Sunday, April 3, 2011

Looking Back - OR - Catching up in Three Easy Installments: Pt. 1

The time - she is rapidly flying away; and I have been swamped, here in my little corner of the world. I need to finish catching up, so we can advance together down the path that winds its way through the cobbled alleys of Blog Land!  Much news to impart, and good things to report.  Let's begin, shall we?

Life is never dull, here in HoCo!  Adventures present themselves to be savored; but apparently, they need to be savored 'post haste!' -- because the next one will be here ANY minute!  What seems like ages ago, I shared with you my entry into online classes with a look at the progress I was making in my Strathmore Mixed Media Art Journal.  And while the second class (Linda Blinn's "Start Where You Are") has come and gone, I have not yet fully completed the FIRST one - OYE!  But, as is my mantra:  Onward & Upward!

When we last visited the VJOWS I had completed the 1st session of Pam Carriker's Workshop, "Recycled Journal Pages". In the weeks that followed, I managed to incorporate each of the techniques that she shared, albeit in my own way.  The last photos that you saw were the results of my efforts to 'play along' even tho' I wasn't actually reworking any of my own work.  Thanks to a creative romp in late January, I was able to add a spread that allowed  me to participate more fully in the class as it was intended.  So, moving into weeks 2 & 3, the number of 'spreads' that I was actively working on changed; but I was very happy with the evolution of the pages I chose to focus on through the reminder of the workshop. 

Week #2 - Spread 1 of 3
In week 2, we added dimension to our spreads by accenting them with oil pastels.  Shadows appeared that provided a new depth of field to the flat spreads of week ones work.  In what has become my favorite (of the moment) spread, "B-ing Me," this addition brought a stained-glass look to the pages.  I have a tendency toward (over)use of the primary colors; but, in this case, it seemed the perfect way to accentuate the message of this spread.  After adding shadow/color with the oil pastels, we 'toned it down' by adding a wash of white gesso thinned with water.  The oil pastels acted as a resist -- in this case, lending my would be super hero a misty appearance.  I really like where this one is headed!  What do you think?

Week #2 - Spread 2 of 3
The effect garnered from this technique was more noticeable on the second spread.  I used Pam's suggestion of 'under-journaling' to add more meaning to the piece.  The quote is a favorite of mine from Anais Nin:  "And the day came when the risk it took to remain tightly closed in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom."  Light shadowing was added to  the underside of the security envelope lines, and the quotation was rendered in graphite.  The blooming lady and her sunshine balloon received equal treatment; and the spread was veritably transformed!  I like it much better after the gesso wash -- which effectively muted the original quotation, and hid some of my 'shadowing flaws' (lol!)

Week #2 - Spread 3 of 3
All of which leads us to the piece that was the 'newbie' to this exercise!  By scanning and resizing the composition from my Tattered Mosaics class with the lovely Jane Powell, I actually had some work to recycle!  In the spirit of this class, the recycled work is freed to tell an entirely different story than the original -- how cool is that!?!  My paper mosaic birds were given new dimension by wearing one anothers colors as their wings.  Additionally, the sky itself became their eggs - one of which is *sadly* broken.  This was one of those (somewhat rare) situations in which I did not see the work in my head before I started making it; rather, it 'came out' as I played with the various pieces I had at hand.  Right now, it is without a title; but there are warring ideas in my head (ain't that always the way?!?)...

Week 3 brought about the addition of extra elements to enhance the stories being told by each of these spreads.  Ephemera, journaling, extra color, and other suggested items further transformed the works in progress to great effect.  This workshop *for me* was all about learning new ways to use the myriad art supplies that I have on hand, as well as to get a feel for the whole "art journal" craze.  As I am not a journaler at heart, this has served as an effort to expand the creativity quotient in my daily life, as well.  So far so good - even if I am running (more than) slightly behind the curve - HA!  Following are each of the three spreads after the addition of the 'extra bits' in week 3.  In truth, I do not know exactly when we will revisit these lovelies; but I have made a promise to myself that I will not move on to the 2nd workshop until they are D-O-N-E ;-)  So, I suppose that gives us all something fun and different to look forward to, eh?

Week #3 - Spread 1 of 3
The "B-ing Me" spread may as well be considered finis, as I am Uber Happy with the results after the addition of a few ephemeral bits (meticulously trimmed from a collage sheet from the Divas D'Este), a repeated, rubber stamped bee, a *well-deserved, IMNSHO - lol!* rub-on crown on my inner Super Hero, and a super imposed, lower case b.  VOILA!  It would seem that B-ing ME is an okay thing to be!  *yay!*  It would also seem that running behind can yield surprising results -- who knew?!?

Week #3 - Spread 2 of 3

The second spread ("Bloom Where You're Planted") benefited from the Week 3 treatment with the addition of a rub-on clock face over the "sunshine balloon," ivy rub-on embellishments to her wings, and the addition of a stenciled background using a Pitt Big Brush Artist Marker in Cold Grey III.  The addition of some extra oil pastels and an extra gesso wash really brought this one together, for me.  Week 4 should bring some additional journaling to this spread; but I don't know if I really want to add anything else (?)  I suppose that is how it works...  It's really not any easier, as the artist, to finalize the decision as to whether or not it is "finished" -- and while I can see that this spread is 'capable' of having some additional work, we have now entered the crucial phase in which any more could well end up being too much (?)  Ahhh, the endless conundrum of the engaged artist...

Week #3 - Spread 3 of 3
Our newest comer to the "recycled" works ensemble was greatly benefited from the addition of some vintage ephemera (hand notated music, and an outer wheel from an astrological wood cut), and a stenciled sparrow (thanks, Jane!)  Even though this one came 'from the ether,' it is speaking to me, now -- loud and clear!  While I was initially vacillating over the title ("This Bird Has Flown" VS. "Pieces of the Sky"), that deliberation has resolved itself, too!  The moving power of art never ceases to amaze ~>:-?  This one really needs an additional gesso wash, and some rubber stamping -- but I can totally see it, now!  I never cease to be amazed by the power of art to move people; but it is totally astounding (from this side of the looking glass) to experience the power of art to move even the Artist! 

SO, let us continue to seek the beauty of Life every day, and find a way to share that beauty with all that we encounter.  I am not so naive as to believe that this is an easy charge to answer; but I am just idealistic enough to believe that we can each play a part in making it be so!  

Rental #2 - the lovely Ford EDGE
On a more personal note: I have not only driven yet another vehicle - the surprisingly comfortable Ford EDGE (in the quest to actually repair my own); but, it pains me to say, my beloved Cute Ute is destined to once more return to the shop for the addressing of just a few more niggly bits :-/  Such is life, after the advent of a fiend!  An added, albeit not always so pleasant, bonus is the requirement that I continue to seek the hands-on care at Schultz Chiropractic.  I have been most fortunate to have found a fantastic practitioner; and, in accordance with the latest edict have now added a most incredible Massage Therapist to the regimen...  Many thanks to Lady Stephanie for the magic hands and superior wisdom in my treatment/advancement from this devilish setback.  We are far from done; but I feel confident that I am in good hands for the duration :-)

So, dear ones, the 'catch up' continues; and I am very much looking forward to our further ventures in Blog Land!  Be good to yourselves and others, and I will 'see' you again, soon!

Onward & Upward!
 - pla

Words of wisdom for today

"We are living art,
created to hang on, stand up,
forbear, continue,
and encourage others
                                                          - Maya Angelou

Photo Notes:  
   Journal shots taken using Panasonic Lumix (DMC-ZS1) - set to natural light, slow sync/red eye flash
   Vehicle photo taken using Vignette Demo app for the Motorola DROID (set to random)

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