Thursday, August 06, 2015

Journalling: 1 step back - 2 giant steps forward ...

Bet you wondered what happened to that journal I was going on about. Yep, I'm still journalling, but haven't had time to post lately. And let's not talk about what's happening to my computer. It (apparently) is reaching the end of a long and creative life ... riddled with feebleness and memory loss and just straight out crankiness. Are computer years like dog years, I wonder? I simultaneously long for and dread the inevitable upgrade. So I'm limping along for now ... several times I started this post and lost it. Today I'm ready to try again and hoping the computer gods are with me.

Since my last posting, I hit a roadblock and rethought the whole structure of my journal. The coiled book seemed like *such* a good idea when I began. But of course within weeks it was too heavy to carry around, thus defeating the whole purpose. I decided to go back to my original idea of working in individual signatures which I would stitch together at year end into one "annual". So, I took apart my giant coiled journal and rebound it into 20-page signatures, attaching the pairs of hole-punched pages together with masking tape (on both sides of the page, for strength) and gave each signature a "temporary" cover using the ubiquitous press clean-up sheets I scavenge from work.

And then I decorated the covers. I still intended to stitch them all together at year end, but man - the pile is almost 2" thick and I'm only at August. By the end of the year it might be 4" thick, and the idea of re-reading my journals (which I actually DO) also might mean snapping my little hands off at the wrist. And I was exhausted at the prospect of carting the finished volume to a photocopier somewhere. So now I'm thinking maybe I'll just make a slipcase for them at year end. And, as a friend pointed out to me the other day, it's like my very own personal set of magazines, which is pretty darn cool.

Anyway ... thought I'd share the new covers with you. They began (as most of my artwork does) as Something Else. Whenever I go off to an art retreat, I give myself the first evening to "not be creative". I let go of any expectations and just spend some time with the materials, absorb the joy of being with my art friends again and let my creativity find its groove. At the last retreat I thought I'd take a crack at making Soul Collage cards. But (as usual) I almost immediately broke 2 of the rules: I went for 8x10 (which coincidentally is the page size of  my journals) and I included text (just a little, here and there). Anyway ... fell in love with the collages and came home with the plan to shrink them down to Soul Collage card size. Only the proportion wasn't right, but I LOVED them. So I took the photocopies and glued one to the front of each of my new journal covers and added some washi tape, and a number, et voila!
The new journal covers ... pretty spiffy, hm?

Someone asked me the other day where I got my images ~ for collages, my journals, these covers, and other things, and I have to admit these journal covers benefited very much from one of my art friends bringing a stack of Communication Arts magazines to the retreat, combined with my own little stack of National Geographics, but generally I just keep my eyes open for anything that looks interesting. Most of what I work with I pick up in the everyday ~ newspapers, flyers, junk mail, etc. You never know what's going to go with what. And I love it when things come together and tell their own new story.

The astronaut on Journal #1 came from an article in NG about a man obsessed with space travel. The lightbulb on Journal #2 was an article in CA about brainstorming as a group, and the bird was a matchbook cover. The elevator in the canyon on Journal #3 was a CA ad for something having nothing to do with either elevators or canyons, the feet underwater were from an ad about foot pain relief (!). Mr. Intuition on Journal #5 was an ad for a sales conference + I added the text and new eyes (the old ones looked too sneaky for me). The hands at the top of Journal #6 were from an ad for virtual team building over a phone network ("almost like being there"). So you really just don't know where fun stuff will come from.

As I remarked to a friend the other day, advertisers are pretty shameless about stealing powerful words and images to convince us we have a hole in the center of our being that can only be filled by their product. I feel no guilt whatsoever about stealing back those images and repurposing them to fill my own (alleged) inner void with creative expression - and it works pretty well.

FYI ~ Journals 1 through 5 are already full, and I've still only posted halfway through the first one here, so I guess I better post some more pages here shortly ... but I don't think want to push my luck with the computer gods today. I'll see how they feel tomorrow ...

In the meantime ... release your expectations, follow your intuition, and keep an eye out for cool images, whatever their source.

2 comments:

George Wright said...

This is a truly wonderful post, Penelope! Love the last words and esp. love the covers. the backgrounds and washi tape borders work very well. thanks for letting us enlarge the image too. well done. Rose in PR

Diane Moline said...

Penelope, I just returned from the Sketchbook Project Tour in Seattle and decided to look your name up on their page to see if you have a submission this year. You may remember me from my email last year after i was blown away with last year's. Imagine my delight to not only find a new sketchbook, but also your blog with pictures of your journal work. You are still one of my favorite artists! i love how you meld text and images together with so much eye candy. I will bookmark your site, add myself to your Google+ group, and invite you visit mine, too.

Diane, One Red Chair Studio, Bellevue, WA