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.

 

 

 

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.”

It’s all a mirror…. 41/52


The year winds on, the weeks flip by, the book of weeks fills up.

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I’m finding out stuff I didn’t even know was there.

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You remember back to January? I set my word for the year, after much deliberation, to Focus.

It took some fathoming, and even then I wasn’t positive I’d picked the right word… or the right word had picked me.

But as I let it settle we found our connection with each other. And time and again I’ve been surprised at what has become my focus of attention.

As the year bumps along my focus shifts. 

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More than a few times I’ve felt myself careering down a route I didn’t plan.

(with practice this gets easier: stop trying to steer at high speed – see where you land up – it’s all part of the wild ride of life)

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Racing headlong toward something I’ve avoided in the past.
For fear. For fear of…? Fear of what’s behind it all?

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This sentence appeared in my world – loud and timely enough for it to become what  this page is based around. Loud, Bold Lettering – which some weeks gets covered up – not this week.  The organising committee in my mind had other plans, and only allowed the doodles to skirt the edges. To enhance not to obliterate. Ok….I thought….Ok. You trying to tell me something here?

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Back in the real world, this particular week the final project was almost due part of an online course I’ve been taking. I was in a state of suspended procrastinatory blur: the deadline was 5 days off when I emailed the course leader to confess I was beaten, I couldn’t pull it together in time. I had to quit.

This left me with just two problems.

Problem #1 – quitting wasn’t followed by the enormous wave of relief I’d expected. Instead a slightly sorrowful shame that nearly a year’s worth of work hadn’t reached it’s completion, it had just damply fizzled out.

Problem #2 – no amount of saying ‘I just don’t know what to do’ would quieten these big bold words I was mindlessly doodling around in this weeks page. I did know what to do, I also knew I didn’t want to do it. But I did:  It needed doing. It was going to be difficult, emotional, raw. I was a bit scared.

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Ok. I’ll do it. This idea had been drifting around in the margins for some months now. Trying to creep into focus I nudged it away. Repeatedly. But ideas can be stubborn and this one finally flew out before I could stop it, unraveling in front of me.

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I had 3 days to go and I faced my demons, I did what I know needed doing: I sat and wrote my story.

My story is my art and my art is my story. As is this book, I’m the sum of my days. Until I face up and focus for real I won’t ever see who I am behind the mirrors.

As time settles the rawness in my mind, I’ll bring bits of it over here to show you. X

Time Hole (39/52)


I fell down another hole in time but it’s All OK Now.

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I jumped. I was down there from some time, lurking
(it happens from time to time. Do you do this too?)

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I’ve learned to TRUST I’ll fumble my way out eventually.
I follow my instincts and they lead me back to where I left off.

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It’s a case of just ALLOWing. Letting go.
(Which reminds me – I’ve been reading this.)

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There’s a lot about perspective…
Seeing the same thing from a different angle, a different approach.

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What matters most…

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Since I started this project back in January,
every week has entailed some sort of variation on the same theme:

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There’s been doodles and scribble, lists and lyrics,
Notes to me-in-the-future, that’s to say,
to me-in-the-now from a-previous-me-in-the-past

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There’s been a whole lot of mess and color.

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(In that sense, no different from any other of my years, I guess)

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This is the first time I’ve been disciplined to do the
same/similar thing consistently every week, for
39 consecutive weeks at this point, and still going strong

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I’m just behind on showing you, so there will be a
flurry of catching up over the next short little while.

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So this was that week then, the next week then will
follow in a blink of a thing. Hold onto your hats.