The Blank Page and How to Face It!
Week 4: January 24
Art Challenge: Writing
Journal Prompt: Words With Friends
This week's art journal page was tough . . . and I don't mean it was a difficult challenge . . . I mean it was tough for me personally. And this is the nature of Art Journaling for some. For me, it is a place to work things out in my heart and in my head. A diary of sorts, a way to document feelings. And sometimes, those thoughts come tumbling out onto the page like verbal diarrhea. I had this idea that I was just going to write a letter to a friend all over my journal, then cover it up with paint, then draw something on top. But my heart had other plans. For some reason, a poem I wrote over 30 years ago came bubbling up and as I worked on my page, I knew that it had to find a place in this journal. So scratch all of my other ideas. And because it was a difficult thing for me to express and brought up so many uncomfortable things, the page was hard to create -- full of corrections and changes. But that's my process and as raw as this is, I decided to go with it. I'm not one to share very personal things, but somehow I thought this page may be meaningful to some of you.
I started with a collection of old papers, maps, vintage wrapping paper, and bits and pieces from previous art projects. I began to randomly adhere the papers with Gel Medium, leaving white space.
Once the papers were dry, I used a palette knife to spread Texture Paste all over the page. I decided I wanted a more opaque covering, so I squeezed out some Gesso on the page and spread that on top of the Texture Paste. Much better.
While the Texture Paste was still wet, I used a Ranger Ink Texture Tool and dragged it across the page in various areas to add some dimension and interest. You will see how the grooves come into play a little later.
As my page idea came together, I was thinking that I would like to create sort of a plastered wall, with ripped wallpaper. I wanted my writing to look as if someone was scratching markings on the wall. In order to achieve this look, I used a Chalk Paint to rub into the textured page. I used my finger to do this so it would not look uniform.
I started feeling like I had lost all of the color from my page, so I took some watercolor and splattered some red onto the page. Then I spattered black. Then I decided it looked like a CSI crime scene, ick. Since it was splattered with watercolor, it was easy to dab at it with a baby wipe and only remove the watercolor without disrupting the layers underneath.
At this point, I was feeling very uncomfortable - not happy with the way the page was coming together . . . and I realized I was messing around too much with the background because I was avoiding writing out that poem on the page. I decided to walk away and leave it alone for the evening. Sometimes you need to just take a step back.
The next morning, I approached the piece with fresh eyes and felt better about conquering the page. I sharpened my Stabilo Aquarellable Pencil and began to write, holding the pencil way back at the end so I could achieve a messy, scribbly sort of handwriting.
And there you have it. 35 years after writing this poem, it ended up here. So my "words with friends" ended up being a love letter from my young girl self to the woman I am now. An exercise in healing through art.
Here are the products I used this week:
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