Complementary Messes

So it turns out that of all the 21 Secrets  “Make a Mess Magic” spreads that I did, I love the purple and yellow combination the most. Here is my finished spread, which I called “The Goddess of Paradox”. As with all my blog posts, click on the image to see a larger version. I’ve been scrolling the net lately for paintings which are out of copyright and it just so happens that I adore old paintings anyway,  especially 19th century paintings with women or goddesses paradoxin them! This one spoke to me about how relaxed she feels about living with Paradox (she does look relaxed doesn’t she!!?) and about how she contains multitudes and many opposing  contradictory characteristics, and she’s fine with that. And so am I.

I include here my process: first I made a mess using purple and yellow paint. Not only some interesting shades of brown but also some olive greens emerged, who knew?purple-and-yellow-mess

Then I did some stencilling in a dark olive green and a very light yellowy white. I started to love the page at this point.   I searched my images of paintings and found this wonderful woman who had some pale purple tones on her body and i knew she was perfect. I sponged a darker area underneath where I was going to stick her, so she would stand out and also tone in better to the background.

purple-and-yellow-stencilledFinally I dialogued with her to find out what she wanted to tell me, just as I do in SoulCollage, and with most of my art journal spreads.

She said she is the Goddess of paradox and she got me thinking about how I have many opposite characteristic as part of me, so i wrote some of these in tiny letters amongst the Flower of Life stencilling across the bottom of the page. I guess we all contain multitudes, I suspect you do too! Thanks for visiting my blog, here’s a bit of Walt Whitman to finish: “Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)”



The Joy of the Sea

joy-of-the-seaA few minutes drive from where I live the Brunswick River joins the sea at Brunswick Heads, and throughout summer and autumn I like to swim everyday in the river, at high tide if possible. Sometimes in spring and early summer it’s cold getting in, so I have a little ritual that I do. As I dive in I ask for the “Joy of the Ocean” to be mine, and I imagine the joy that all the sea creatures, especially dolphins and fish must have as they glide and leap about in the sea, and that I am receiving all that joy into my body. Somehow this stops me feeling so cold. Slightly. I imagine that I am asking this of the Goddess of the Sea. Anyway, this spread turned out to be about that.

I’ve bought several 21 Secrets online art journaling courses now. As I think I’ve mentioned, some of the classes are inspiring and others not so much. I bought the Spring 2015 class largely because Roxanne Coble was one of the teachers. I made this page after I watched her videos. I know it’s not really very like her work, but well, my own thing started happening, so I just went with it. I decorated a separate page of watercolour paper with stencils and paint and gel pens, using the same colour scheme  as my spread, and cut this paper up to use as collage. Roxanne was working in an old altered book which had some black and white photos in it. As I was just working on a blank page in my Strathmore art journal and not an altered book,  I collaged down some old photos and other images before I started painting. I was loving my colour scheme, and even though i tried really hard to paint in some black areas , as Roxanne is fond of doing, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it in the end. That dark Prussian blue was the darkest i wanted to use. I sponged an area of Prussian blue on which to glue my focal image of the underwater ballet dancer, so that she would stand out against the background. Here is the collaged page before I started adding paint: thank you for visiting my


A Pop Up experiment

snake page top Snake page side 2 snake page front Snake page sideI decided to try a Pop up page in my art journal…it’s a new year, time to try new things! I followed some instructions I found on youtube for making pop ups. This is a spiral pop up, not very hard to do really. I decorated it to look like a snake..I had to do the underbelly as well  because part of that can be seen. It all lies down flat when you close the book, pretty neat huh!?

I also experimented with trimming of the lower right hand edge around a collaged snake, so you can see the black of the page behind it. I used some home made  foam stamps in the background. The Minoan snake goddess has square shapes on her skirt, so I echoed those by using square foam stamps in the background., as well as some spiral stamps I made to echo the snakey shape.

It was fun doing the pop up, I think I’ll try some other pop ups at some point. I’m trying to learn some more art journaling skills and techniques to teach in my Heroine’s Journey course….but more about that in my next post. Happy New Year!

Pages with Doors

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!

Some more past journal pages

I still have a small backlog of journal pages that I want to post about before I am up to date. This first one I called “science  fiction fan” When I was younger I used to read quite a bit of Sci Fi, when I was at Uni and up until my early thirties. I don’t read it much these days, though I do still enjoy a good sci fi movie. In our art journaling class Zom gave us a prompt to write about some UNUSUAL things that we were into. Sci Fi was one of the things I thought of because it is usually read more by men/boys than women. At least I imagine it is. Anyway, her prompt got me thinking and so I ended up writing a piece about my history of being an SF fan starting with watching Superman and The Twilight Zone as a child, and reminiscing about some of the great books I have read. I pasted this little essay around the edges as a border.

It seems appropriate that I am using my first ever art journal to answer the question “Who am I?” in myriad ways. But I suppose that is mostly what people are doing in their art journals, exploring aspects of themselves.

Another prompt that we were given was, if you had another lifetime what would you study? An interesting question, with of course, more than one answer! I made a whole list of things, but the one I chose to make a page about was “Ancient Mysteries”. Here it is:

The reason I chose this one was because I had already created this background, and it looked kind of ancient and seemed to fit. We made the background in the art journaling class in this way: 1. we ripped pages from old encyclopedias that had something to do with the prompt ie, what you would like to study, and stuck them down..

2. Then we stamped over them with gesso using some of Zom’s home made foam stamps.  3. We painted all over with one colour (I used burnt umber), and wiped some of it off so you could see the stamped patterns.  4. When dry, we painted a second colour over all and rubbed that back too. (I used gold)

I LOVED this background, but I thought it was so beautiful I’d never want to put anything over it! And what would show up on such a busy background anyway!?

After a couple of weeks I went ahead with the Ancient Mysteries theme and I liked how it turned out. I printed out some writing I did about the topic and made the paper look like old parchment by painting it with a wet tea bag and ripping/burning the edges. This was really lots of FUN. I had a feeling that black and white writing would stand out the best for the heading and I think that worked quite well.

Looking at both of these pages it is a little bit like they are school projects, with the big fancy headings and pictures and writing stuck down. I guess that’s Ok, I don’t really mind that. This journal is primarily for me, and I’m happy with these pages, I like the way they look and I got a lot out of the actual process of exploring these parts of me.