A Year in Mixed Media ~ part one


Throughout 2015 I completed a mixed media art journal, one page each week.

Some weeks were easier, some were colourful, some were hard to start and some were hard to finish. Both in terms of the art, and in terms of the weeks out of which the pages emerged.

It’s all metaphors, right? 

This year I’m revisiting my year of mixed media, and bringing the pages to life in a different form. Here I was, one year ago:

 

Starting out here, in January 2015, a blank book (year) ahead – full of possibilities img_3578

Week 1 unfolded, bright, wordy and eye-filled.

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Week 2 was a big ole brain dump. Funny how this process cements moments into the memory.

I remember listening to podcasts and YouTube things as I doodled this out. Words and phrases filtered through my ears down, out through my drawing hand – sometimes verbatim – sometimes slightly altered by the messages I heard inside the words.

‘Make 2015 the year you question everything’, said the scrap of paper. Glued into my book, glued into my imagination, this phrase was to inform the way the coming months played out. Question Everything.

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Week 3: Comfortably into the new year I was setting myself some targets. I achieved the specific ones – way quicker than I expected too. But reflecting from a year further into this life, I see how woolly and unquantifiable some were. Lately I’ve been listening to Leonie Dawson. Do you know her?  She’s also loud, smiley, fun and colourful. I like her a lot. She’s big on goal setting. I’m following her wisdom this time round.

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Week 4 found time to pause for thought. I was brimming with optimism, which mirrored again this year as a time so rich in potential and beginningness. As much as anything else, I’m getting to know me a while lot better through doing this. Turns out that’s my happy place: just on the cusp of an ending and a beginning. (Oh, and in case you’re wondering – the computer came back in full health – having not forgotten anything).

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Week 5 – the cross over from January into February. Another big week. (They’re even bigger looking back – it’s a trick of perspective, maybe).

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So as we turn into the next month today, this seems a good point to pause. Part two will follow along soon. 

 

 

 

 

almost completely (50/52)


Every week this year I’ve worked on one page of this art journal.

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There’s a poignancy to the last pages of a book, a wanting to eke out the fun….

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mixed with a readiness to move on to new projects.
Oh so many new projects lined up!

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This is an almost complete page of the almost complete book….

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We’re so close to the end now I’m going to save the completed page until I can show you the whole book at once 🙂

ingredients of a week (49/52)


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In no particular order, this week’s page is built out of these things…

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Derwent XL Graphite (same folks who make the Inktense stuff). Big chunky blocks that are also water soluble. Great for grubby grimy grunge. Vague shapes and noises to form the ambiance.

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Brené Brown vividly describes something I’ve been focused on this year, these words showed up this week…

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

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Scroobius PipThe  Beat That My Heart Skipped (and much more). Such a fine Wordsmith, a rhyming genius…

“Especially in this instance
Never ending persistence
To use the words in each sentence
As if they were blunt instruments
To beat a hole in their defence
Of this beauty and her innocence
Which serves to build resistance
In spite of all my good intents.”

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Copic Pens (I don’t have them with me, I forget exactly which ones) – lovely delicate translucent colors. Layers of hazy background.

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Sakura Gelly Roll Pens Oh my! I could just write for miles and miles in these pens. Buttery soft. Love. And some colours really zing too.

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Regular old graphite pencils. Everything about writing and drawing in pencil whisks me back to childhood. Mixed memories. Shiny greys on the page, shiny grey smudges on pages, on hands, on faces… Timeless.

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Carne Griffiths I fell across CG’s work again on DeviantArt this week. I remembered it from researching drawing styles online for an artschool project a couple of years or so back. Some aspects of his style has leaked back into my subconscious this week. (I’m glad)

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Perspective. Is upsidedown intrinsically wrong and in need of re-orienting? Writing is more than words of information, it’s shapes and connections and flow. The angle of the eyeline defines the view not the object. That’s what everything in the news boils down to (from where I’m looking)

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Pilot Gel Ink Pen Super rich black ink, words spill out with ease.

Thanks for dropping by…………X

 

 

 

 

weightiness (48/52)


The year is winding down and the book is getting fat.

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The pages are reflecting this in a literal way,
piling on colors, darker, thicker, visually weightier.

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Pencil on paint on marker on washi on paper on pen on paper on page.
Over and over; On and on.

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The lines are getting tangled up.
The shapes and the words are enmeshed.

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Amping up the contrast entails adding more

collage scraps of old photos and dictionary pages

(collage scraps of old photos & dictionary pages)

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more thick paint – more collage –

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thickening up the page – and increasing the heft.

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All part of this curious adventure that is, a page a week, 2015.

 

 

 

thoughts are things (46/52)


Do you know Mike Dooley? He’s a proponent of this idea, as I am too. This was in my mind this week as this page took shape.

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Everything begins with a thought. 

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The idea of this book didn’t seem like a realistic thought 11 months ago when it was born.

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Although I’m behind in showing you the pages, they’re still emerging a page at a time, a week at a time. Just a few pages to go now – doubts disproved.

 

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I don’t know the origin of this character… Maybe someone just floating through….

 

 

 

red-blue (45/52)


Still playing catch up : I’m just a few pages from bringing you up to where I am in the book now!

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This week’s collage fodder includes some ex-pages from a gridded notebook, and a recycled envelope with a pleasingly matching tiny-gridded inside pattern.

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Coloring in the squares makes a tranquil meditationy pass-time. Time to brain-idle for a bit. Coloring in the bitty little envelope-innards squares was more of a tiny dot technique that was less restful, and less pursued.

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Color-wise I’ve got a big Red/Blue thing going on a lot in my life.  Season of contrast – I want to balance out all that muted wintery grey and fog.

Edit: I just noticed this: the poppies! That was a subconscious thing I didn’t register at the time. I actually had to look back and check the week this was, and yes, it was the week with remembrance day.

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This week I’m mostly wearing red & blue. (Did I tell you I have blue hair right now. This color obsession has literally gone to my head!)

a nest of nests (44/52)


As this week progressed I was listening to the audio book version of Tim Ferriss’ 4 hour work week. IMG_6125

His finely tuned systematized out-sourcing structure is a few bounds further than I will stretch, but I’m finding  workable elements to feel more productive before they even manifest out of the theoretical.

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One rule is ‘Don’t multi-task’

This is a truth I already get.

It’s just a way to do more than one thing simultaneously, less efficiently, with added confusion, and slower. And don’t get me started on all the associated women vs men BS.)

I totally get the point of not multi-tasking

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So being reminded made me smile…

…as I witnessed my self simultaneously fail at several tasks, as my inner rebel will neither listen to her own advice, nor that of the instruction she’s currently agreeing with.

I mean – the whole audio book thing –  is surely a vehicle to enable the doing of too many things at once.

Sure I can read an actual book, I’d enjoy that. Oooh, but what if I could distractedly miss chunks of the content while concurrently doing just a few other things….

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Y’know, so long as you can appreciate the irony, and it makes you smile.

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On the theme of streamlining efficiency, being less time-wasteful. Bullet-journaling has bobbed up on my horizon a few times.

I’m a long time journaler, diary writer, and exhaustive lister. It’s the best kinda brain-dump, and as a bonus  I love to read over the thoughts of a previous me, comparing a today from another year, another era.

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I’m drawn toward bullet-journaling cos I find so many notes and lists are repeated in fragmented form over years. I can round them all up in one book, once and for all. Resisting beginning with a list of lists, this looks like it could be a solution.

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From the start of December I’m going to utilize a variation on this system. At the time of writing, I have over a week before it begins for proper, but I’ve already acquired a new notebook, noted some notes, listed some lists.

I’ll let you know how it pans out.

another wave of chaos (43/52)


Each week I complete another page of this book, each page is similar but distinctly individual, echoing the shape each week takes.

More often than not I’ll be listening to the radio, a podcast, or someone speaking to me from the internet. And the words that resonate loudest often find their way into the page. This week the words came (again) from Bashar


“… the key to riding the wave of chaos
is not to resist it
but to allow yourself to know
you are a part of the energy of chaos.
To allow yourself to be chaos
and in becoming chaos
and allowing a new form of organization in,
rather than imposing your old system of organization upon it,
by letting this new idea in
and, as you say, riding it,
going with it,
not resisting it.
you will then, by becoming chaos,
allow the chaotic action
to show you through sychronicity,
what it is you really need to be aware of,
how it is that life will organize itself
using you as a guide post.”

Contrast and Agreements (42/52)


Sometime earlier this year I fell upon the Four Agreements (Miguel Ruiz). This week they fell back into my mind, so I caught them here on the page. If you don’t know them,

The Four Agreements are:

1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

I remind myself of these to keep on track. Again and again. There’s something magical about the physical act of writing words.  I think the process is wired up to a special section of the brain that remembers differently.

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There’s a lot about contrast. By which I mean to say – everywhere – it’s all about contrast, isn’t it? And on a smaller scale too.. Yester-page saw the words shouting out unhindered by art. This page is the opposite as from almost the outset the wordage got drowned out by heavy paint.

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But it’s ok, I know what I wrote. The words are still fresh in my mind and readily retrievable from this bountiful online repository of stuff.

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This page saw me in the mood for change. Random artifacts. Desk findings.

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‘what if… it happened. what if…’

Moleskine users will recognise this addition (I never had cause to use these stickers – or these others that turned up a recent tidying flurry – but as somehow-un-throw-out-ables, there’s quite a collection to use up now)

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It’s been a few pages since I played with the paints. So that was the spark to the first layer of word covering.
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But…oh…

too dark.

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Bring contrast: Add white

splurged on white

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Thick dollopy white – oh THE PATTERNS!

OH MY DAYS!

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But…..

Now too much white?

glimpses survive, but … more color to balance that white…

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Like the proverbial kid in the sweet shop, or the bull in the china shop, I am the loon with the oil pastels, making the lumps and rhythms in the white paint come to life in all the colours of autumn that my eyes have been unconsciously soaking in.

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Not usually a fav medium to me, I’m just developing a fondness for the slightly icky messiness involved.

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And yet again, while the page (week) has a certain overall heaviness (ugliness)

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that I didn’t have time to remedy,

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the details (moments) hold the beauty.