Continuing The Tale Of Portal From Yesterday…

This is a continuation of yesterday’s post, about my large 9in x 12in dylusions journal.

There sat Portal in our last post (oh, it was only yesterday…), awaiting some sort of assignment…and then Tam ran a sale on her website…

I bought Lifebook 2012, The Tam Edition…which contains only Tam’s lessons for that year of Lifebook–which right now is exactly what I want–for the healing aspects more than for the art at the moment…but I digress…

As soon as I bought the LB2012 Tam Edition…I KNEW exactly what sort of work needed to happen inside Portal…well, I knew how to begin working in Portal at this point.

As I do with this year’s LifeBook experience, I start working on a lesson by doing a practice run.

So, on a piece of 9in x 12in patterned scrapbooking paper, I followed the directions and created this piece, entitled ‘Beautiful Soul’…

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She was really fun.  I love how the brown along the one edge actually enhances the shading on that side of her face.

I was looking forward to cracking Portal open and working in her.

Now, from everything I have read, from many fellow artists–teachers and students alike–and from Dyan Reaveley herself (according to several videos of her that I have watched) — no one gessos the dylusions journal to start with…that is the point (apparently) of these thick yummy cardstock pages designed to withstand a ton of wet media (cough cough).  Plus, I figured I would test this journal out and see what could come of it.

Uhm…not ever again will I touch an un-gessoed page in this journal.  I didn’t even use a great deal of wet wet media…not compared to the way I can do when I really want to start throwing the wet stuff around…the paper buckled at the first hint of moisture.  I fought the pilling the entire first layer on up.  I am all too lucky that I was working late at night and my toddler woke up and dragged me off to bed–that made me leave the face alone and let it dry overnight before moving forward…

I did attempt to use water soluble crayons (several different brands actually, Neocolor II and Lyra and Reeves) on the background.  All of these crayons had worked beautifully and smoothly on my practice piece of plain old scrapbooking paper–but not a bit on the “yummy” dylusions journal cardstock pages…here’s where I tried to use a bit more water–it was very difficult to get any of the crayon to activate or move…I ended up using a bit of paint in places to cover up the crayon scribbles all together…and in most places I gave up and left it as it was as a lesson to myself, so I will never forget to gesso the page in this journal.

The next morning…I refrained from any wet or even damp media at all…

I did the whole exercise from Lifebook, even though I will only be showing the face here.  On the facing page, across from the face, I created the written affirmations per Tam’s lesson…I didn’t do anything untoward…I used a sharpie and I didn’t go too heavy or too thick…and that sharpie very clearly bled through the page–I expected a little bit of bleed through–it’s sharpie…but I could clearly read from the back what I had written on the front…

So–not happy there.

I do love the face I created.

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Once that spread was completely dry and I had scanned it…I immediately gessoed the next two pages for the next spread.

I will also be taping the center seams from here on out as well…because I didn’t use all that much wet here, but what did get wet bled through not only this signature, but started to leak into the one underneath it as well…the fibers are all blue…

Will I continue to work in this journal?

You bet your buttons I will.  I hate the paper, but I adore the way the book is constructed and put together.  If I can fight my way through a Martha Stewart cookbook as my altered mandala book with its shiny pages, having to prep pages in this book will be nothing untoward.  I do work in much worse books, under much worse circumstances…Portal is not the most annoying thing in my arsenal at the moment…really…

Will I buy this journal again?

Uhm…honestly…if I were thinking of using it strictly as a written journal…after I test out a page or two in my current dylusions journal to see if that fountain ink will bleed through, I might be tempted to buy another dylusions journal…but…I highly doubt that I will.

I will be doing what I can to recreate what I love and enjoy about this journal in my next hand-made journal…which might be awhile, as I just used an existing book cover (a 1926 dictionary) to create a hand-bound journal, 9in x 12in, with over 150 pages in it…and yes, there is room for it to grow as I work in it.  The dictionary had a three inch thick spine…the dictionary had literally thousands of pages of India (very thin sheer paper) paper…which is what I am currently going to town using as a background collage material…mwahahaha…and the whole original dictionary cost me about twenty cents…so I am no hurry to do anything right now…which really does kinda of suck as my partner made me a piercing cradle for Mother’s Day this year…

At least I know I have a couple of old book covers intact sitting here waiting for me to create signatures and bind it all together.  They are smaller books, so I haven’t rushed all that much to figure out a paper and whatnot.  I’ll get there.  I know I will.

 

Creating A Vessel To Contain Healing

Let me say, I do love Dyan Reaveley.

I personally dislike her dylusions inks.  I personally do not like the water reactive-ness of them.  They are very pretty–so vibrant…but since I usually want to use them as a background layer underneath other layers…and, ok, sometimes the ooo it bled into that and that is so pretty is a nice thing, but not all that often these days…I had bought several colors of the inks last year during LifeBook…they do have their purposes in my work these days…but now I mostly mix them with gesso or some sort of medium to make them waterproof.  If I want to use spray inks at the end of a project …I use ones that dry waterproof out of the bottle…not dylusions…

That said, I have always liked the look of her dylusions journals.  I have never really been interested in owning one…before this.

I typically make and hand-bind my own journals most of the time now, unless I find something neat or cool or just fun to play in.  I do do a lot of altered books these days…and have been casting about to create an altered book to write in…I’m still working on that one.  But that is a tale for another day…

So, not too long ago, I was starting a new class…and I kept getting this message–buy a dylusions journal right this second…you need it…you have this project and this type of journal will be perfect for that project.

I did what I do and went to amazon.com…and found one on clearance via their warehouse deals.  Now, I admit to having some awesome luck with their warehouse deals.  I ordered (ok, so it was about 3-4 days after the initial gotta buy it right this second that I actually went and bought the thing) a large journal with some small, “less than one inch”, defect in it…and sat back to wait for said journal (along with a few other things I ordered) to arrive…

Then — the journal finally got here (three days is an awfully long time to wait when ya gotta have it now)…

OOOO-did I fall in love…the thick creamy yummy pages.  The outer cover–which for the record the ‘damage’ was that the cord to keep the journal closed when not in use had popped off on one side…so I just pulled the entire thing off.  I ended up knitting myself something to keep it closed and I like that better anyway–it makes the journal more mine…

I love the cardboard so begging to be decorated outer cover…and there is an inner cover as well…because the bound  paper itself is only connected to the back cover so that the journal lays flat when you are working in it.

There is an envelope on the front inside cover–me being me, this isn’t all that thrilling for me–it’s an envelope.  I am betting dollars to donuts…I don’t ever put anything in it–and if I do–I will forget it is there for years and years…my grandchildren will probably find whatever I stick in there if I do stick anything in it…

And the paper–when I go to make new journals, I am making them 9in x 12in journals because this is definitely the size that thrills my heart the most when it comes to a journal…and I am going to create signatures of two pages at a time…maybe three.  I love love love the way these journals are put together.

I was already thinking I needed to buy a second one to use simply as a visual journal…rather than working on finding a book to alter for that … these pages darn near beg for a fountain pen to scrawl across them.

So–I decorated the front cover.  I used collage to make sure I covered up the elastic band holes that were no longer useful for me.

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I even glued this piece of under-paper on the front that kept reminding me of some sort of energetic mandala/portal.  This piece of collage is why the working name of this journal is Portal.

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I painted out the edges of the pages–and then sprayed my perfume all over the inside of the book–because if I do nothing else to alter a book and make it my own, that perfume is that one thing.  It is so important to me, the change that one little thing makes in a journal.

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Then came that inside cover…and I did a little dedication pre-writing on that cover which shall remain with the book…

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and in the end…here is the finished title page…

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(yes, I dropped my baby wipe on the open book–hence, the wet spots you see here…)

plus, I could not just leave that envelope bare…

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So, there sat Portal, all decorated, all perfumed, ready for her big first date…and the project that I had thought I was buying this journal for was not the project this journal wanted to contain…I needed some time to listen to what it wanted, to what I needed..

The answer did come…but more on that in another post…

 

Getting *Big* All Over Again

It has been nearly a year since I became stuck in Week 3 of the now self-paced course Big by Connie Solera.

I do believe I have spoken of it here –well, on the old now defunct blog.

I got stuck in a memory that I wasn’t ready to let go of…and it took me months before I emailed Connie for advice…and then a few more months before I could handle re-opening my binder, re-watching the same week 3 videos (again and again and again)–and in the midst of all of that–I found the space that had been waiting for me.

Now, I called this piece Week 3 Big, until about a week before it was finished.  She was a slow piece to build.

She wanted to be built up on a reclaimed canvas, using nice paints, because she wants to hang on the wall for years to come.

Some days we would simply sit and stare at one another from across the room.

Once in a while she would say, grab this color paint and do this.  And I would do it.

Then, maybe the next night, or maybe days afterwards, she would tell me, I want this color, do this…and I would do as she bid me.

We did hit another wall…her face…after all the other work was done to her satisfaction, we held onto to the face she had, the one she had requested, for about a week…and then, there was that shift…and I painted her face pure white to cover everything up underneath it.

The next day…I was able to use  liner brush and flick in the barest details of the eyes, the mouth.

Three days passed…that was when I added the few last little touches, like the color of her lips.

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Her name is Forgiveness.

With this piece, I forgive myself.

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With this canvas hanging on my wall near my bed, I do not have peace, but I do have succor…and that for now is good enough…

Forgiveness is a process.

You begin with the top layers of forgiving…and then you dig down and dig down, releasing guilt and pain and expectations and desires…and you go deeper.  Then you repeat that process.  You repeat and you repeat and you repeat…until you hit the soft core center of your heart within your soul and there is nowhere else to go …but up and out….

Until I reach that space of up and out, succor and the gentle reminder that I am forgiven by my own true self is more than enough.

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Now I can move on to week four of Big…and it has been nearly an entire year between the two weeks.

I’m excited to continue.

I think I need more paint now though.

 

Way Back When…

I think one of the first classes that I took was Effy Wild‘s self-paced Moonshine Mother class way back when…

Recently, I revisited that class, intending to work through it again, all the way this time…and I started at the very beginning…with the bootcamp.

One of the things Effy says in her amazing bootcamp is…scan the faces you draw that you really like, you keep faces on hand when you are just drawing for practice and not creating a spread or an actual piece…and I had completely forgotten that, sort of…I have a little plastic storage container (little as in flat–I lay the pieces in flat, unfolded, uncreased) full of faces…practice faces, faces that I started for one reason or another and then stopped, faces I cut out of backgrounds, faces that one child or another had smeared paint on in the wrong places and I loved the faces so much I set them aside until … later…

Well, later came, baby…

I had forgotten how pretty many of those faces are…and I had forgotten how much I loved one face in particular that, I believe, it was my youngest smeared black paint all across the side of her face.

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This is she of the black paint smeared face…I think she was part of a study I did for Tam’s Magical Mythical Makings class…

I have SO many girls in this pose, fuller bodied, just the faces, long long hair, shorter hair…and this one when I drew her was my absolute favorite…and then–black paint from beneath her chin, over her mouth and nose and up into one eye…and the places on her face now that bother me as I look at it here–are on the opposite side of where the black paint lay…go figure…

The other thing I got hit with pretty hard when I started to pull these faces out is–I don’t work like that anymore…I had to ‘fix’ her nose…because the original really simple one I had before drove me bonkers…but everything else I left fairly much as I originally drew it…

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This one comes up between Tam classes and Effy classes…and I am not sure she began with any particular class — other than just as a practice face…and I loved how her top turned out with the layers of paint looking like folds or something in her blouse…

Originally a red-head, giving her raven hair allowed me to completely reshape her facial structure…I fixed her rather too simple nose to my current liking…and I left most of the rest alone…

The corona around both girls actually oil pastels…I was playing to see how they could interact.

Julliette Crane has workshops in both LifeBook 2015 and 21 Secrets Spring 2015. 

Remember all my bird pieces?  Julliette Crane inspired pieces, between both LifeBook and 21 Secrets…and nope, I have not shown all of my birds I have created either…and yep, I am still creating them…albeit a little bit more slowly and less frequently…but they do continue to show up…

Julliette uses oil paint sticks (shiva brand) in her work and the effect is stunning…I do not want to use oil in anything…a personal preference — I deeply love Julliette’s work…but I have been casting about for something a little like the oil paint sticks…and every time I think about it, every time I exert a little bit effort to search online…I am always directed back to … oil pastels…so I was playing…

I will be playing more with this concept in the future as well.

What are you playing with these days?

Comparing This Year And Last

For this year’s art storage, I bought a decorative box, per Tam’s suggestion, as she does every year for LifeBook (that I have been in it anyway)…
Well, ever since May, I’ve been thinking…I’m gonna need a bigger box…
I did not get a bigger box…I did get a second box the same size, in a different pattern.
My first box is covered with ornate decorations and a lovely peacock as the centerpiece. My second box is … covered with maps. I think these two topics mesh all too well for me right now, given the work I am doing and the intentions that I have.
Now, my first box is not yet completely full…I only put loose pages in this box.
It is very nice to be able to open the box whenever I start feeling I am not doing or accomplishing enough, not getting my to do list taken care of…I open the box and I see the stacks of images I have created in this year…very few may actually be related to LifeBook—or really any other class most of the time…but the stack does keep growing.
Last year, the first year I really created a large amount of work really—I kept (and still do) everything in various portfolios. Only the loose sheets, mind you. Whatever I created in a journal is, for the most part, still in a journal.

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(This is a piece from LifeBook 2014)
This post is actually not about my art storage system…it’s about the art itself.
When I first moved back to this area, and in the year or so leading up to it, I was making some art, and getting deeper into my art journey. I had not yet discovered online art classes.
The work is at turns very child-like – and some of it is really awesome…I have an elephant I sketched that I adore to this day—I have the gator’s eyeball ATC that makes my heart sing yet…but given what I know now, many of the drawings I did back then make me just cringe…and most of those have silently met their doom in the worm bin…so at least they served a good purpose across the board.
Then I stopped making art due to a break-in to the house and a subsequent move…and a lot of other details after that that I have no desire to make public again…so I will let that lie…however, it took me a bit to relocate what little mojo I accepted that I had left…
And I have been building on that little bit ever since, slowly, so slowly, but getting there…
Last year…I took a lot of classes. I learned SO much. I did what the teacher’s showed me and told me to do, whether it felt good or right to me or not. When I look back at last year’s work—I really want to go back and redo quite a bit of it…and much of that revolves around…the backgrounds…I can accept the wonky faces, twisted lips, uneven eyes, uncooperative shading…it is the backgrounds, the noisy busy noisy chaotic backgrounds…it drives me crazy. When other people do it… I think it is beautiful and – so beautiful … I will leave that there…when I do it and I look at my focal image (usually a face) it seems out of place somehow…I love the more monochromatic or blended out (I always think more Waldorf-y scenic for some reason) … not that I do not really go to town on layered backgrounds now and then…I have a 12in by 12in piece of MDF board sitting here right now screaming OH YEAH LOOK AT THESE LAYERS HERE…lol…

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(A recent journal page, inspired by Tamara Laporte)
I have to do things my way…and the way I layer most of the time these days is a conglomeration of what I have been taught by a plethora of teachers, along with my own aesthetics and my own preferences…and that is how things should be in my process … I am learning and growing and creating and finding my own style and my own voice.

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( a recent sketch done while listening to some podcasts…)
Where are you in your journey? How are you sitting with that?