paper madness

orangeness in art journals plus thoughts

This is actually a fairly yellow post in terms of how the words are put together as well as what they express.  [and then heart - uh - muscled into the middle of everything, too.] The journal pages hold orange-ness and distinctly orange qualities of expression.

***Please note.  i spent part of yesterday afternoon bringing back all the collage challenge posts including the numerous prep-posts I published during last December. ***

OrangejustshowupThe centerfold of my first attempt to cut and layer page edges in this kind of way.  I was working with a book that offered a full year's self-guided relatively deep dive into art journaling.  I won't mention the book title because I know this particular process - specifically it's lack of addressing mental health/emotional backup support context - is legit upsetting to a few of my friends who are art therapists. I also know how I felt myself when somebody approached the exercises here in a way that caused disruption to the mainframe for about a minute and a half's worth of teachable-ness that one hopes will be effective - or at least of some marginal use for two people just starting out on the life path of reaching out from a soulful place laced with vision clarity and then seeing what happens. 

subtext:  I'm the seasoned one, here.  so I guess my first line of business each and every month is to figure out what that means as the days unfold.

OrangeLustTulipmania
[another page in my informal botanical art journal.  first I used watercolor ground without reading about it or watching any videoes.  I just put a ton on all around the pasted down tulips.  A strand of hair got caught in it and I just cut off the part beyond the page, etc. Only in retrospect do I realize I could/should have sanded the rippling over-abundance of grounding material and at some point pressed flat[ter] under books.  At the time I wrecked a pitt pen and moved on.  We'd seen the movie Tulip Mania the night before and had a long discussion about the general historical event afterwards.  J was surprised I knew some stuff and delivered info with such enthusiastic verve.  I said to him, 'it's about flowers, isn't it ???']

One thing I learned very beautifully from last year's spontaneously decided-upon collage challenge is that amazing things can happen when someone is willing and ready to trust someone else enough to come into a place of much deeper trust with themselves.  I learned that from the group, from the amount of challenges and lessons I juggled behind the scenes, and here on the verge of the House of Self/solar center, I will also say I learned a tremendous amount from my previously established inner resources.  The most important thing I learned was that what I'd already established at an internal level was far less disparate and meager than I imagined in my conscious mind's skew of who I was. 

suicide prevention/risk assessment work needs to have a strong heart connection but the heart center itself must be protected simply to keep it beating and beaming strongly in the rest of life.  That means what I knew of myself as a leader comes from the sacral belly and Ajna territory.  I did not have the luxury (and this is exactly the most organic way to put it) of leading from my heart within my larger work.  It would have been trampled to shreds within - knowing myself as I do - less than a month.

So I found out about the specific creative/healing magic that comes from a purely heart-centered place when I started prepping for the collage challenge in December.  Part of that was various energetic/intentional magic kind of work here in the studio.  I opened a channel.  And because I came from a heart centered place - and purely a heart place - everything that came back to me was from the heart as well. 

the biggest learning:  when you aren't focused on the most broken and abandoned parts of the population, and you offer something that is purely enjoyable and fun within a built-in but intimately sized community - 95% of the heart you will be shown flowing back to you is likely to be WOW so heart-full and loving. 

this is what we all have within us at all times - the Power of Heart.  That's one of the two secondary things the collage challenge taught me.  The subtext, of course, is that combined heart energy is immeasurably powerful.  It can connect disembodied space into a bona fide community.  This is an invaluable thing to start thinking about more tangibly as another season of lockdown living gets underway.

Orangehorsesass[This is from a dedicated art journal I kept during my second Saturn return.  I was really irritated with my husband that day - who was returning right along with me.]

I think it all boils down to what's patently obvious from the onset.  People need to be able trust themselves as well as the leader.  If they can't do both they must at least have one of the trust factors firmly grounded.  After grounding comes focus.  Being willing to give that to yourself and how you're feeling/reacting before it becomes a part of the mainframe's focus.

I've always felt able to trust myself in relation to personal growth/creative exploration work.  I learned to trust my leadership abilities when a person who, by any measure, was a world class leader-oriented teacher told me I had excellent instincts and unique skills worth developing. 

Orangeravens Right now I feel that way very very strongly about the two young gentlemen doing all the heavy lifting so absolutely all I have to do is show up and maintain faith the magic will make itself for and with whoever shows up with me.

I want both R and M to move forward in learning what that means to them.  So in the coming YELLOW House of Self month I'll combine art journal pages with stuff I've learned about leadership, healing energy, and what I've learned that applies to me not quite as specifically as I've chosen to imagine in the past.  My intention is inspire an inner look at your own solar expression because we all need our inner sun's light to shine on and on and on right now.

because we are ALL leaders - if only of ourselves and what directional course we set at any given point of our day/night.

 


collage & paint in visual journals

Visitingandsketchbook11920

Whatisaliciacomplete Awhile back I expressed my sense of disconnect to collaging.  It seemed too much like what my brain was trying to do the rest of the time  in the endless task of making some type of personal sense out of the world around me.  Both activities create narrative from disparate form(s) and that part of my brain got exhausted for a relatively long bit of time. 

I know I posted about this page after it took me forever to glue down What Is Alicia and the red flower on grey scraps.  Can't locate it right now though.  But it's taken me since whenever that was to gather an answer to the right scraps to answer that question.

CovidsptradIt took a long time to complete this narrative as well.  now it speaks well of the ragged beauty to be found despite the menace to ongoing equilibrium.  Bright emerald green is the color of healing physically and returning to a more organic form or other rendering of our individual life force. I'll add orange paint pen strokes to the blank spaces in the paint scraped background.

ReleasethehealingAdded the collage elements above the day of that weird Four Seasons press conference. In the flower essence realm - daisies offer us help in synthesizing overwhelming amounts of information from disparate sources.  I feel like that ability broke in me some time over the past week and I'll use the rest of whatever collage emerges to piece together something more sustainable and simply wired.

Dowhatsright

ThingscelestesspirtCeleste was a very special cat who was part of our family for 23 years.  Over the past weekend J, T, and I buried her ashes in a special memorial plot we created back in the spring.  We took our time finding the right moment and garden space.  I feel a lot more confident and less overprotective now that the space is fenced.  I still miss her intensely from time to time but the ongoing sorrowful yearning part of the missing has dissipated. 

Shemightseethis

Thingsshemightsee2

Whatimightshowher

Shemightseepage*

Today I'm bringing back this post about a favorite sketchbook from '19.  I thought it was '18.  That's how long this year feels.  It's kind of freaking me out that the collage challenge was only 10 and a half months ago.  How can that be true?  Time's the thing that's changed the most it often seems to me ...


unretouched

Yesterday I knew I was making progress when I hit the base layer of paper scraps related to last January's collage challenge.  That's how far I get every time I attempt to clear my work desk.  Once I hit the point of surveying a tantalizing wealth of collage fodder I pull out various journals and sketchbooks and start working in them all at once. 

Sketchbookpage103020The same thing happened late yesterday afternoon. One thing led to another once I was reunited with this particular sketchbook/journal.  Now I'm back inside of that book and a few others.  Most people I know who become interested in working in books as an ongoing thing often wind up focused on more than one book at time so there's something to do while waiting for other pages to dry, etc.

In the page spread above I'd pasted a few things on the left hand side - planning to explore the color palette in the fabric and painted paper scraps.  But then I wanted something less refined.  I just wanted to jump into the book and stay there for a little while.  I began with paint smears and super basic mixing based on this triad:

Autumnprimary I wish I had remembered that Turquoise and red oxide just do not make a pleasant purple/violet.  I like the grey tones of washing out the color distribution.  For a mixing triad I would generally go with Venetian Red for the other two.  Red oxide was the closest in this line which I'm trialing throughout this year with an eye towards using them exclusively as the first couple paint layers. The paintings need to be camera/scan ready  and I wish I'd opted for the other red I have to hand; no-cad red light.  I also want to mix the turquoise with raw sienna and see what the value and contrast range might look like.  Works great with watercolors.  Today when I play in this book I'll be working with that mixing on a different page.  Also want to see what kind of orange comes from the no-cad red light.

Frontwindow1stsnowfall103020This is what it looks like as I type this post.  The snow may or may not be stopping.  Our baker emailed to offer flexible pickup times in deference to the roads everyone must drive to reach her kiosk deep in the woods.  We opted for tomorrow's pick up and are grateful.

StudioguessNight before last J brought our field guardian inside.  She is not to have any contact with ice or sleet and we knew wintry mix was on its way.

SecretsmysteryAm getting ready for the first/root chakra and thus the color red.  Recalled I had started a spread for each of the energy centers.  Decided to share this particular journal's title page in this post as well as one side of the root chakra's spread.

RootchakrasecretsnmysButterfly and paint chips aren't glued down because they will not remain.  They're helping me visually meditate - the difference between clear running energy and that which is sluggish or in some way toxified.  How that might be portrayed visually.

DonteventhinkAlso set up a personal Above/Below/Within related to the coming month of root chakra work.  I chose themes and imagery related to first chakra qualities that feel especially important to me at this time.  Top to Bottom relating to first chakra's qualities of boundaries, embodiment and core energy.   Bottom to top as aligned with my pre-selected triune: truth, myth, circumstance.  Will next consider how to mix and match those six building blocks.

If you aren't part of the Deep Dive group and are more established blog readers simply following along because why not  --

Search for imagery, pieces of fabric, and so forth that might be used in constructing a red square.  In the second to the last photograph in this post look at the stenciled image.  Notice the blank/cream square behind the chrysanthemum.  Imagine you could remove it and work the center of a sacred symbol as a piece of personal sympathetic magic.  

in other words

NONE of us feel truly stable right now although I imagine most are doing our level best to stay as balanced as possible.

What if there was a physical "red square" where you went to set energetic roots?  Imagine consciously drawing-up nourishment and illumination from ageless wisdom or even just a stray thought you had when you first woke up that offered comfort, nourishment or resilience.  

Think of what's been grounding, stabilizing, and connected you to a deeper part of yourself over the course of time spent in a larger arena of chaos, neglect, autocracy, and soul erosion. 

Let whatever you know to be true for yourself at that specific level be the starting point of building a red square.  This could wind up being a red-on-red nine patch, a freeforall collage you wind up cutting to size or something more deliberate of graphic arts nature.

 *

Today's snow squalls are making hash of my usual atypical neuro-functioning.   I'm at 1/3 speed right now due to nerve-zaps as well as marginal walking and talking level disability. Overlayed with a bit of fuzziness due to pain management option of choice.   Am intent to continue puttering within cleaning up and a spontaneous collage party with myself as I clear more space and also put things back in their places. 

*

Yesterday I started re-posting old entries and brought back a scrap quilt tribute to my Aunt Grace.  Today I'm bringing back a love letter to my favorite city.  Always assumed I'd be visiting a handful more times but now I've become deeply grateful for the memories from the post and a trip over the winter break of '03 when J and I met T for his winter break and had a massive two week road trip through northern Italy together.


an exorcism of sorts

ParadisefeverYesterday I woke up understanding that my plague of a headache was finally in the rear view mirror.  By the afternoon I was able to laugh at a friend's short declarative sentenced description of my annus horribilis experience so far.  The dumping-on of the traumas and deaths and difficult news has been beyond overkill but that's what it's been for me so I gotta find my zen with it.  Being able to laugh at just how crucial it IS that I laugh was basically more important to me than the absence of head pain.  That yields gratitude that I didn't have to choose.

In the later afternoon I received the following email from my friend:

Collage prompt : What does the sentient being who has been messing with your life the past 6 months look like...

And I went from old dog grieving for a departed human to my hell yeah mode just reading the words.  Because as soon as I saw it I realized it was exactly what I needed and wanted. And by nightfall I had gotten this far:

CollageIPAnd I felt so much lighter.  So much more willing to believe that in another day or two I'd feel ready and able to kick ass as need be.  And that in the meantime it was okay if I continued to move very slowly.  Yesterday I had potentially wonderful news and even if that must be tempered it was solidly good.  Also harvested a very large basket of tulsi flower buds and leaves.  Too many to fully process last night as their soothing and calming scent and vital oils overpowered my body and soul.  So I brought the remaining cuttings up to the studio early this morning to complete the garbling process.  And don't worry.  I removed that spotty leaf once I noticed it.  Yesterday afternoon I heaped that entire large basket with budding stems.

Tulsibaskets82120

WhatdoesitlooklikeThought I was going to do something else with the Ptolemy Thompkins book cover.   But this completes the taunted threat.  Also as a side note:  this book is one of my favorite memoirs ever.  We have one degree of separation by way of his father Peter.  Uh-huh.  That Peter Thompkins.  He was at our house twice.  Mega-weird times especially for the offspring of the mega-weirdest. 

or something.  Ptolemy writes beautifully, that's all I'm saying.  Have read his other books a couple of times each.  Will re-read this one last time before I gut the covers and turn it into my next woodshedding paint-oriented sketchbook/journal.


balancing. sorta.

Mama030720

A lot of my studio time during the second half of this week felt like one long practical application of all the times I've stayed awake far too long running through various mental lists and scenarios related to emergency/disaster preparedness.   A lot of people I know in the walking around world started doing this as a feature rather than a bug after 9-11 or Katrina.  I've been doing it - with long offs and then painfully intense on cycles that feel like they'll never end - since an exceedingly boisterous fireman came to my 3rd grade class.  Grinning as wide as Dick Van Dyke he enthusiastically described all the things we must do to keep ourselves and our families safe in the event of a fire.

Fast forward to the now in which J. and I reflected on our past while taking a break from inventorying and collating/date-coding our amassed non-perishables.  I reminded him of whatever hurricane it was that roared all the way up the east coast when T. was quite young back in Boston.  We'd barely had enough extra money to get the duct tape we needed to put on our windows as per neighborhood watch request - plus extra ice for our battered cooler and a gallon of water each for the three of us.

We spoke of how many hundreds of millions of people are in that place now.  

************

As far as leading with a kitty pic on Caturday - Mama detests the survival assemblage making havoc of the usual mudroom arrangement and she also had a little hissy fit knocking things over upon discovering there was also a lot of other stuff scattered  throughout the kitchen and hallway floors.  Obviously most or all of these full throttle irregular activities are by default a feline ordeal.  While I was taking her picture above I told her the story of everything we'd gathered especially for her.   To me her expressive gaze says: I don't care why or how I just want it to stop.

Todaysfodderadds

After partially digesting this morning's news cycle I felt a renewed need to rip apart and consolidate a few more text blocks and part of an old calendar.   

Stashbaggie

Tomorrow I'll start a new daily collage week with a greatly amplified stash baggie.   It will be a great thing to have all ripe and ready to go because if life keeps throwing us enormous things to be processed ASAP we'll all need to maintain a super reliable brainwave fulcrum.  Stitching and gluing pieces of paper to each other - plus hopefully maintaining my morning reading routine and yoga practice - may have to suffice in scattered pieces throughout the day.  "morning" pages in my writing journal may need to take a less expansive form depending on what any given morning brings.  In earlier portions of my life that were largely structured around the overlapping structures of my husband and son I embraced evening pages.  In the most maxed-out stretched thin portions of the past I've kept lists of Five Beautiful Things at the end of every week.   This eventually funneled into keeping an ongoing gratitude journal with morning and evening entries in the brief but hugely rewarding and clarifying method described by Angeles Arrien - more than likely within her book Living in Gratitude.

Woolnfelt

Also accomplished this morning:  folding up my strewn wool and wool felt collection and putting it away.  Before we got our catastrophe game plan mapped out and task lists divvied-up I was cleaning out a cloth-based storage drawer.  Whittling down and streamlining.  As I was examining the wool I understood I should make sure to savor the afternoon's slow and unpressurized pace.  Knew once J. got home from work our regularly scheduled Friday evening programming would be overwritten.  All the energy we didn't need to expend since we haven't been dealing with extreme winter weather or its aftermath (or J.'s mother having an anticipated but so far not-yet health crisis) kind of exploded out of both of us all at once just as I thought it would.  Have consciously chosen to live with the strewn pile as a sanity beacon/nurturing promise to myself: when everything has been as solidified as it can get for now I'll come back to this and relish the experience of colors and texture

which I did.

Flamingheart

Within my storage drawer excavation I came across a stack of WISPs I'd thought were in a completely different place.  Am now hoping my indigo stash I was sure was in the drawer is actually located where I thought I'd stored the WISP's.  Remembered the above without recalling I'd layered raw-appliqued scraps of silk velvet to the base heart in order to give it some depth and texture.  Oftentimes when I re-connect with something still undone that I haven't seen in awhile I'm pleasantly surprised at how much farther along I am than I'd estimated from memory.  In this case I was shocked at how little I'd accomplished.  I thought this was ready to bind but it's nowhere close. 

Flamingheartexpanded

Practically a blank slate.  Due to the frail antique kimono scrap and the looser weave of the silk taffeta behind the heart I elected not to baste or pin into shape.  Consequently I will need to quasi-block the piece as you would a sweater only I'll use in the ditch quilting to ease the piece back into shape.  Have done this many many times and am confident of pulling it off  but it requires mindfulness and care, same as blocking a sweater.  This project will be a good foil for whatever the next week (or hour) will reveal in terms of both world wide crisis and one of the species' biggest ignorant mendacious assholes ever born being 'in charge' of this particular country and the condition/scope of it readiness/response. 

Right now the big quilt feels too overwhelming as a stitching process.  Am quite near the end so it's not that.  It's a physical sense of being boxed-in right on the edge of claustrophobia by the size and physical weight of the quilt.  But it's comforting to have it one hand so for now I've spread it out on the couch for the classic hippie slipcover effect.  Only I did it specifically for the cat. The quilt is her comfort object and she is mine.   Just watching her blissful sleep posture warms my heart and evokes tenderness.

Botswanaagate

When not inventorying non-perishables, towels, sheets and first aid supplies - I've been inventorying my tarot card collection.  This process has led me to realize that I don't have many tarot decks (3) at all.  But I do have a number (11) of oracle decks.  Oracles of all kinds fascinate me.   While inventorying and whittling I found the above loitering with clear intent to be found just then. I love that the white "moon" has a slightly more opaque waxing crescent shape within the circle.

Firstbud

The first narcissus bud is fully emerged from the group's protective sheath.  So far there are ten emergent flower stalks.


Day 30 - results

Trustyourself

(because that's where and why and how all the creative magic happens)

I'm really glad we all did this together.  I hope you are too.

  EVERYBODY did outstanding work - not just in the scope of their collage creations but also in terms of quickly establishing a challenge-based working style and dedication to their personal process development.  Despite the initial uncertainty any challenge brings it was truly remarkable to see how quickly everyone adapted to their freshly personalized relationship to this expressive medium.  By reviewing each other's efforts the way we'd all look at something together if our virtual situation was happening in the walking-around world - we each insured that every single one of us "got" something about collage that we hadn't quite put together before this time of sharing.

  Everyone - including me -  willingly trusted I'd guide them to a stationary end-point while also digging deeper into their private stashes of emotion and life experience as well as their paper collections.  Now - going forward - there's only one barometer/compass rose to be followed:

trust yourself

keep speaking truth to and FOR power

from the center of your creative soul

and every corner and crevice you discover

where true power resides

*~*~*~*~*

My faves from these days:

Dee

grace

Joanne

Liz

Marti - curendera (make sure to scroll down or click for her response to our final prompt)

Nancy

[For those who like statistics - this blog has averaged 82 unique visitors a day for the challenge time-frame.  Including myself and everyone actively involved - 35 people have let me know they're participating/following along as a somewhat regular part of their creative experience. 

The most unique visits to a single post (328) happened here. oof.  Typepad is going rogue on me right here at the end!

For reasons unknown all the [listed as published] posts aren't appearing on the blog right now.  At least not in what I can see of it here on my laptop or phone.  The post with the most unique visitors was the Day 16 results page for the garden Crone totem.  Quite a skyrocket!  Somebody somewhere linked, obviously, to significant effect.  Perhaps it's fitting that my first studio-based intention once I've scheduled this post is to paint that totem's background layer.  Last things first, as I like to say!

Not at all by design but I'm very grateful it's working out this way - I don't have to be/go anywhere that requires me to be all the way ON until Thursday morning.  Between now and then I'm planning to stay paint smudged and considerably more powered-down than I've been since ... before Thanksgiving, actually.  Yikes.  No wonder I feel so ready to shift from extro to intro mode energetically.

and I still don't have a clue what I might post on this blog going forward.  or why ...]


Day 30 morning post

Prompt #30:

Imagine our shared challenge experience has been a literal path marked with stepping stones - one for each person who participated in whatever fashion.

What does your stepping stone look like?

(hint:  what would you wish us to receive as a gift related to what you most enjoyed about collage?)


day 28 - results

 

Seeddream

My response for today's prompt references a truly gorgeous never-forgotten dream I had when I was 14 or 15.  Hadn't thought of it until I was focused on working with a very different seed representation/color palette.  While looking for something else I found some of my very first deli paper prints.  Both examples in the above's background layer reference one of the dream's key visual elements.  So does the lovely white marble sculpture, the shape and scale of the seed, and the Florentine mirror.

For the moment this collage is serving as an art journal place-marker.   Have three or four different ideas of what to superimpose on the mirror.  at this point I believe any additional layers - beyond that mirror - will be made with ink and ink-on-ink  OR ink and designer's gouache.  

As the challenge winds down I've begun wondering what I'll choose to share here on this blog once I re-calibrate on the other side of this thing I apparently did during the month of January.  I have a lot of options, really...