Friday, 30 April 2010

sacred background?

I’ve recently discovered a new colour combination that I really like, it’s a combination of orange, yellow and pink with a bit of green. I tried to take a photo of the background (below) but the picture doesn’t do it justice.

mandala page
The colour combination reminds me of the rose bush that grew outside of my bedroom window when I was in Primary School.

One thing I discovered while I was staring at the completed background was that I didn’t know what to put on top of it.

I’m sure plenty of you have experienced the same situation in the past; you become so enamoured with the background you’ve slated over that you just couldn’t bring yourself to write on top of it or – Goddess forbid – collage over it.

But it would be a shame to leave it just as a “blank” page, so after much internal debate, I allowed myself to draw a mandala over it.

I have a feeling that this page isn’t finished yet, but for now this is as much “desecrating” as I could allow myself. Maybe later when I’ve become a bit more detached to the page, I would add more on it.

What do you do with “sacred backgrounds”?

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

morning pages – follow up

It’s been a month since I first discovered morning pages and I thought that I should write a follow up entry.

I must admit to feeling a stab of guilt every time I create journal pages, it seems such a frivolous waste of paper (my Critic is slightly different from the run-of-the-mill you-don’t-deserve-to-be-called-an-artist Critic, he throws words like “recycling” and “eco-friendly”, normally with the dash of “hypocrite” added in), so you can imagine how writing three pages of morning pages can make me feel.

The actual act of writing is very freeing, most of the time the words aren’t legible; it is truly a moving of the hand across the page, letting the words out. But once I done, I wonder what I should do with the pages…

That’s when I found the website www.750words.com. It seems to be the answer to my unspoken prayers – it’s a very stripped down online journaling/blogging site. Stripped down because it doesn’t really let you jazz up your pages (e.g. fonts, colours, images), and each entry is private by default, so other people can’t read what you’ve written. The site counts how many words you’ve typed and would let you know when you’ve reached your goal (they estimate that three pages would equal to 750 words). It also keeps track of each day you’ve written the full 750 words, and whether you were able to write the required number of words in one sitting without any distractions.

image

Without the bells and whistles it allows writers to focus on the actual act of writing. There’s also a reports page which analyses the numbers of words that you’ve written over the history of your account, the types of words you’ve written (positive vs. negative), the contents (about relationships, work, life etc.), which can all be very interesting to read.

image

This is where the problem comes in.

There are so many stats – words per minute, number of interruptions while writing, how many days in a row can you maintain a one-entry-a-day streak. It all became number crunching in the end. I was writing to try to get 4-day streak turkey, or I was trying to write without stopping so I could get 0 interruption in my data, or I’d try to type faster to get a better wpm average.

The morning pages became stressful.

I began missing days. On days I did write, the actual act of typing became work-like; I didn’t feel liberated writing my morning pages, I just felt a sense of relief when it was over.

I felt disillusioned by the concept of morning pages.

But I recently received The Artist’s Way in the mail and I decided to give it another go but this time I stuck with the pen and paper way.

The flow of pen over paper, without caring whether the words were legible was liberating.

 

So the point of the story? I’m back to square one – Morning Pages on paper. I’m thinking of doing the morning pages as a type of word-wash background for my journal pages – we’ll see how we go.

Just one last point – I can’t stress how great 750words.com is. Regardless of all the stuff I wrote above, it is a great site and a great tool to bookmark in your browser. The above issues are just my problems, and they aren’t even a problem if I don’t use the site for my morning pages.

This is just my little rant, my self-justification for going back to pen and paper ;P

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

let me explain…

It all started with a friend’s spur-of-the-moment comment, “Let’s start a band…”

I admit that we are an impulsive bunch, and we’ve made many similar plans in the past that never saw fruition (eg. “Let’s all get a tattoo..”) But I believe it was those failed past ideas that made us more enthusiastic this time; so that we each took our turn to egging the others on when enthusiasm flagged. We chose our individual roles in the band based on our previous experience with a particular musical instrument. Then we went to a music store…
IMG_1037_trimmed
That is a electric bass guitar (or a ESP LTD F-104, to be exact) and it is so gorgeous. I’ve never played a bass before (my previous experience with music was either the piano or classical singing) but I figured it was easier to learn than guitar.
IMG_1038

I did a lot of Googling and Wiki’ing prior to entering the music store, and did a lot more brand-specific research after that first visit (buying a bass advice #1: never buy on the first visit, no matter how much your impulse-buy-bug bites – trust me, it took a lot of will power not to take out my wallet that first visit).

It was a good thing I didn’t buy the first bass I saw (which was around $6,000 HKD/ $770 USD) because the one I ended up getting only cost $2,800 HKD/ $360 USD) and it was in the colour I wanted (buying a bass advice #2: appearance does matter; you’re less likely to practice if you cringe every time you look at the instrument).

So I’ve been busying practicing my bass, self-teaching from the myriads of Youtube videos and Google search results (I sometimes wonder what I did before Google/Yahoo! search engines were invented/programmed). Bass practice is not something that I could photograph and blog about unlike journal pages), so please excuse me if my blog entries become even more sporadic than before.

But that’s not all I’m busy with. I just received the following in the mail:

 

Sera Beak’s “The Red Book” and Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way”, both spiritual books in their own ways. I ordered “The Red Book” after reading Samantha Kia’s review and I bought “The Artist’s Way” so I could actually do something with the morning pages I’ve done (and to hopefully inspire me to continue – I’ve kind of put that exercise down).
 
I haven’t started the two books yet – it’s kind of a torment to decide which one to start first and whether it’s possible to read both at the same time, and did I mention I’m currently reading Susan Pesznecker’s “Crafting Magick with Pen and Ink”?
 
I have a feeling that these books are going to inspire many journal pages to come – once I figure out how to juggle everything at once.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

act of kindness – Roben-Marie

Look at what came in the mail today!

Act of Kindness
These little beauties came from Roben-Marie from "Every Life Has a Story!".

I saw on her tutorial and process videos - which are great by the way - that the pens she was using did not smudge when she painted over it.

When I asked her what pens she used, she told me that they were Sharpie Ultra Fine Point markers. When she found out that Sharpie wasn’t a brand that’s readily available in Hong Kong, she sent me a set without any hesitation. It was so generous of her!

She also sent me a Permaball Pilot pen which she highly recommends. And do you see that “Dream” postcard at the bottom there (it’s the only way to fit everything into the picture)? That’s from Roben-Marie’s Art Goods Shop and it’s gorgeous, I’m going to find some way to put that into a journal page.

Friday, 2 April 2010

point & shoot journaling - journey

Second series of photos for the point and shoot journaling course I’m taking is called “Journey”. This lesson touched more upon (non digital) photo manipulation and how to incorporate or blend photos into a page.

Gesso seems to have a big role into this lesson’s photo manipulation technique, and especially helps to blur the line between paper and photo.

"Journey" Page - detail
I’m having a little trouble finding archived photos that deals with the subject “Journey”, so I will keep my eyes peeled for new photo op that could be journey-related. In the meantime I will try out some of the photo manipulation techniques on other photos and post them up as soon as they’re done.

new art supplies + dedicated spot to use them

So many people rave about the Golden Fluid Acrylics, about the colour, about the texture. Last weekend I finally visited the one art supplies store in Hong Kong that seems to sell them (you won’t believe how many stores don’t have it). While I was there, I got some other knick knacks as well…

art supplies

So I got the Golden Fluid Acrylics (Titanium White, Carbon Black, Turquoise, Cobalt Teal, Hansa Yellow and Naphthol Red), Golden Acrylic Glazing Liquid, brayer, foam brush, hobby knife, paper trimmer, and Washi origami paper.

As you can see from the brayer, it’s already taken a bit of abuse by the time I got around to taking the picture (more on my new found love for brayering later). It was so much fun walking through a real art supplies store (as opposed to a stationery shop) and putting things into the basket – of course, it wasn’t so fun when it was time to pay!

After playing with the above items for a couple of days, I realise that I’ve been accumulating more and more stuff (something I’m sure every art journaling, scrapbook making, or mixed media artists are familiar with) and the little floor spot between the sofa and the TV is not nearly enough room to put everything. Not to mention the hassle of putting things away when I’m done with them (imagine having friends over and having them tip-toe over gesso tubs, stencils/masks, and acrylics/watercolours). So I finally decided to clear out a little niche in my apartment (formerly my unused dining area) and dedicate it solely towards anything creative.

creative corner

This is a picture of my modest art niche; I know it’s no where near anything like the workshops people have posted on the web, but it’s my own and I have a bad bad feeling that I would be adding more to it soon (lol). I’ve refrained from piling my metal clay, cross stitching, tatting, knitting things onto this table as I wanted to leave room on it for me to actually work!

We’ll see how long I can keep things tidy… do you reckon I should find some sort of cover for the table? Any suggestions?

Thursday, 1 April 2010

journaling the “ugly things”

Even before art journaling, when I was just writing in my journal (or diary) I’ve been hesitant about putting down the negative things – angry thoughts, fears, uncertainty.


I didn’t want to give these negative thoughts power by giving them form in the world – ie. written record in my journal. It’s not that I repress the emotions, but I just let it go. I don’t know whether this is a psychologically healthy thing to be doing – perhaps they are festering in the recesses of my mind, however I find that my goldfish memory pretty much takes care of everything, if I don’t write it down I don’t get reminded of them and they will fade into the shadows of time.


But sometimes I wonder whether this is an unbalanced way of living, to only remember the good and forget the bad. This is when I find this video by RougeRavenDesigns.

Although it doesn’t make me take out my journal and start ranting and raving about my job, I find myself a bit more open towards using my journal as a way to help me through difficult times.

It also help me see art journaling as not just art pages but journaling pages as well. Since I’ve found art journaling, I’ve seen pages and pages of sketches and doodles, paintings and mixed media art. Words are a by-product, a way to decorate the page or add context to the imagery.

I’m sure there are many journaling-centred pages too, but I haven’t seen many of them being displayed. This video showed me otherwise, there were so many words, and in neat rows. They weren’t loopy or decorative, but they were still artistic in a very neat kind of way. A way that I appreciate.

Perhaps I can stop believing that art journaling is image-centric, it is a journal as well.

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