Monday, January 6, 2014

A New Year

I feel like I've been away from "my art" forever, even though I really haven't been. I know it's just a reaction to having moved and to living now with being the caretaker of my father, but it feels like my work has been so distant from my soul for so long. Anyone who has stuck with this blog over the last two years, shoddy and neglected as it is, will know this, so I won't belabor the point yet again.

However, I will- again! - rededicated myself to working every day, to blogging often, to learning new concepts, to taking a workshop that will immerse me in the energy and inspiration of other artists, and to coming back into the creative life and making myself whole again. I suppose you could call this my New Years' resolution, though I am loathe to think of it in those terms (who ever manages to follow through on those things, anyway??) I've done this before over the last two years, and it feels like I've failed, but dammit, I'm going to keep trying until it sticks!

My husband and I took the longest December staycation we've ever taken before, in 2013... twenty-four days! During that time, I didn't worry or fuss about much, and I just played in the studio with an old passion of mine, long neglected: bookbinding. It's been fun and informative and while I had promised myself that I would only play with it until the end of the year and then get on with more "serious" work, I've decided to continue to do it in conjunction with painting and fiber work. It's just been too much fun to abandon!

The first task I took on was to teach myself the copic stitch. I did a lot of online reading and then watched some excellent videos over and over again. This video by Sea Lemon was particularly helpful.

I created a new sketchbook for myself using a combination of water color paper and bristol smooth velum. The hard covers started out as the front and back of a piece of batiked paper I made many years ago. Not bad for a first effort!


The next journal I created was made from some beautiful handmade water color paper I found in the art store (note the deckled edges). This book, which I stitched very simply down the middle as one "signature", contains a mini book inside, as wall as many fold out pages. This was a lot of fun to make and has been enjoyable to work in, as well, as it lays flat when folded out.


This next piece is just for fun. Looking for ephemera one day to collage with, I wound up on ebay. A quick search for "encyclopedia" and "sheet music" netted me a beautiful, enormous bound encyclopedia with thousands of tissue weight pages...





... and a large box of hundreds of yellowed and crumbling pieces of sheet music, many of them personally annotated in pencil and pen by their previous owner....



The resulting book wishes only to serve as a memorial for these old printed pages, to salute the written word and the passage of time. It won't be used as a sketchbook in the future.


And a wonderful thing happened while my husband was digging out Christmas decorations... he finally found all of my old art journals that I thought had been long gone in the move!! One in particular that had always been my favorite held a treasure trove of memories and beautiful layouts, as well as inspiration for new work.









After thumbing through this journal, which is now going on four years old, I wonder why I ever stopped doing this!

One spread in particular caught my eye... it was of a few sketches I had done as ideas for how I might use Stacked Journaling.


The idea behind these sketches was to use negative space to express myself with SJ. I was immediately inspired and broke out a small Gessobord to start experimenting.


Using clear contact paper, I covered the surface of the gessobord (yes, it really is spelled that way!) and then cut large shapes into the contact paper. I peeled the contact paper away from the shapes, leaving me with negative space. Then I used a sharpie to fill it in with tightly composed Stacked Journaling. I have no idea if this one is finished or not, and since it was just a first experimentation with this idea, it may remain as is forever.

Finally, I want to show you a piece that was done during a few very dark days back in November. I've been struggling with my father and his assisted living facility over hygiene issues (trust me, you don't want to know more!) and my frustration and anger finally boiled over. I took it out on this large canvas.

(This Is My Box (There Are Many Like It, But This One Is Mine), pencil on stretched canvas, 18" x 24")

Feeling extremely boxed in at the time, I used a blank stretched canvas to express my emotions with layer after of layer of penciled Stacked Journaling inside a crude box shape. Because my desire is to one day leave that box, I used water soluble graphite pencils, which I then sprayed with water to force the Journaling to melt out of the boarders of the box. 

I will continue to work, continue to feel, and continue to push myself. This is my promise to myself.

Happy New Year!
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