imaginary animals

Some of the characters I collected in my camera at the V&A last week, having filtered through my imagination, turned up in my art journal.

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As they evolved along the way,

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some got a little lost under the layers.

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faces merge animals and human,

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some characters from other projects join them.

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As the weekend wore on,

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the colours developed

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The doodles built up

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The tribe became established on the page

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I can’t think of any meditation I enjoy more than getting lost in patterns and colours.

 

 

the ‘because’ of art journaling

 

I’ve got old journals – the ‘dear diary’ variety – dating back over decades. Of no interest to anyone but occasionally me, I see what me-in-the-past was up to on this day however-many years ago.

At art school I began to keep sketchbooks, filled it with thoughts and plans, doodles and scraps. Mainly visual references and test grounds for techniques and materials. And they’re as rich in memories to me as the purely wordy versions that preceded them.

Last year I experimented with Julia Cameron’s morning pages in an on-again/off-again fashion. Not every morning has the space to accommodate all those words, but a bigger block is that part of me resented the paper it required for long, one-way streams of consciousness that I shouldn’t want to revisit. And the thought of scrawling longhand every last niggle and fuss didn’t sit comfortably either. I get the ‘better out than in’ motive. But I didn’t want to hold volumes of this in my life thought; that seemed to be merely displacing it from my head to another place of permanence.

 

Three things about things I do in books.
Without much connection beyond my voracious consumption of stationery.

Until I read this blog post by Deanna Jinjoe where she speaks of the power of transformation in burying words, thoughts, sentiments into the soul of our art we can transform them into a new beauty.

So the art journal I’m working through now is starting to embody this essence. With traces of the therapeutic brain dumps that keep my mind clear, intertwined with the doodles and splatterings of colour that keep my spirit buoyant.

on a quiet day

Just a couple of weeks ago I found myself cutting out shapes from magazine pages and scrap paper.

Nothing particular in mind, just another odd compulsion. But I’ve been me all these years now, I’m used to this, I don’t give it another thought.

Some good will come of it. Meanwhile, I’ve got a heap of hands and fish and butterflies and cats and things. As you do.

Then this began to evolve.

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Now I’m as curious as the next person: What does this mean?

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Last year I was doing this (again, no idea why). 

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So I carry on, still not knowing, but enjoying the bejeepers out of the process.

Perhaps that’s reason enough, right?

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The words that I remember as I play join the page, they get buried in the mix.

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Somewhere under and amongst these layers sit the words:

“Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it.

To deprive it of oxygen.

To shame it. To mock it.

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With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories.

Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe

….

 

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The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling – their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.

Remember this:

We be many and they be few.

They need us more than we need them.

 

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Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

 

– from Arundhati Roy, War Talk

Two Views (21/52)

Art journalers who embrace the unplanned,

who find their mojo in the serendipitous,

whose ideas bloom out of happenstance:

these folks will know this old trick: Squash that inky stencil between future pages of the book in which you’re playing and get the two-folded benefits of not wasting a drop of delicious colour and planting the seed for a creation yet to be born. That’s where this page began:

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And another familar trick: glue in a load of the offcuts of paper that are littering the work table. Much of this was soon to be lost under layers of heavy paint. But that’s the nature of the ephemeral.

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Last week’s pages were dominated by these faces. And where there are cut outs, there are the spaces from which they are cut. Add them to the gluings:

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So I felt called towards bigger colors. More defining. Louder.

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It came out as something a bit Easter Islandish, I like the way they are looking out:
One into the past, one into the future.

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