Life Before Facebook

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My friend, whom I have known since middle school, and I were talking recently about how different things were when we were kids.  I look at my two oldest children versus my youngest child…(I have a 15 yo, an almost 13 yo, and a 4 yo) … and I am amazed by the differences in … so many things.  As my mother says, it is almost as if kids today are being born pre-wired to pick up devices and start working on/playing with them.

I have been talking about leaving facebook for awhile.  I have taken that step where I am not on facebook at all for extended periods of time…this after having given myself a time limit (five minutes, no more) in order to participate in different groups or to post or whatever…five minutes per day…usually five minutes per week.  I haven’t missed it at all.

This past week–the entire household, minus the toddler for the most part– was ill.  You can tell by the lack of my posting here that — I didn’t touch my computer.  Seriously.  It wasn’t, oh, I’ll check my email real quick, or anything like that.  It was a total disconnect.

It felt pretty good.  My only issue is — yahoo does not like it when I try to purge my email more than a couple emails at a time.  So I have this build up of email that I have sitting there that I cannot look forward to sitting down to in one session and just mass deleting anything.  Other than that…I’m pretty ok with having been completely off line…for nearly a week.  Now, there are family members with whom I communicate via email regularly that I have missed talking to … and I owe them emails…but at least I did let them know what was going on.

Now, there is actually one reason I will not delete my facebook account completely–teenagers in the house.  I need to be able get to my kids’s facebook accounts whenever necessary, but otherwise, my intention is to stay off facebook — I have let go of groups and as much other as I can.

And other than facebook?

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I have trouble reading lately.  Books.  I feel more and more like my grandmother every day.  I remember later in her life, my grandmother and her magnifying glass.  Recently, I found a beautiful magnifying glass, with octopus tentacles as the handle, on sale–and now I use that periodically.  I have also found this … disconnect … where if I haven’t had a real book in my hand for awhile (due to toddler belligerence mostly)it does take awhile for my eyes to adjust to reading.

To aid my desire to read more, off line, I have stopped using my ipad for the most part.  I no longer peruse my normal sites for news, gossip and fandom wares.  I have deeply curtailed my ipad use  to save my eyes.  This has been and continues to be an on-going process.  I know that the digital screens and my eyes are not so compatible.

Another thing I have begun lately is limiting my time surfing while on my laptop as well.  If I need an image to inspire a sketch or something, I give myself five, maybe ten minutes.  If I don’t have one in that time, I’m done.

I have cut back on nearly all social media.  I deleted my original, personal pinterest account.  I did create another one, for my own edification, as well as for keeping up with my kid.  I’ve just not done a while lot with it yet.  The same goes for instagram.

I am working on the websites, yes, but this blog is my focus. And one that indeed does and will be laid aside when sickness arises.  Sad as I may be to say that.

I remember life as a teenager: the boom box, the radio playing, books and more books.  No computers.  No computers in my life until the 90s, when the ex introduced me.  Much like video games, my brain is not well-geared for such things.  I prefer the fantastic world of books–and of movies, which are also few and far between for me of late, again due to toddler intervention–even many of my documentaries are not exactly toddler friendly.  And since we are still working to adjust sleep patterns since my partner finished his PMBA program, I cannot find the time to watch really interesting things while waiting for the toddler to wear out.  I miss real MTV, but that’s been gone far too long for me to worry about now.  I spent a great deal of time outside too.  In the woods, running through pastures filled with cattle.  In the woods, on the mountains.

I miss trees like that.  I miss mountains.  I even miss the turkey vultures.

It was a much different world than stranger glaring at me every time we go out and I pull out my phone when we walk the public parks around here.  Glaring due to thinking they have yet more competition for some phone-oriented video game which I shall not name–and which I do not play.

It was a much different time when the entire world now has ear plugs in, oblivious to those around them.

Strange days are these.

Strange days indeed.

 

1916 Journal – An Overview

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So, this is my year to explore my work, my way–to explore my art, my way.  I had not actually realized early on in my journey that I was taking art journalling classes…I thought they were about making art…and yes, they are about making art, but they were also about art journals and working in journals.  I could not find the type of classes I really wanted.  When I did find those classes, I found myself unlearning a great deal.  Then, at the end of those classes, I found myself caught up in other … struggles, other plans and futures and other things.

Then, I took that step back and I let myself go.  Well, that makes it sound as if it were something easy to do.  It has been a struggle.  It has been an upheaval.  It is still something I have to keep working out.

I have people I trust that tell me they know my work when they see it, that I do have my own style, even if that of my teachers is present, it is still my own work.  That makes me feel good.  I do not think I have yet done enough.  So I continue to work.  It doesn’t hurt me to have my 15 yo daughter learning to create art as well.

I created this art journal, my 1916 journal as I call it, from an old dictionary.  I gutted it, gave it a hidden binding, stuffed it full of blank pages.  I sketched and wrote some stuff on the first pages and then…I set it aside, thinking I had plans, certain plans, special plans, for it.

This month I picked the journal up, for no real reason other than the mood hit me. I started working on a background over those first two pages.  I wasn’t planning anything specific.  I added some collage pieces.  I put down one piece and it struck me that I needed to do a paint over collage.  It was an Ancient painting of Buddha taken from some magazine that became my focal image.

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There was something…cathartic and… opening about doing this piece.  I let go of all the preconceived shoulds and should nots, all the ‘rules’ and everything that I had been consuming and using as guidelines over the past few years…all these things that I had been allowing to box me in, to hold me tight, and to drain the fun out of my work.  When I let go of all the pre-supposed stuff…something started to happen…I let go…I began to enjoy the process…and by enjoying the process, I was able to let go more, to go deeper.

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To go deeper was the original intention of this journal…and here I am, finding a place, creating a space, going deeper.

I have since learned a great deal about art journals and the creation thereof since I created this journal.  I am more than a bit sure, even though I thought I left more than enough room for page bloom, I think spine space will be at a premium, so I am working a spread in the front…and then a spread in the back.

I had no plan, other than working a spread in the back, when I started my second spread in this journal.  Again, there was no real rhyme nor reason to why I chose to create this spread.  I started a spread on the very last spread of the book…I began to work on the background, waiting to figure out where the spread wanted to go.  I did not think that I would do another paint over collage piece…but I did.

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Once she was finished, I went back to the front of the journal…and started another spread.  By that time, I knew…this journal, at least for the time being, is going to be devoted to doing paint over collage work.

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There is a lot of freedom to be found in doing paint over collage work.  It also aids in training the hand and the eye to create in this way.  Plus, it’s actually really fun.  Taking an image, seeing the lines, seeing the shadows, all already there…adding the pencil and the paint and the movement of my own style over these other features.  I create art that is my own and yet not my own at the same time.

I look forward to sharing with you as I continue to work in this journal.

 

The Bee In My Bonnet

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Neon pink does not like to show itself well when scanned by our scanner…but, hey, it showed up pretty nicely anyway…not as bright as in reality, but it works.

The Queen Bee, Maeve Herself…and Her message, barely glimpsed as it is under the watermark…Keep the Faith…

 

Remember…

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This is the first spread from my Red Journal.

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The initial layer of clear gesso went over gangbusters here with the hand-made paper.

I found a rhythm with this piece for the background, where plenty of the original paper does show through, but it blends into the background without overtaking the focal image.

The focal image–blew me away.  Now, I am working on a canvas with a similar image:

WIP. ..first layer of new painting

A photo posted by Tabitha Beck (@theknittingjourneyman) on

but I didn’t think the image would be following me elsewhere…

There is more to the fox story than meets the eye–since I am still working with this story, I’ll leave it alone here for the moment.

The journal spread, however, seems to be kicking off something entirely different.

For years, I have taken classes that have taught me to draw faces, lots of faces.  Faces are my go to thing to draw–but they weren’t always.

I used to draw trees–animals–flowers.  In fact, when I doodle now, it is mostly trees and flowers.  I have lost the rhythm, I have lost the trust in myself to simply draw animals anymore.

When this spread was in process–meaning it was in between layers drying and we went for our weekly walk out in Nature, the whole family, it started to peck away at me.

Perhaps the journey of this journal is to reunite me with my animal rhythms again.

I have been a follower and a fan of Maya Zaido for many years now.  I am always eager to peruse her enotes from sacred spaces every time they arrive in my inbox.  One thing that I race to read, every time, is the Creature Teachers section — because it never fails that Maya gives us information and conversation on  a creature that has shown up in my life, be it in daily life or in my dreams.

I have long wanted to dive back into the mystic waters of the Animal Guides and Natural Awareness.

As I feel so trapped where I currently am, missing the mountains of my family as I do, perhaps this journal is a way to reconnect with much more than just animal essences,

As I said, this is a journey…the Fox here is merely the very first step.  I already have a list of creatures bent on appearing within this journal’s pages.  I am happy to dive in here and see what else appears.

Brightest blessings.

 

Ayala Art’s 29 Faces Challenge This September

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Ayala Art hosts 29 faces every February and every September.

I have participated in two of these challenges thus far, because those are the only ones I have known about.  However, I am greatly looking forward to this September 29 Faces challenge.

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It’s August right now.  I am already contemplating — style — genre — technique — which journal — what sort of paper.

No ATCs with this challenge.  Not for me.  I also don’t want to work too big.  I don’t want to work too small.  Plus, I still have all the ATC faces from this past February’s challenge sitting here waiting to be painted out.

I have my two-minute portrait journal.  I have the red coptic journal, which I have not started to work in yet.  I have the butterfly coptic.  I have the new red journal.

What I want to start playing with is more unreal, more surrealist faces.  Something more disjointed, less pretty, more strange.

I am very excited about the idea.  Now, it’s August.  I may start playing with this idea before 29 Faces…or not.  I have no idea.  This is where my heart is at the moment.

We’ll just have to see where it goes.