Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Leaf from my Art Journal ~ Early Light and Emergence

"Simple, Beautiful Ideas"
Today I uploaded a YouTube video of my altered art journal which you can view here. I created this journal last month from an old Chris Madden decorating manual. It was one of those types of books that is heavy on the writing but there were very few colored photos. Even though some of the decorating advice is outdated, I hung onto the book because it was such a nice size for a small art journal. Lately, I've enjoyed working in the square format in several altered art journals, including my pictures for the 100 Face Challenge (see my latest blog entry). The small space is less intimidating, and I find myself working very quickly through the pages. I filled half my art journal up in a couple days. 

In the past two weeks, I continue working on blank pages and adding details to others I've already done. I try not to concern myself about making a page "finished", but simply do as much as I want to for a little while, working on multiple pages at a time. 

I love this Star Fruit Stamp
To create the art journal, I took out several pages to reduce bulk using a utility knife. The remaining pages were doubled up using Mod Podge. This created thicker pages. Many pages were also sealed with Mod Podge for the first layer. Some were gessoed as well.

"Early Light" is an inspirational layout exploring color and meditating on God
I've been cutting out many grids lately, influenced by Daisy Yellow's Grid collage. I blogged about this process here. I also cut out images that captured a certain feeling and played with color combinations. The "Early Light" layout, for instance, captures that dreamy feel of sunrise, when you are first waking up and things feel fresh. I even loved using things like the "renew" tag from my morning ginger tea.

This sentimental quote is by Patience Strong from a vintage Ideals magazine
I was able to express visually what is hard to put into words as well. "Early Light" touches on things of the Spirit, but also memories of my late mom. I know I bring her up often on my blog, probably because art touches those deep places of our hearts, including memories of loved ones and even pockets of grief. 

D for Doris, my late mother
I picked up little scraps from my art table when putting this together, including this scrap of alphabet washi tape with the letter D. I put this in the garden with peaceful statue. The words peeking through speak of an "abundance of pillows" (a sign of rest) and this line:

Serene ~ The serene woman likes to spend time quietly enjoying her surroundings. 

Crochet Lace and other bits fill this "mood board"
Another page dealt with some of these themes of loss. "Emergence" is a busy hodge podge of elements. I struggled to find ways to unify them, and ended up using a lot of repetition. It still feels very full, crowded and busy, but this actually reflected my mood at the time. I was full of bottled up thoughts and emotions.
Emergence ~ A Key Word for This Season of Life
 My mom Doris was a crafter and artist in her own right. She saw beauty even in common things, and tried to find ways to use them. Like a magpie, she hoarded anything that sparkled or shined. I found these hearts in several envelopes in her craft stash after she died. They were cut from plastic packaging, potato chip bags, etc. She organized them by color with labels like "Orange Shiny Hearts for Fall Crafts", etc. I lay them on my lap and the hearts just spilled out of the packaging. And of course the tears rolled down because it felt like she was sending me a love letter even though she was gone, or hearts were sprinkling from heaven. 
Mom's Stash of Hearts
I kept these hearts for probably a year before I could feel emotionally ready to actually craft with them. I knew I wanted to use some in this autumn journal, though. I used my hot glue gun to adhere them to the art journal page. I knew the hot glue would react to the plastic, which it did. The hot glue caused the packaging to crinkle and even shrink slightly. But I used the texture to my advantage. When I run my finger across these hearts, they make a nice crinkly sound. I outlined the hearts with black paint and made white dots and scallops with a white fluid correction pen.

Chipboard Star from Happy Mail
This funny-faced creature was something from my own stash. I made her from different arty papers. Originally I had cut her hair to represent leaves or grass, but somehow they morphed into hair. When she finally found a home in this art journal spread, I realized this funky lady was actually a self portrait of me when I get out of bed in the morning. This is exactly how I look and feel. 
Yawn....time to wake up
This page was originally discussing pillows, so I added to this theme with pillows and a purple flower bedspread cut from origami paper (another happy mail treasure).

Stay in bed or change the world? Hmmmm......
Again, though, the dark colors spoke of emerging from a dark place of grief as well. Or perhaps from my tendency to hide myself away. The bed also reminded me of my years as a caregiver for my mom. One of my tasks was to be sure she had enough pillows to prop herself up in bed. 

When I revisited the page, I added the word Change. The cramped nature of the composition reminds me of a tight cocoon, or a mind busy with crowded thoughts. I know it's time in my life to emerge, change and ultimately grow. 

Time to Change
If you've read this far, I thank you for taking the time to hear the stories behind the images. I will continue to experiment with collage because the act of bringing together disparate things - things that do not seem to belong together - can sometimes create a unifying theme or idea or tell a story...even one deeply hidden that needs to see the light of day. 

So my friends, remember to allow room for emergence and change in your lives as well. 

Sandra Lee