I have a new, smaller art journal A5 size. I bought it to be a kind of “trash” journal in which I could try out new techniques and not be too concerned about how the pages turned out. Zom encouraged me in this because, as she rightly pointed out, I am now becoming increasingly reluctant to take risks in my large A4 journal, as it now has so many pages I’m happy with and is three quarters finished.
Having said all that, I am already fairly happy with my first 2 pages in this small journal. The one above is about the good things, and the bad things about having a Methodist minister as my father. I made the background using Dylusions spray inks, and a Cathedral stencil from Artist Cellar. In fact, I made the background just to try out my new stencils, and the Cathedral window design got me thinking about my upbringing in the church.
As you can see the girl has a stained glass window skirt, and she’s wearing Exeter Cathedral on her head! It was interesting for me to write down some of the things I’m grateful for with my churchy childhood, and also some of the bits I wasn’t so happy about.
I belong to a women’s group that meets very infrequently (although we all love it when we do meet) This page was inspired by a meeting we had a couple of weeks ago when we were talking about Eckhart Tolle and trying just to allow ourselves to witness our thoughts and not get attached to them. Not as easy as it sounds! One of our members lovely 25 year old daughter died one year ago in a fire in Paris. We all so admire how she has dealt with this unimaginable tragedy, and one of the main things she does to survive is not attach to her thoughts but just keep returning to the present moment. Listening to her speak makes me resolve to do this more also, after all, my thoughts must be very petty compared to hers. I used the image of the thoughts drifting into my mind through a window, and I just watch them as they pass through and allow them to float out the door.
To create this page, I took a photo of my own eyes. First I tried fading it out to black (on photoshop) but it looked like I was wearing a burka, so then I faded it out to skin colour. Then I cut it out and blended it into the page more with acrylic paint. The window had a light brown surrounding, and the door a dark brown, so I tried to match this with paint to blend them into the page and then blended both browns into the skin colour above. This was quite difficult, I have trouble with acrylic paint it seems to dry so fast, before you have a chance to blend it! Then I wrote some examples of the kinds of thoughts I might be likely to have. I must say, I am pleased with this page, I like the way my funny little eyes are floating up there, I love the window and door and I love that this page is really meaningful to me as a reminder to summon up my witness more often!
To finish this post I will leave you with a quote from Eckhart Tolle (who I consider one of the great teacher/philosophers of our time)
“Be present as the watcher of your mind — of your thoughts and emotions as well as your reactions in various situations. Be at least as interested in your reactions as in the situation or person that causes you to react. Notice also how often your attention is in the past or future. Don’t judge or analyze what you observe. Watch the thought, feel the emotion, observe the reaction. Don’t make a personal problem out of them. You will then feel something more powerful than any of those things that you observe: the still, observing presence itself behind the content of your mind, the silent watcher.”
A while ago I bought a book for my sister called “Creative Paint workshop for Mixed Media Artists” by Ann Baldwin. It’s very inspiring so I’ve borrowed it and don’t look like giving it back anytime soon (mwah ha ha!) Oops, my sister has subscribed to this blog and now knows my evil plan. Anyway, this page was inspired by that book. I tried to use layers of acrylic glazes but I don’t really know what I’m doing with acrylic paints and it didn’t turn out the way I expected (or anything like Ann Baldwin’s) It’s OK though. I’ve included a photo I took last July in the Tower of London chapel as I loved the way the light was streaming in. There are several layers of collage, black and white medieval designs and buildings, and some coloured collage on the top layer. I bought a calligraphy felt pen and enjoyed using that on this page.
It is true that I have always loved medieval things (and also renaissance) I love the buildings, the churches, the clothes, the art, the music, the OLDNESS. In Australia we don’t have buildings older than 200 years so when we arrived in Europe last year, I was running around Utrecht (where my son is living) exclaiming over the OLDNESS of things. The canals there date from the 11th century! I’m not sure why I find oldness so interesting, I just do! Does anyone else feel that way?
A while ago in our art journaling class with Zom we made some pages with either a door or a window opening through to the next page….or at least, like most pages I’ve done, we started them in class and finished them at home. Here are my pages, first with the door closed, then with it open so you can see through it to the page behind.
This was the first page I had done with a black gesso background, but it won’t be the last. I love the way the pictures seem to arise out of the darkness. The words are from the “Charge of the Goddess”. I printed out 2 copies of the medieval door and stuck one directly on the other side of this one, so the door opens from both sides of the page.
When the door is open you can see the gorgeous painting of the “Virgin with Angels” by Bouguereau which I think is my favourite painting of Mary. I cut the Goddess stamp from an eraser.
I didn’t really think too much about my choices of images here, just followed my instinct but I suppose I’m showing two different faces of the Goddess here. Here is the next page:
As you can see I was going for a lighter, more “heavenly” look here with sky blue and white clouds. Actually I didn’t really like the circle of clouds once I had done them, partly because I mixed the paint with a Flow medium by Jo Sonja’s which turned out to be gloss. Yuck, I hate gloss in my journal…if anyone wants my Jo Sonja’s flow medium you can have it, I won’t be using it again.
What I do love is when you open the door and see the dark goddess with the snake, again, two faces of the Goddess. The writing on the left is the message of the Virgin of Guadaloupe as cited in Clarissa Pinkola Estes new book “Untie the Strong Woman”. Being brought up as a protestant (Methodist) minister’s daughter I never had much of a relationship to Mary, we thought that was a weird Catholic obsession, but I found this message strangely moving, “Have you forgotten, I am your mother, you are not alone….” Since I have become more into the sacred feminine in recent years I can feel a closer connection to Mary now than I ever have before. Though I have always loved some of the beautiful musical versions of Ave Maria. Especially the version by Franz Biebl…check it out on youtube sung by Chanticleer…I saw these guys sing this in Brisbane in 1997 and I’ve never been the same since!