were to be pitied. We were weak. Who, I ask you, in their right mind, wants to be weak?! Not me! And no one I know, male or female. So, it’s no surprise that I rejected the color pink, outright, right from the start.

What I have come to realize, however, and I have seen this more as it arises in my “art” – is that pink is in fact a color of strength. Oh sure, it’s taken me a while – like half my life – to figure this out. I’m a slow learner, it seems. Though it was easy for me to reject, it has been harder, and slower, for me to transform the way I view this color. It is powerful femininity – not bashful, fearfully paralyzed girlishness.

I wonder if in some way perhaps this is related to what I’ve seen as the “reinvention” of pink in young girls clothing and toys. Nowadays, pink is often accompanied by gray, brown, purple or black. These accompanying colors give pink a strength and a solidity it often does not have on its own, especially if it is of the “baby pink” variety. Still, I find myself entranced even by baby pink alone at times. It allows me to be vulnerable, soft, and even more “fully human.” It is the color of nostalgia, of Victorian wallpaper, of grandma’s lace.

Fuchsia or hot pink, however, bring their own strengths. Although they also work well with the other colors mentioned above, they don’t need an accompaniment to be strong. In fact, when paired with one of these other trendy colors, the vibrant colors of fuchsia or hot pink often overwhelm the other color, which perhaps, is as it should be. “Nobody messes with me,” says fuchsia. “I’m not gonna be quiet for no one!” echoes hot pink. Rock on! Colors with an attitude!

I like my newfound enthusiasm for this color, in all of its varieties, and I think it will be fun to see where it takes me!

© amateur-in-art, 2008

September 18, 2008

Soul Journal – Days 3 & 4 – Soul Armor!

Posted in Art, Beginner's art, Learning art, Soul Journal tagged , , , , , , at 9:51 pm by amateur-in-art

Nope, you didn’t miss it. I’m not posting Day 2 here, but I am posting Days 3 & 4 – SOUL ARMOR! I loved this assignment! This was so much fun, starting with the decision of “what will my armor (or warrior) look like” all the way through the process.

After some searching, I finally came upon an image of Athena, the Greek warrior goddess of wisdom, which seemed just perfect. I thought the image had enough white space I could work with, and as I read more about her mythology (I was already a little familar) I liked choosing her even more. I liked the details on her shield, the fact that she was wearing a helmet, and the goddess Nike in her hand. I decided to add an owl to my page, because Athena is often accompanied by an owl. She also often is accompanied by a snake, but I just couldn’t get comfortable with a snake as a positive image (though he seems “tame” by her side), so I opted to omit that. And, since I was using this as my own personal symbol, I didn’t feel obliged to try to incorporate too much of her myth into the work. It was not about “recreating the Athena myth” on the page, but rather, finding a representative for my “Soul Armor.”

I like that she has the three qualities of warrior, goddess, and wisdom, and I knew right away that I wanted to highlight those aspects.

From there, I just started working along, writing in things that I need to feel strong about my creativity, reminders to “follow my gut,” and other qualities that I need to hang on to to follow my creative muse, whether it be in the pages of my Soul Journal, or in my writing endeavors.

Here’s a detail of some of the things in the middle. Parts are still difficult to see, even zoomed in. The writing on her torso reads (from left to right, beginning on her arm): Strength, sweat, follow your gut, and below that, on her belly, is: birth of great ideas. You can’t see it in the detail view, but on her head by her helmet, I also have inspiration, and protect those great ideas. I believe creativity takes both head and heart (or “gut feeling”) so for me, this still works. I have that dualism also in the pillar in this detail, consisting of both creativity and logic.

After working on this for a couple of days, although I liked what I had done very much, I also thought that perhaps I needed the “enemies” that she was fighting – things like procrastination, indifference, and the very voices of criticism that our “Soul Armor” is designed to protect us from. So I created a tissue paper overlay.

I used the stamps of a timepiece and compass without numerals or direction, and wrote the voices of my critic and other things that try to undermine my creative efforts.

Here’s what it looks like on top. Ick! right? I decided this just wouldn’t work – and hey, who needs those negative voices anyway? So even though I liked the concept, I really didn’t like how it turned out, so off it went!

Here’s the completed Soul Armor piece:

I made a few minor changes, like adding a larger map section just above her shield, adding a few more words, and highlighting a few more things.

“Lessons learned?” Well, I don’t like how much of the previous background still shows through. I wish I would have done more, in some manner, with the background – painted, colored, papered, done something. I also learned that rubber stamps don’t work so well on gesso’d and glued-down paper scraps. Next time, I’ll stamp on paper then glue that down, if I’m working on this kind of a surface.

But to return to the positive: I like how this project evolved for me, and took me in many different directions. I do feel strong now, after doing this, and I do feel confident – and hey – this is a biggie – I actually like what I’ve produced here! Hooray!

And I have to give credit where credit is due – and I even put it on my page.

Thanks, Sarah!

Thanks, Sarah!

The little white doggy in the corner, with the word “encourage” is for Sarah – her two cute white puppy dogs put in their appearance regularly at her blog, Caspiana – and I’m grateful for the encouragement she’s given to me through this project, and specifically, the Soul Armor exercise. Thanks, Sarah! 🙂

© amateur-in-art, 2008

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