Autumn tree page

Autumn TreeAutumn leaves stencilAutumn tree background 2Autumn Tree poemThis is a page from my small journal in which the prompt was to imagine that we were part animal or plant. So I turned my self into an autumn tree (yes it looks a bit creepy!), and this prompted me to write a poem about reaching the autumnal years (see end of post for the poem)

I could not fit the whole poem on this small page, so I just wrote a few phrases of it and decided that I would make another autumn tree page in my larger journal.

I cut this stencil from waxed stencil paper and used it with gesso. On the left page I used the leaves as a mask, painting gesso all around them. On the right page I used the stencil, painting gesso only inside the leaf shapes.

Then I painted a couple of autumnal colours over both pages, wiping it back as I went, the gessoed areas resisting the paint and ending up lighter. This is the classic gesso resist technique that I have used quite a lot.

I found a few autumn leaves online and printed them out to make a bit of a leafy border, then wrote my poem.


Here is the poem:


I am becoming an Autumn Tree

I am becoming an autumn tree
My leaves no longer greenly, perkily lifting
Toward the sun
My limbs sometimes creaky in the wind,
All my seeds have floated away and now bloom
In far off lands
My blossoms have lost the blush of youth
And I foresee the day when my leaves will fall, one by one
Into the silence of winter.

And yet, the sap still pulses in my veins,
the breeze still sings in my branches,
and my leaves, Ah my leaves are a blazing torch,
lighting up my corner of the forest.
I offer my gifts to those who come searching,
Vermilion and crimson, russet and gold,
The autumn illuminates me, I am aglow
with the wisdom of many seasons,
and my autumn song may yet become
the sweetest of them all.

Recent pages in my A5 journal

I seem to be using my A5 size journal as my more experimental one these days, where I try out things at my art journal class with Zom. This is the page I did last week….our prompt was simply to write about our favourite number! Not something I’d thought about much, but it only took me a few seconds to realise it was 8, I’ve always liked it, probably because its in   my birth date, 18th. It also makes me think of a crimson colour, not sure why. Anyway, no doubt  this is all fascinating to you but I really want to tell you about this page because I’m proud of it.

The process: used Zom’s idea of cutting out a stencil of the number and gessoing around it. Then painted the page with red and wiped much of it off. The paint takes to the ungessoed parts of the page very differently, so the eights really stand out. Painted a watery purple over the whole page and wiped it back. Then I used the negative part of the stencil I had cut to make some white eights. I had also painted some red and purple on a spare sheet of paper, then used a stencil and dylusions spray inks on this. I scanned the result and reduced it in size, printed it out and cut the large decorated eight from it.  Then I cut borders from the original piece of stencilled paper. Somehow it became necessary for me to be on the page “presenting” my friend,  the large eight. I would never have thought of devoting a whole page to a number, but I’m pleased with what I did here and the harmony of the colours and patterns.

Here is another recent page in my small journal. The inspiration for this page was the black and white photo of the Indian woman who seemed to be looking so meaningfully at me. This is a page about the sort of older wise woman or crone that I would like to be. For the heading I printed the words out on the laser printer and made a transfer onto clear sticky tape.The angel is from some old wrapping paper.

I seem to use a lot of angels in my art journal! I started this page in class, we had to use a credit card to apply paint in some way. I swooped some gold paint on this blue background and they reminded me of angel wings. Also it just happened that I had put this poem by Hafiz up on the fridge that week, to remind me that I probably still could have many gifts and talents that I haven’t even discovered or used yet…I love that idea! I cut the gold border to echo the triangular shapes in the backgound. The angel has one wing which comes out from the page 3 dimensionally, but you can’t really see that from this photo. Here is the entire Hafiz poem:

There are so many gifts
Still unopened from your birthday,
There are so many hand-crafted presents
That have been sent to you by God.
The Beloved does not mind repeating,
“Everything I have is also yours.”
Please forgive Hafiz and the Friend
If we break into a sweet laughter
When your heart complains of being thirsty
When ages ago
Every cell in your soul
Capsized forever
Into this infinite golden sea.
A lover’s pain is like holding one’s breath
Too long
In the middle of a vital performance,
In the middle of one of Creation’s favorite
Indeed, a lover’s pain is this sleeping,
This sleeping,
When God just rolled over and gave you
Such a big good-morning kiss!
There are so many gifts, my dear,
Still unopened from your birthday.
O, there are so many hand-crafted presents
That have been sent to your life
From God.

~ Hafiz ~

She likes to be admired

I am totally in love with this aqua-blue colour at the moment and I’m telling you now, you have not seen the last of it in my art journal. Started this page in our art journal class a couple of weeks ago. Zom our teacher has gone overseas now and there won’t be another class until mid October, Godverdomme (that’s Goddammit, one of the only words I know in Dutch). How dare she have a life away from us! Anyway, this page started with the curtains…it was actually an ad for sanitary napkins! It inspired me to think about the part of me that likes to be admired, so I wrote down some of the things that I have been praised for over the years, from childhood through to the present day.

Have you ever done an enneagram test? I’ve done several different ones over the years, and I’ve mostly turned out to be a number 2 (people Pleaser/ Helper) but a few times I’ve come close to being a number 3, the Achiever (who loves to be admired!). Strangely I did a test recently and I was clearly a number 7 (the optimist) which I’ve never been before, so this must be something I have grown towards. I feel rather pleased about this, in an ignorant sort of way though, since I don’t actually know much about the enneagram. Anyway, the number 3 part of me does like to get praise and admiration and I do feel slightly embarrassed admitting this, though I don’t know why because I imagine just about everybody likes it, even if they don’t admit it. My sister Kathryn remembers me at about 3 years old twirling around in a circle of family who were admiring me in my new outfit, which would have been sewn by my mother. So actually they were really admiring HER and her clever sewing, but I’m sure I was feeling the admiration!

How I made the page (for the art journalers out there): First, painted the page with aqua acrylics, paler in the centre. Then used a plastic lace table cloth piece given to me by Fran from our class (thanks Fran) as a stencil and sprayed it with dylusions turquoise spray ink.  Loved the effect! Stuck on the curtains and clouds. Went home and googled “vintage dancer” and found this copyright free image. She was black and white, I printed her out and painted her before cutting her out and sticking her down. Found a font that looked a bit 30’s and copied down the heading in that font using a Posca paint pen, then wrote on the right hand page all the things for which I have been praised over the years. I haven’t used vintage images in my journal  before but I love this one and probably will use some more in future. I am very happy with this page for lots of reasons, the colours, the stencilling, the image, the curtains and the insights that I had about myself. Thanks for listening!