Letting it Be What it Wants to Be

I’ve been continuing on with the art leading the way. I find myself working as a zoom lens. Honing in on a small area and not thinking about what is outside it. It sucks me in, and when I zoom back out it’s interesting to see what has been created. In this way, it’s not me running the show and controlling what will appear. It is the creative process, in real time, dictating what happens.

Stepping back from this piece I can see many things emerging. I have more to do before the picture will be fully visible to me and just because I see certain things right now, doesn’t mean that those will be the images that survive in the end. So, I continue to hone in on the areas that need to be filled, and suspend judgment until I embark on the next step of refinement.

It’s a work in process. I just meant to type that it’s a work in progress, but I think that “work in process” is pretty accurate as well. One little stroke at a time it unfolds. Much like life. As it is in progress you might sit back and think, “Yeah. I don’t like what I see so much.” But then you have to remember to have faith, and continue working. Nothing is permanent, everything can change, and sometimes it’s ugly before beauty emerges. Sometimes beauty doesn’t emerge, so you disconnect from the work for a while. Maybe you come back and try again. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you come back and think, “Hm. It’s not really that bad. I actually like it.”

It’s pretty fascinating to watch and experience, and I enjoy relating the art process to life, letting it teach me.

WIP – The Purple Page

This is an art journal page that I started a long time ago. Acrylic paint and paint pen on watercolor paper. As you can see, it’s gotten overly busy. I love my detail, yes I do. But, it doesn’t make for a very grabbing finished design without some kind of frame, and the border isn’t defining enough.

I’ve looked at this page over and over. There are elements I really like, and some, not so much. I’m not really fond of the purple and yellow either. I kept putting it away and coming back to it. I gathered up my courage and just went for it…blacking out some of the areas that weren’t as exciting to me. Once again I realized that once I get started, it starts to take on a life of it’s own.

I was really pleased with the bold black areas that I added, and I decided to call it a night. My friend, Chris, pointed out that it looked like a silhouette in the middle and I thought, YES! I did not see that when looking at the actual piece but it’s pretty obvious in the photo. I highly recommend taking a photo of your work to gain a new perspective.

I came back the next day, ready to tackle the face in the middle and again, I was paralyzed. I didn’t want to mess it up. So, once again I pushed past my comfort zone and dove in, knowing that it will all unfold as it should, and if it didn’t, I still had plenty of black paint to start again.

I liked it! But then thought, “I can’t just leave all that black there!” So I set out again, and think I took it one step too far. The new detail, shown below, took away from the impact of the vivid black. As did the white colored pencil shading I did. Boo.

And if that weren’t enough, I even took it a step further and started to add color to those new plank shapes that I added. Ugh. I’m going to keep going with it because, well, you never know. And yes, always the painting over it with black to fall back on. I’ll keep you updated, if you’d like to follow along. One of these days I might feel done.

I do love the feel of the paper as the layers accumulate. It starts to feel leathery. I also think that the previous layers do show through, even though you can’t really see them. I don’t know how to put that into words, but you sense it when you see it in person.


Creativity Teaches Me, Every Day

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.160710a---3

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.