AJ Daily Practice: February Pages

Back story: Day by day, I add to my art journal. Over several days I complete a spread. And then I begin again. These are my notes where I reflect on my pages and record what I learn.  If you're curious about how much time I spend and generally why I spend time in my art journal, I can tell you this:  Some days I spend only five minutes, some days I look up after an hour or more, and some days—yes, I skip. But most days, I art journal.  I do not art journal to record time, but to make it a practice to BE in time. Time to be creative, to experiment, to play and to learn. It’s a regular date with myself. Like what I used to do on the yoga mat. Breathe. Check in. How are you? How’s the universe? What should we create today? This is my practice. Time to catch you up with the pages in my art journal this month.

February 1-5: Nothing else is more fun

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I began the month just playing in my art journal. I threw some ink on the background and then just played with stencils, stamps, collage, pens and paint. Completely abstract and fun. I love the colors most on this page and the fact that I did let loose a little (one of my challenges for sure). I really like the doodling on this page and enjoyed doing it—it's relaxing. I admire others' work when it includes a lot of doodling and I look to doodle myself, so I definitely need to do more of it. The challenge is to slow down long enough and often enough to fill a page with small marks.  I could have gone further, layered more, doodled more. Still more loosening up to be done for sure...that is my journey.

February 6-8: Swan song

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So I've been holding onto this image for a while now--something about it grabbed me and wouldn't let go. I pulled it out again and decided that rather than use the image for collage or a photo transfer I wanted to paint it. I used ink in the background to catch the likeness of the wetlands and I think it worked well. Ink is just the right translucence. I'm just a beginning painter and I have to say I surprised myself. It's certainly not a masterpiece, but I did think when I finished it: "Huh. You can do that?"

(Yes, I do talk to myself and I just now realized these conversations are in the second person! Odd? Normal? Not sure. Don't care.)

To finish the spread, I tipped in the original image to keep a record of the photo reference. Oh, and during those days I worked on the swan, I went with my daughters to the DeYoung to see the Keith Haring exhibit before it closed (what a genius he was in his short life!). So I stuck my museum sticker there in the corner as a date reference.  Anyway, huge learning just in the doing. I am reminded that really, the only way to learn is to do.

February 9-18: Filled with The Blue Horses

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While I was working on the background on this spread, I listened to the Mary Oliver interview with Krista Tippett on her On Being podcast (if you haven't listened to Tippett before—oh my gosh, you must listen. Go right to ITunes and subscribe!) I spent several days messing with the background using tissue papers on top of paint on top of neocolor crayons on top of more tissue and stamps and more paint...I didn't know where I was going with it the whole spread, but I think I played with the colors and lines a bit longer than I would have if it wasn't for that interview (which I listened to twice, both the edited and uncut versions). Oliver read several of her poems at Tippett's request, but I was struck with the one she chose to read herself, Franz Marc's Blue Horses (scroll down on that link and you can hear her read it.) With my background as far as I could take it, I decided that I'd make this spread about the poem. Note that I made the decision after my background had been completed. That's important because I next went to find the poem AND the painting she is talking about...and it's a little coincidental that the color palette I was working with is pretty much the one Marc had used! I love serendipity! A little nod from the universe...Anyway, I'm not thrilled with the wheel thing or really the aesthetics of the whole page—but this page reminds me that sometimes working is my art journal is about so much more than "pretty".

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February 19-28: Demon Whirring Brain

I splashed paint randomly on these pages first with this new color palette I'm really liking: primary red, cadmium yellow light and bright aqua green (Liquitex Basics). Added some white, too. The background colors really inspired me. I added the paisley stencil on the left first, then collaged in the two images, and from there the doodling and painting continued. I find I'm in a really creative swirl right now. I have so much I want to do and I can't seem to work fast enough or often enough...and so clearly this page became about me defeating—who else but "demon whirring brain"! I like the background a lot and the fact that the dates fit in the boxes is bonus. This was just a fun page. Not sure I learned anything—except to be reminded that sometimes arting is such a good way to process what's going on in my life...gotta remember to do more of that.