Sunday, November 14, 2010

Art journaling again

I've played in art journals for a long while now, sometimes it's a daily thing for me, sometimes less frequent.  There was a time when I pretty much always had a journal (and portable art kit) with me wherever I went.  I don't remember when I stopped doing that but it's been floating in and out of my mind recently and I want to recapture the habit.  ;o) 

The only regular art journaling I have indulged in this year has been a 121 project with my lovely friend, Elizabeth.  Elizabeth was a member of my altered art Yahoo group, Alter-NativeUK, and was an active player in many of the group swaps we had on there, happy days!  ;o)  Since the demise of the group Elizabeth and I were in touch pretty infrequently sadly so we decided to embark on the 121 project as a way to keep in touch more regularly and in a way that we both love - art journaling!  It has been a lovely way to stay in contact and be a part of each other's lives and I highly recommend it! 

This week I have reacquainted myself with various art journals in my studio, happily playing about with half started spreads and looking back over previous work, some funny, some factual, some just because and some very emotive.  It has sparked my art journaling enthusiasm and I am planning to dive back in to some regular play in a variety of journals ~ you didn't think I could just have one on the go, did you?!  So, for your viewing pleasure here's a spread in a journal that I used for some trial art journaling workshops with NACRO last year, there are plenty of empty pages begging to be filled still and, like this one, plenty of half started pages.  I added more layers and used Sharpies and chinograph pencil.  The poem is Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A Bible Story

Ok, it's 1.15am and I drank too much strong coffee at life class this evening so I'm going have a little ramble about one of my latest projects....

I have been asked to alter a family Bible!  It's one beast of a book, it weighs a ton!  Here it is in all it's glory...

It's a fair old age I would say, not sure quite how old, but it has certainly lost alot of it's gold tooling from the covers although the spine has retained rather more of it's golden loveliness...

Inside the Bible the pages are well preserved, good quality paper, nice text, very little age spotting....

...and there's illustrations and maps every so often throughout the text...

The spec for the work is very open, apart from the requirement of it being suitable for display both open and closed I pretty much have free rein to alter it as I see fit.  ;o)  What I want for the finished piece is for it to celebrate family roots, connections and beliefs, spiritually, emotionally and physically but not with any particular religious reference.  My current thinking is leaning towards a tunnel book of sorts, varying sizes of apertures viewable from both sides, individually, in groups and all together.

Earlier this week, whilst looking through the Bible, thinking about what I would do and where I would start I was delighted to discover a lock of hair...

No one knows who it belonged to but I have permission to use it in the work and I fully intend to.  ;o)

I'm very excited about the project and, to be honest, more than a little apprehensive!  I have never been commissioned to make a piece of work from such an item, such a personal item, and with such a wide open remit.  It will certainly be a challenge and there's no guarantee that the recipient won't hate it when I'm done but I don't plan on holding back, I'm hardly an artist in the "playing it safe" category now, am I, dear reader?  lol


Monday, November 01, 2010

Art journal snippets

This evening I was trolling through some images looking for something in particular and came across a collection of art journal snippets that I obviously photographed for some pertinent reason and then never used!   So, I thought I would share a few here.  ;o)  I haven't indulged in any altered text work for a while now but it pulls at me when I see old work.  Some of you die hard followers may recall I started altering a New Testament a few years ago, it's gathering dust in my studio but I think it may be time to drag it off the shelf!

One of the themes I'd like to (finally!) look at in more depth next year is self image.  It's an age old theme that has accompanied me through my life from my mid teens to the present day.  This year I contributed to Beauty in Every Form, forthcoming publication on the subject, by my friend, Richard Savage, and it is a deeply personal topic that I would very much like to explore more through my work.

I believe cross writing, whereby you write both horizontally and vertically on a page, was originally used years ago when writing letters to save paper but it is a technique I often employ when art journaling.  I favour Sharpie pens and a fast, frantic, stream of thought approach! 

I very often use my art journals for list making (there's a whole blog post or three in me on that topic me thinks!  lol), brainstorming and planning.  I always used to carry an art journal wherever I went but I realised the other day that I seem to have got out of that habit.  ;o(  That's something that needs rectifying!

Sitting under my desk in the studio on top of a little chest of drawers there are two books: The Roadmender by Michael Fairless (a pseudonymn for the author, Margaret Barber, who wrote it in 1902) and The Works of Longfellow.  They are both depleted, have pages hanging out and many a gap in them where I have used text from them in my artwork.  Another art journal technique I employ is, if I have the urge to add text to a page but not sure what, I will get one of the books out, randomly flick to a page and find what I'm looking for, even if I don't know what it is I'm looking for until I find it!  ;o)

Yes, I do believe a return to some regular art journaling is required right now!  ;o)