Art Journal, an act of Mindfulness.

introspection 1 week 2Season of Introspection, Week 2.

‘Who in the world am I? Ah, that is the great puzzle’. Louis Carrol from Alice in Wonderland.

Flow Magazine landed in our shop a few years ago and that inspiring publication introduced me to concepts of mindfulness. By simply focusing on the present, checking in with my thoughts, feelings and what my body was experiencing, would create a state of mindfulness. This state of mindfulness is an inner space that can facilitate calm, healing and allows you to be fully present in your day to day. That is something to encourage right?

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Torrie’s art prompts for week 2 brought this into sharp focus for me. To list your own shortcomings  and then collage that material into a positive art journal page, as an expression of myself, seemed like mindfulness in action.

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Well, one page became three as I explored this prompt. I realised that, yes, expressing your creativity is an act of mindfulness, but, it is also an opportunity to transform. Concepts transform into art journal pages. Negative thoughts can have the opportunity to be accepted,and even moved on to more positive thoughts. The idea that we can transform ourselves, or our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves, as well as our shortcomings is a very hopeful thought.

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I chose the image of the tree and flowers because they represent the cycle of life and transformation.. I love to work with trees and flowers in real life as well as in design motifs. The elements of water, earth, air and sunlight are transformed to become these beautiful entities from the plant world.

I listed my shortcomings as well as my positive attributes on a separate page. Writing the words, then cutting the shapes, choosing my colours and shapes, I lost all sense of time and started to feel like I was capturing a moment of potential, weaving a lovely secret spell.

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The Season of Introspection.

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Season of Introspection, Week One.

So much about the Get Messy Season of Introspection feels right.

For one thing, here in the Southern Hemisphere, we are going into Winter.

This new Season of Introspection is a perfect fit for the coming Winter months. Did you know that Winter, in many cultures and in many alternate medicine modalities, is an opportunity to attune to the season by taking stock and getting in touch with your inner thoughts and inner self?  Further in that vein, Winter, is also the time to be mindful of where you are at on a physical level and then to take the time to build and nourish yourself for the coming Summer time.

And here is something else. I joined The Get Messy Art Journal Group to learn new techniques and challenge myself by getting out of my comfort zone. I have been out of my comfort zone all year so far and it has been an experience of expansion and learning. That challenge has continued with the new season request from Caylee and Lauren, that we try working with an altered book.

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This is my altered book choice. The Snow Leopard, written by Paul West and published in 1964. It is a book of poetry I picked up in an op-shop and has been waiting for just the right opportunity. Especially loving it’s petite A5 dimensions and natty board covers, it’s stitched-in pages and lovely aged papers. I started painting the inside cover, check out this little video!

Not to malign the author in any way, I knew that feeling ambivalent about the poems inside would allow me to ‘alter’ the books pages. It is a bit of a thing to get over that feeling that you are somehow defacing a book!

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The Ink Blot Tutorial by Vanessa, kick started the new Season with a fresh and fun painting technique that brings memories of childhood painting. It has been so entertaining reading the group’s interpretations ( a la Rorschach Test!) of all the ink blot creations in the Get Messy Facebook feed.

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Vanessa’s art prompt to use the inkblot painting as background to a self portrait, resonated with me. In my Ink blot painting, I first saw a leaf and then a tree. The trees branches hold some ideas that represent my connection to my environment, near and far.

Can’t seem to break away from the watercolour and Rotring pen combination!

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This page has it’s inspiration from Katie’s prompt – to show the special places you go to think and reflect. Recalling these special places to my mind,  I realise that I am lucky to have these places to retreat to when I can.

 

 

 

 

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Essentials of List Making

‘Writing is the only way I have to explain my own life to myself.’  Pat Conroy

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Part of playing around with this season’s prompts has been like learning to play with a new toy you didn’t know you wanted but then can’t put down. I discovered there is something about writing a list that helps create a state of mindfulness.

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Making a list seems to pare a thing, a thought, back to it’s essentials and there is something a little zen about that process.

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‘Writing is the only way I have to explain my own life to myself.’ is Pat Conroy’s well chosen quote on the Get Messy List prompts for week 3. Writing is a great tool for helping to get clarity. I also think that art, art journaling, music, craft and other creative pursuits, do the same very important, sanity saving job for people too.

That challenge of thinking of things in terms of a list, hasn’t come naturally but it has helped me manage the stress of a huge month full of change, of beginnings and endings. Got me thinking in a different way. I value that.

Ciao for now.

xR

 

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Make New Mistakes.

Do you know about ‘brainpickings’? It is a monthly journal, amazingly curated by writer Maria Popova. Very simply, each edition is packed full of wonderful pieces of writing that inspire, educate, elucidate and generally explore what it is to live a creative life.

This post in this edition of ‘brainpickings’ was what helped me nail my list this week.

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Here is a little from author, Neil Gaiman’s “Make Good Art” Speech, that so inspired.

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”   Neil Gaiman.

Lists 002. When I Grow Up…

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I wanted to be able to remember those ideas and use them when I needed encouragement.

What was the best way for me to do that?  Turn his lovely words into a list!

I want to go…

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I have been doing Fox and Hazel’s 30 Days Water colour Challenge. So I guess it is no surprise that this weeks lists are all in water colour.

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Making a small water colour everyday really is a challenge. Doing it has made me feel like I am on a creative journey, it is showing me things about myself and it has pushed me to try  lots of technique related things. Social media has let me peek into the hearts and minds of others in the challenge. I love that!!

Ciao for now.

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Season of Lists

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‘There is nothing more wonderful than a list, instrument of wondrous hypotyposis.’

Umberto Eco.

Yes, I love a list, but I’ll admit it, I had to look up what hypotyposis means….Mr Google says ‘a vivid picturesque description of a thing or event’. Adding a dictionary definition just took me straight back to primary school homework!!  That done, it seemed pretty clear that Mr Eco loves a list too. Up to now, I have thought of list making as a tool for managing my days. Enjoyable, rewarding and when you get to put a line through those entries, super satisfying too. This art journal group is dipping it’s big toe into a whole new set of prompts and it won’t take long before we are jumping right in. The girls over at Get Messy have joined forces with Amy and Kam from 30 Days of Lists and the new Season, Messy Lists has now begun.

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The poem by Sarah L Harvey, pretty much sums up how I am going to approach the period of time I have ahead of me, it will be a time of great change and uncertainty. The simple words of the poem definitely work as a call to mindfulness and a reminder of lesson learned.

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My Mum recently handed me back a big bundle of beautiful vintage lace samples that I had left behind so long ago and had forgotten about completely. It was a going to be a perfect opportunity for collage and I was able to use two of them in the ‘List’ album pages, which felt pretty darn good.

As you can see, I tried out Tanya Lee’s accordion album idea. I really love the way the folds of the album  move, showing you first one page or two and then, the whole length of the album, definitely recommend giving it a go!

Ciao!

 

 

 

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The Art of Happiness

‘The art of happiness lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things’.

Henry Ward Beecher.

The above quote seems especially true of childhood.

When I followed the recommendation of the Get Messy Journal prompt, to quiz a parent on what made you happiest as a child, I didn’t really expect to hear any stories I had not heard before. My sisters and I loved to play dress ups, that wasn’t news. The surprise, was the way Mum shared her memory of the way we used to play together. It was like she could see the three of us in her mind’s eye and as she spoke. Her words just conjured a moment that I could actually feel, bringing back the sense of what it was like to play. It was as if I was right back there. Do you remember that feeling of being completely immersed in the game of whatever story or world we had created as a child? As an adult, I now recognise that feeling of complete absorption and focus, mostly, when I am making and creating. These pages are a message to me from my childhood, reminding me of the power of play, and reminding me to play!

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I decided to put these up unfinished and with spelling errors intact. I seems I can’t drive a date stamp either…

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The parts that work for me are the scanned prints of the vintage fabric that came out of my Mum’s fabric stash. I could not believe she still had these! The orange piece on the left of the top image, was from curtains she made for our bedroom when I was eight. The three girls and the girl wearing Mum’s shoes are thanks to Pinterest and couldn’t be a more perfect representation of our dress up efforts, raiding Mum’s wardrobe and our dress up box.

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This page came out of another project I was working on for Easter. I wanted my rabbits to be big, strong and wild like the ‘Lapinduce’ in The D.M.Cornish, Monster Blood Tattoo Trilogy  book, Factotum.

Happiness is… dancing under the moonlight and these capering Rabbits are doing just that.

I have been so engaged by all the prompts and inspiration Lauren, Caylee and the team have thrown our way, it feels a little sad to have this season come to an end. On the bright side, there are more challenges to come.

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Not good enough, is not good enough any more.

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No sooner did I throw all these gorgeously coloured balls into the air, that I promptly dropped them and ran for cover. I quickly realised my inner critique was running the show and holding me back from sharing…anything.

My inner sound track would go something like this, ‘well, that needs more work’, or, ‘that’s a bit ordinary, not really good enough to put out there’. Sound familiar?

I don’t believe Everything you create should get shared without some editing or a little discernment. I started this blog as a way of getting consistent with my art practice, as another way to explore aspects of self expression. In the last few weeks, I have come to understand that the journey you undertake when you create, is worth sharing.

And here is a lovely moment of serendipity. The new Flow Magazine came out this week and the back cover just kind of wrapped up my recent experience and helped me get a little perspective.

‘Nearly perfect is just as good’.

Using one of the prompts for ‘Get Messy’, I am expressing emotion as colour.

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and on a lighter note, playing with monochrome again and things that make me happy!

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So here’s to not even close to perfect, but celebrating the journey!

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Art journal play

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2016 has me wanting to try new things, and explore ideas and creativity.

So, I opened an Etsy Shop, which is exciting. Then, I put pen to paper for my first ever blog post under my own moniker, I can’t tell you how long that took for me to jump in and do that thing! Joining the Get Messy Art Journal group was my next endeavor,so 2016 is off to a great start.

The learning curve on all this is feeling pretty steep right now but I am looking forward to what I can share and learn and seeing where all this will take me.

The on-line community at Get Messy is vibrant and generous and the concepts and regular prompts have been inspiring and challenging. I am planning on posting my journey with art journaling here, so look out for some of those pages.

 

 

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