Making art teaches me, every day. I am finding that exponentially with painting and paper art. Comparing it to my regular torch work I think it’s because I can let go and not have to worry about burning myself and I can stop and start as I like. I experienced that while building micro mosaics too.
My last post was about making a junk journal. Last year I made a couple other journals . The steps I took were from The Artstronaut’s Club. The first part of the process was painting large pieces of paper. I had some paints on hand but they weren’t great colors. I did it anyway because I didn’t want to go shopping for new colors and I wanted to get started. If we’re friends on facebook you can see a short video I made of the journal and the pages here. I was so darn proud of that thing. I made a book! Ha.
I started collaging in it and lost interest. What I realized today was that the colors were what was keeping me from continuing. And then my crappy, throw-it-together style of collaging didn’t help much. I just didn’t like what I was seeing so I avoided it.
Recently I thought, eff-it, and I decided to paint over the ugly colors and start over. What could it hurt? Above is an example of the ugly color on the left. You might not think so but wait until you see the other colors, updated, below. The gray on the right of this page may not be any more exciting, but it’s more welcoming to me for future work on the page for some reason. I don’t have to compete with the ooky-ness of that light blue.
In the photo above you can see the difference. The left page was a pale, glittery pink with a drab pine green. While the new colors are bright, and usually not my style, there is more richness that developed because of the layering. The yuck colors underneath actually helped with the contrast. This process has taught me to not just make the best of what I have, but to really use the supplies that call me.
The other lesson is that, in art, nothing is ever lost. If you can’t work with it, change it. Cover it up if you have to, but don’t abandon it completely. In a glass bead class that I took with Jennifer Geldard years ago, she did the same thing that I’m just now coming to be comfortable with. Cover up an ugly part and make something else out of it. Of course, with this technique, my beads would have turned into paperweights. And with glass beads made in a torch you can’t really tell if it’s ugly until it’s cooled. Thank you to Jesse Reno who taught the same thing in his class. If you don’t like it, black gesso it and start again. Keep the parts you like and work from there.
So, the inside of my art journals are getting a revamp, and through it I’m finding my own voice for paper art and finding the methods I like to work with. In Teesha Moore’s way of building the journal that I learned (The Artstronaut’s Club) you paint the paper before you bind it into a book. It can give some interesting variation in the backgrounds as you cut and put it together. I’m finding that I like painting the pages after they’re bound and I like solid-ish areas of color as a background.
I’m also liking the layers that build up from re-working like this. It gives the book a little more heft and depth. I also like the leathery feel of collaging random paper pieces and then painting over it. It makes the pages feel leathery. You can feel the soul that went into the work, even if you can’t see the layers beneath.
Of course, now that I’ve changed the inside, the covers don’t go with it. (shown above). But I can re-work those too. Black gesso is my friend.
Doing art like this, just letting go and trusting your gut starts to bleed over into life too. It makes you see that nothing is permanent. You can change things. I’m finding that when I can let go like this on the page, I start to see things around me differently. It’s a personal process, and I believe that everyone learns their own lessons from the process of creating. I could go on and on for days about the things that I learn this way and it’s a good reminder to do more of it, regularly. Try it.