We haven't had too many rainy days this fall, so right now I'm enjoying a reprieve from outside chores. I got my desk cleaned off and immediately wanted to set everything out again - semi organized. After too many frazzled evenings, I had a great evening playing in various journals.
Flying pigs have become quite a folk art motif - at least around here - but I love them. I could fill my house and yard with flying pigs.
I hate to think it, but it might be the most apt theme for my life.
This weekend did not go as planned. Really.
I had cleaned off my desk, anticipating a very quite rest filled time with a little bit of art dabbling.
Hmmm... well. That didn't happen.
Some quick visiting with my brother (yay brother!). Some helping the new doggie remember where the appropriate place to potty is (not so yay). I over did some things, and then had to under do quite a bit.
I have big thoughts in my head about illness and art and being kind to yourself and self care and ambition but... all of that will wait.
No brain at all today, but still in motion. I don't have the links I want so I'll have to finish this post tomorrow, but - a peek - just a peek. Because as i've been brainlessly surfing Pinterest I saw not ONE but TWO little journals that made me stop everything and start hunting through my recycle pile (not my bin, my pile in my room). So now I have two little journals taking shape.
That's all I'm going to say until I can get the links sorted and find my brain.
I've been trying to control the impulse to start new journals until I "finish" the one's I'm supposedly using. Only, tonight I realized that I am actually using the old ones (for 29 faces, still a few spreads to fill) and my Fabriano journal (with experiments in impulses). I'm ignoring the couple of little project journals that are currently tucked away. They don't count in this discussion because their time will come. Blobs are murmuring amongst themselves. The project journal will have to wait until the weather gets rainy or colder. The family journal sputters along.
But I did want to fill up Fabriano before I moved on. It only seemed respectful. BUT... that is not to be.
Tonight, I had to. Move on, that is. I also had to eat some pie, but again, beside the point.
I have needs. (and yes, some are pie needs, but ignore that). Cut and paste and marker and ideas bumping around in my pinball of a head. Actually, I guess my head is the machine. The ideas are pinballs.
I've been in the yard spraying. This is only of those ideas. In between yard chores, I let loose with the spray. I'm spraying cereal and cracker and pasta boxes. Things with flaps and foldy bits. Big pieces, contorted pieces, you name it - it's got aerosol on it.
That's one idea getting slapped around.
Then I remembered I made a journal in an on-line class called 'Urban Notebook' with Dawn DeVries Sokol. I liked the journal, but it's been sitting on my -I like to make more journals than I use -shelf. It was officially outside my comfort zone.
I loved the big bold colors, I liked the use of trash materials (aside from the paint). But... the style, the style, the style. My voice is stilled. My eyes devour the color and my hands savor the feel. But my voice... I'm not sure what to say with this.
Now I know. I saw an article by Tracy Bunkers (aka Bonkers) in ART Journaling by Somerset Studio and a bell went off. Maybe because I have things I need to journal about illness that are not pretty portraits and gratitude and compassion. Although I want to do pretty portraits and be grateful and compassionate. But I need both those things, and the pinball in side my head hit all of that in a hailstorm of ideas (yes, mixed metaphor - tough).
Being on prednisone is kicking my butt. Not a lot of sleeping, not a lot of focus, on edge, restless in the middle of the night.
PERFECT JOURNAL TIME!!!!!! So I am letting go of my pretty version where I finish up each and every journal before I begin these new ones. That version is the one I'm trying to hold on to so I won't continue a lifelong pattern of launching into one after another soon to be unfinished project. But those time are not these times. SO ...
I am allowed to change. I am allowed to mature.
And I am allowed to cut and paste in the the middle of the night.
Yup. I am.
Someone seems to be lurking in the shadows.
I bought this Fabriano Venezia Art Book and I love the pages, but it currently isn't getting the attention it deserves. It's languishing on the shelf. I love the paper and how it opens, I just haven't taken the time to explore it. Maybe I feel I'm unworthy. I have issues I might need to explore. Please ignore me while I brood for a moment.
This large Bee Paper Aquabee Super Deluxe Sketchbook got a cover makeover by accident one day. I had paint I needed to use up and it wasn't paying close enough attention. I also tried out a new stencil, so I guess it's been named. So far, it's not answering to this, but I'm giving it time.
I admit I laugh when I read (which I could if I could see under the paint) Super Deluxe. I love these journals, but I would not call the paper Super Deluxe. I would call them Very Medium But Useful. All I know is they work for me. I carry a small one around in my backpack and it opens into just the right size. It's not so fancy that I feel my pen work is underutilizing the paper (like I do in the Fabriano one) nor too cheap for some watercolor. It's Very Medium But Useful.
But I digress, returning to the shelf, I was reminded that I needed to update my Uno journal.
So I did. But that's for another day.
Tuesday is round up day this week. After being away from home, it's always easy to forget all the projects that I'm half way through. (I'm not mentioning the laundry or the grocery shopping, or the unpacking,...) So I rounded them up (I have my priorities afterall). I'm going to try to get a handle on a few of them at least.
Included in this pile is a pair of pajamas that my daughter started for girl scouts several years ago. We might finish them for the other younger daughter, as a gift. Won't she be surprised!
I'm also working on a little reminder book for her to have in her dorm. To remember us poor lonely family members when she is away from us. Sniff sniff. WAAAAHHHH.
Plus Fred is waiting for his portait. I've been lazy. Distracted. Away from home. He's patient.
Plus plus plus. Oh, and I"ve started blobbing again. I'm going to slowly get them scanned in again and restart my blob blog (sidebar). That was jump started by some long plane flights.
Oh well. Plenty to do. Now what do I feel like?
I thought I'd go all crazy and post a picture of myself in the buff.
There I go again, laughing myself off my chair. Really. So here's one of the two tables I use. This one's at a window and has the best light. But it's small and I like to spread out. Plus, often I end up working at night, so...
So I have a big desk, that used to be a sewing table at a good height for cutting fabric. I love this table. It saved my back. I've carted it from house to house to house and I HATE moving it, but when I lay out my fabric and I don't have to stoop over, I fall in love all over again. But right now no fabric for me until my shoulder gets all fixed, so here is my meantime.
I spent the evening starting some kind of cover for that book block on the right. I keep doodling in it and throwing it in my bag and it's going to get even more raggedy, so ... I cut up some board and spend a bit of lovely time smearing paint and ink around. If it dries I'll show that tomorrow. Maybe.
I'm lucky enough to have a room of my own to play in. I call in my art room. I used to call it my sewing room, but I haven't done much sewing in here the last couple years so it's been renamed. That and the ridiculous quantity of art supplies. Craft supplies perhaps.
I digress. In my art/craft room I have two tables. This is one of them. It's first role in our house was a diaper changing table. At the time, we weren't financially situated such that I could justify buying a piece of furniture whole function was designed to change diapers. It just wasn't going to happen. We were in a used furniture store and I saw this with the lip running around and said, yup and it rolled home. Which is good because the first child made much use of this table. The second potty trained herself at two almost overnight and the last was taken overseas where he spent most of his time being changed on a towel on the floor (since I wasn't going to ship a table or buy a new table there). Nor did he have a crib, poor boy. He made do with a pack n play. And yet he runs around all normal like with the other kids. You gotta wonder.
I digress again. I have a table. This is the table. It is covered with art projects. The outer ring of projects are for one of the on-line classes I'm taking - Carla Sonheim's Flower Crazy. They're done on wood panels and I've never worked on wood panels. I'm feeling all daring. That is I was until I saw the artwork of one co-student in particular and all I can say is holy moly. There is a true art spirit. What a pleasure and delight. I just can't wait till she posts each of her work. She really is daring (within the confines of an on-line art class).
I keep digressing. The ring of panels. Center stage is a hat. This baseball hat has seen better days. It's gotten pretty grimy. So I've decided to give it a little facelift. Last year I ordered a bunch of fabric paint and did a couple projects with them during the summer, but they've been dormant since then. I've decided they need some exercise. So I'm giving them a workout on this hat. I might hate it because I usually do when I try something without a plan, but we'll see. Maybe I have a germ of an idea of a plan in the back of my mind.
I have a second desk. It's actually a cutting table that I bought for all the fabric cutting I used to do. Which has saved much backache so I begrudge none of the expense of this table . Cheap though I may be for a diaper table, I will apparently spare no expense for a cutting table - see the values? On this table I am in the midst of assembling two"rescued" books. I don't really think of them as rescued, but I wanted to take this on-line class by Diana Trout called Rescued Books, so I took two perfectly good but completely boring and yes - fated to oblivion books and destroyed them - totally ripped their guts out. So they can hardly be described as rescued since I'm the one who threw them overboard to begin with. Boring does not mean dead. But now, although they might not be rescued, they will certainly be revitalized. Having gutted them, I am gathering a plethora (which is a good word) of materials to stuff them with. Some is good old watercolor paper. Some of it is paper I have smashed with paint. Then there are some envelopes, paper bags, folders - you get the picture. I'm trying to avoid copier paper, but other than that anything goes. I've had enough of copier paper for art projects for the moment. I want to be able to work with wet and not end up with wildly distorted pages.
Above, along with the two Revitalized Journals, there is (in the upper left corner) my stack of notebooks that I'm using for another on-line class topped by a small funky pamphlet style journal I threw together one night and am starting to doodle in. Then (in the upper right corner) is another Flower Crazy project) and finally the journal with GRACE written boldly is actually my IFJM journal which is almost totally full since we are near the end of IFJM, sadly, and, happily, I have been a good girl and kept at it all month. Not feeling pressure to do something everyday (which was not my goal) but do work regularly (which was) and to be consistent with my focus (another goal). So I'm feeling successful about that.
I might be going in too many directions at once. I have a plan, amd this is it. Finish the Revitalized books (perhaps this weekend). Finish the on-line classes as scheduled (the next couple of weeks). Paint the hat. Wear the hat, or not, depending. IFJM ends on Montday and I'll probalby wrap up by Wednesday or so. One by one they will drop away, only to be replaced by other projects (I have some in mind). So here's how I think of it. I have three kids. Sometimes that seems like a lot (not to the mom with five or twelve, but to me, sometimes it seems like a lot). But when I'm talking to one, i make sure I'm just talking to that one in that moment. I try to be present for each of them for that time when they need me, which as it turns out isn't that much. (It was when they were nine-months or two years.) So each of these projects is getting concentrated attention when I feel like working on that. Because I am a rich woman. I have an art ooom, and they can just sit there until I come back for them. How marvelous is that!
The last two weeks, I've been participating in Daisy Yellow's Creativity Queue Challenge. I think it's a good idea to pause for a moment (but only for a moment, apparently) and think about what this has done for me.
It is a sad fact that I have many MANY unfinished projects. Mostly, this doesn't actually make me sad. But I have several friends who shake their head when they see just some of my UFO's (if they only knew how many more there were, I think I might be able to elicit some gasps). My UFO's mostly don't bother me because I think many of them served a purpose at the time, and the purpose may not have had anything to do with having a finished project. But now and then I do look at my mass of trailed off items and think, maybe I should....
So participating in this challenge did indeed lead me to finish, or work toward finishing a couple of those projects. I pulled out a knitting project, and although it isn't done, I was able to plan what needs to happen to finish it, and I'm working on it steadily. I got two pieces of art ready to display. I cleaned up various corners of my art space. These were all good things.
Another aspect of the challenge was getting to see other people working on their queue. That was more fun than I expected (mostly because I didn't have any expectations, so ...) I felt like I had a chance to run around to other ladies creative spots and peek at their projects. I always like peeking. And since in our household we're working on developing our ninja powers, this sneaking and peeking was all part of larger training regime.
But the part I appreciated most about this challenge was that it allowed me to look at where I'm putting my energy through a different lens. Am I focusing on what I really want to be doing, or am I getting bogged down by "shoulds" I set for myself and haven't let go of? I realized, for example, that I really want to do some more sewing right now. But instead of launching into yet another new project, I found a couple of old ones that will let me review some sewing skills and get my sewing supplies in order without a huge shifting of space and effort. I finished a pillow slip cover. I have some half-made purses I'm now putting together. All the supplies were already bought. Just needed to sit down and do it. When I put these projects away, I was feeling overwhelmed by not knowing how to move forward with them (either in terms of technique or style). This time, I felt so free to experiment and play, and apparently my little brain was working on some technical problems, because I just sailed through those previous roadblocks.
I'm glad that I took the time and effort to participate in this challenge.
Now, I still have a long list in my Creativity Queue, so instead of dropping the challenge altogether, I plan to keep going and see where it leads me. Focusing on one or two projects has helped me get traction and feel productive.
Plus I still have that knitted blanket to finish.
I start each day reading a little news and some political/economic commentary. When I stopped working full-time and started being a care-giver (for little people and parents), I had a day when I think I talked and thought about nothing but food and poo. Bo and I met some friends for dinner and I realized I had nothing to talk about. Someone asked me if I'd read anything interesting recently, and I could feel myself staring at them with a big blank in my head. So I started making a point of reading what I could just to shake my head up a little. If nothing else, the rattle was entertaining.
A year ago, during my hiatus, I dipped my toe in the world of blogs, and got hooked. So now along with my mental exercise, each morning I read a few blog posts of people who inspire me. Starts the day out on a good note.
This morning I read Roz Stendahl's blog and she talks about journal choice. She points out how important the physical characteristics of your journal can be, how it can influence what you do and how you feel about it. I have found Roz, as a very experience (and opinionated) journal keeper, has helpful insight into the entire process of journaling. This has been invaluable to me. I don't have to do what she does (and she in no way suggests I or anyone do), but her very detailed discussion of different aspects has shed light on some unproductive habits I have (both in thought and action).
It's been a little more than a year since I started journaling. I say journaling, rather than doing art, because it was the shift to journaling that let me do art. When I started keeping a journal and drawing my cats, instead of thinking of making a piece of art (for which I felt woefully unskilled), I could make a series of sketches in my journal that let me explore drawing and this made me feel comfortable. I continue to sketch my cats, but I was able to do other things in my journal, since it was just a little journal. I really enjoyed (and enjoy) trying something, and then just turning the page and trying something else. They don't have to be connected or planned or anything.
A year later and I am still exploring what journaling means to me. I love seeing other people's journals, the myriad ways people express themselves. Often they give me insights to what I can or would like to try to do. Sometimes they affirm what I am doing. But sometimes they make me feel raw and undeveloped. I have to guard myself against that, and that itself has been a good exercise for me.
I'm grateful that I began journaling. I'm grateful for all the ladies that have contributed to my knowledge by sharing their experience.
I took a picture of all the journals I've used this year (and a few loose sheets). Each of these journals have taught me something. The first few were complete and total explorations. Later in the year I gave myself the challenge of "using up" a couple journals. I had bought these many years ago, written or drawn an page or two and then set aside. Using these and filling them gave me an incredible sense of accomplishment (talk about items on a Creativity Queue). From using so many different kinds of paper, I began to understand what characteristics I liked and wanted to use again. Sometimes the paper forced me to do more drawing. Sometimes it really encouraged a more mixed-media approach. During the last year, often the paper dictated the choices I made.
Now however, reading Roz's post on journal selection, I know that I have learned enough to begin to make choices not to satisfy some past impulsive choice, but because I want to explore the journal in a specific way. I have a better sense of the medium I want to use and how I want to use it. All of this is exciting for me. I can see that that excitement breeds more exploration and experimentation and that is exciting too.
Happy Creativity Queue everyone!