Wednesday, April 6, 2011

More Letters and Some Necessary Discomfort

For a while all of the Stacked Journaling art letters I composed were written to my father, who has mostly gone beyond understanding the emotions and sentiments contained within them. In a weird, serendipitous way, his memory loss freed me to write what I needed to, all of the things I needed to say to him, all of the fears and hopes I have for him. I'm proud of those pieces, but as hard as they were to write, they were easy to display here on my blog to all of you because I knew Dad would never see them or wonder what was contained in them.

As I continued to produce various mixed-media art letters to my father, I began to realize that I wanted to write to other people in my life as well; that I have secrets and messages to impart to them, too. Hence the Stacked Journaling canvases I blogged about a couple of weeks ago, which were written not to my father, but to a childhood friend.

That trend continues, and this is where I'm really going to go out on a limb: one of the the art letters I'm blogging about today is written to one of my brothers and it doesn't exactly contain loving, warm feelings. There's some pretty dark stuff buried in this piece, which makes me feel quite vulnerable displaying it. Unlike the letters written to my father, I know there's a chance my brother could see it and understand what it says, if only instinctively. I risk making a bad situation worse.

But risk and pushing myself is something I've come to rely on as a path of growth, and I'm willing to own my responsibilities and choices, so here goes.

("Dear Dave: Remember Me?" 18" x 24" 
300# watercolor paper, acrylic paint, 
quill pen and India ink journaling)

And in the spirit of being totally fair and honest with myself, here's an art letter I wrote to me

Like the letter to my brother, it contains some fairly dark material. The good news is that the more of these I do, the better I feel because the emotions are being released into art where they can't do any more damage.

("Dear Judi: Wake Up!" 7" x 10 1/2 "
Heavy tag, thinned India inks and paints,
quill pen and India ink journaling) 
While packing my father's belongings for his move to Texas, I came across a stack of lovely white, heavy tag measuring 7" x 10 1/2". He had no idea why he had it or what it was used for but he offered it to me, and being a total paper geek, I pounced on it. I suspect it's backer board for archivaly storing comic books because I not only found clear cellophane envelopes in the same size, I also found comic books he was obviously buying and trying to archive back in the 90's.

Score! As you can see from the photograph, this stuff sucks up pigment in the most lovely way. It also refuses to cockle even when soaked with wet media and because I think it's meant to protect comic books, I'm pretty sure it's got to be acid-free. All the fibers stain differently, which makes blending a breeze and offers a wonderful, mottled appearance. I think I might have to bind this stuff into a sketchbook, it's fabulous.

Move on, create with lightness,



Gina said...

Beautiful work Judi - conceptually, visually and emotionally!

Quilter Beth said...

You never fail to move me with your words and your work. I'm finding art to be a wonderful way to work through emotional issues. I don't know if it was just a coincidence or whether it was related, but I truly began to heal (not cry every day and feel like my heart would never mend) when I finished a quilt about my mom after her death. I hope your work brings you peace.

Katrina said...

I applaud your bravery
and willingness to travel this road.

Deb H said...

Art IS therapy... at soooo many levels.
Your work is beautiful!


Carol Sloan said...

oh my...I will have to check out my son's comic book box...I seem to reacll a stack of perfectly cut pieces of protector paper...that his mommy might have to take off his hands...thanks for the tip!
And yes, Art does Save, doesn't it?

ApOgEE said...

This beautiful work really inspires me. Thank you for sharing.

Unknown said...

Judi, I am so touched by your stacked journaling concept...and the deep and moving stories of what they have meant in your life. My dad now has Alzheimer's and my mom is now almost totally blind after several strokes. I can see this concept as a way of being able to write with complete honesty and not be concerned about others reading (and judging) what I pour out of my heart. Thank you so much for sharing these.

izzy said...

I just came upon this- and the green
one ; made me feel safe enough to write
a few letters of my own! Yours are prettier and neater. Mine are older
naked, readable- even wrinkled. Still
they need to be written and answered!