I’m enrolled in the 21 secrets online art journaling course and one of the teachers is Traci Bunkers. I like her work and I own a copy of her book “The Art Journal Workshop”, which is a useful book for someone new to art journaling as she gives step by step instructions and photos of exactly how she produces her pages. Not surprisingly, when people are following her instructions in 21 Secrets they end up producing pages which are quite similar to hers (the same is true for most of the other teachers also).
I decided to (gently) send myself up a bit for copying her style. I hope you can read the text when you click on the page above. I was thrilled to find this statue of an angel who is covering her eyes, and she’s saying “This page is so derivative, I can’t bear to look. Please tell me she hasn’t included an Indian Goddess!!” Which of course, I have! Traci often seems to have an Indian deity, and also she often has a photo of herself, and she frequently is addressing herself in large stamped letters, like I have done on this page. Unfortunately I didn’t have any of Traci’s alphabet stamps ; she has produced her own sets which you can buy here:
Anyway, I admire Traci and am not meaning to make fun of her at all, only of myself, as she is not the only art journaler I have tried to copy (see my Teesha Moore inspired page here) However, once I had addressed myself sternly in stamped letters I began to argue with myself, because actually I think it’s fine to be copying the style of others when you are starting out in something, as I say on this page, I’m just following the ancient tradition of art students copying the masters in order to learn new skills. What do you think?
The prompt we were given in our art journaling class was to write about what might happen if we gave more time to our creativity. Since I already devote quite a lot of time, thought and energy to my art journal (my husband thinks I’m obsessed!) I ended up writing about whether or not it is Ok to do this. I have a couple of 1950’s New Zealand women’s weekly mags from which I collaged down a few housewifely ads and painted over them thinly. I recently bought this songbirds stencil which has seven birds in a tree. I had to buy it because I sing in a group called the Songbirds and there are seven of us!
I was working on this page alongside my friend Christine, and suddenly had the idea to get her to take a pic of me looking like a 1950’s housewife. I have a dustpan in one hand and a paintbrush in the other, and I’m contemplating my daily dilemma…shall I clean the house or play in my art journal? I must admit that the house cleaning hardly ever wins!
I have included a quote which is from Howard Thurman “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Art journaling makes me come alive, as I say on this page, “At this time in my life, this is my bliss and I am following it”.
I’ve signed up for 21 secrets , an online art journaling course this year. Some of the classes are great, while others haven’t really grabbed me, but I have tried painting in a way which is very different from anything I’ve done before. This was inspired by Connie Hozvicka’s class in which we were encouraged to just paint intuitively, not knowing where we were going with it. This is what I came up with. It looked like two seals watching sunrise on another planet. I just let it stay like this for a week or so, then I did a enquiring process similar to what we do in SoulCollage ie I asked the two “beings” who they were and wrote down what they seemed to be saying to me. This is what they said: We are the souls who are watching and waiting for the dawn We are serene, we are at peace with the cycles of the universe. When the shining one comes for us we will be reborn, on earth or some other galaxy. We know our eternal nature, we are outside space and time It does not matter how long we wait. We give you these gifts: PATIENCE, SERENITY, TRUST, ACCEPTANCE.
So it turned out they were SOULS not SEALS! Interesting how the subconscious works! Yes I know, it’s pretty cosmic, but hey, this is Byron Bay, spiritual heart of the east coast.
So anyway, I printed out what they said and stuck it on the page, darkened the edges of the page slightly with walnut ink, and there it is, finished.
I will definitely be trying this painting process again, it reminds me of the intuitive process of making a SoulCollage card. I love the idea that my intuition and or subconscious is leading me to create something significant and I don’t know what it is while I’m doing it. How cool is that!?
My daughter is living in London, has been there one year and will be there at least one more year. My son is living in Holland for at least 4 years, so of course I am missing both of them, although I know they are doing what they want to do and are happy, so that makes me happy! Anyway, I had created this background a while ago just using Portfolio watersoluble oil pastels and painting over them with gesso. This is one of my favourite background creating techniques, so quick, easy and satisfying!
My daughter works as a personal trainer in London and is being very successful. She has a strong Artemis/Diana archetype thing happening I think….ie she’s very focused (aims her arrow and off she goes), very outdoorsy and fit, and very independent, being quite happy with her own company and not really needing a relationship. I am very admiring of this (having always been much more of a codependent-must-be-in-relationship-or-I’m-nothing type of gal!) Sometimes I just look at her in wonder and think, “where have you come from, amazingly wonderful woman??”
For the top border I just painted some newspaper to tone in with my dress and cut it in a zig zag pattern, and I really like the effect. It gives a more energetic and focused edge to the page which was otherwise quite soft and floaty looking. Used my new alphabet stamp set that I bought in the Blue Mountains a few weeks ago, it’s a typewriter font.
I always thought focused had 2 s’s but my spell check keeps telling me no, so there you go, I was wrong!
I’ve discovered I need to add these pictures as medium, not full size as they take too long to load and you, gentle reader, might get impatient! But I gather that if you click on the picture you can see it full size, so that’s all good then!
“The Gods, the infinite ones, give everything to the ones they love, all joys, all sorrows, EVERYTHING to us, their beloved ones.” Goethe
This quote from Goethe, along with the William Blake painting “God creating the universe” was the inspiration for this journal page. It remained in this unfinished state (above) for many weeks. My original intention was to have many streams of bright colours coming down from God’s hand representing all the many life experiences, good and bad. Since the quote was “the Gods” plural, I decided to put some Greek and Roman gods in on the act, which was all going well until they all started bickering amongst themselves , as you can see below: (warning, swearing is involved) You’ll probably need to click on it to make it big enough to read anyway.
At this stage I realised that a bunch of really bright colours across the bottom was going to unbalance the whole colour composition so I just didn’t finish it for ages. Finally I had the idea to take some of the colours from the William Blake painting, and also from the purplish clouds, and use those colours for the coloured streams, and this is how it turned out:
I rather like the way it turned out now and I’m glad I finished it. For the border I think I just googled “Greek borders” and printed one out several times.
I’m not sure whether I find this quote comforting or not. I know the first time I heard it I was struck by it. I suppose in a way I celebrate the rich tapestry of life, I appreciate the many different experiences we are given, I understand that difficult experiences help us to grow, and naturally, at the same time I wish for only good things to come my way!