Wow, who knew THIS would be the answer to my quest for the right journal? This post has NO cussing, by the way. I know, weird. But it’s kinda all about the love for me now.
Last night, I finished gluing the pages together in my altered vintage book, which I believe will keep the original title of “Better Than Gold.” This gives me 40 pages to work on in the end, or 20 spreads. (A page is one side of a sheet of paper, a spread is the two pages you can see when a book is open flat.)
If you’re curious, I used a jumbo Uhu glue stick and burnished with a ruler. The best tutorial on altering a book that I’ve found is probably Suzette Morrow’s, so if you’re new to that and curious, check it out. Then you’ll see how I basically ignored most of her great advice. Anyway…
Then I was seeking my next step, not sure how to proceed, so I went where I always do. Youtube. Nothing inspires me more than watching other people create. So I was watching some youtube videos of some new artists (new to me, anyway) and ended up joining a new art community, Community Thrive. I was hanging out there and reading how Mystele, the founding artist there, sometimes uses gesso to adhere her collage images to her surface. That felt like a great idea for the new book, even though I’d never done it before. I thought it would help me to not get too attached to the girls’ images when doing my pages. I tend not to work over images because I get attached to them, then the page can’t evolve into what it wants to be. This way, the gesso obscures the pictures a bit, making them more of a background, so that I can feel free to work over them completely, allowing all those girls to end up as guiding angels in the atmosphere of the finished page, even if you can’t see them anymore. I felt I was guided to this next step.
So, today I sat down with all the images I cut out yesterday and I gesso-collaged girls onto every page of the book.
For my process, I used a palette knife to spread a thin layer of gesso, laid the picture down, then scraped over the top, smoothing out air bubbles and spreading gesso around thinly and somewhat evenly.
Then I took an antibacterial hand wipe and wiped a bit of the gesso off the faces of the girls to bring them back out just a bit before the gesso dried. And no, the process wasn’t messy at all. Why do you ask? I just had to wipe gesso off my computer touchpad…twice…before it was totally ruined…that’s all…
And I’m really happy with the results. They’re just what I was going for in my first layer.
At first I wasn’t sure about this project. In paging through and gluing, I was angered again by the misogyny in the book, and I didn’t know if it was worth it to feel that. But the support I’ve received from others over this project made me push through that. It lifted me up through the anger and empowered me to keep working and see where I would end up. I’m so very grateful for that support and so glad I pushed through, because today it has made me so happy to see all these beautiful, real, shining girls’ faces added back into the stories in this book. All the time I was working, I found myself smiling back into their joyfully smiling faces.
I am now feeling a love for this book, and it makes me realize that this is how this book and its original darkness will be transmuted. Through love. My love for all the girls and all of us women, and my love for art, as well as the love I’ve felt from the people supporting me in this project.
And I feel I’m also being led to the way to do that best. I’ve been exploring and discovering there is a whole movement into intuitive art, art made without thinking, art that is brought out from within, art that just ‘happens’ itself into being, art that begins nowhere and meanders its way to pure magic. In my personal experiments in Juliana Coles’ Book of the Night workshop, I’ve found that is the art that ends up speaking the loudest. That is the art that ends up being divinely guided and going places I could never have imagined it could go. That is the kind of work I want to do in this journal. This is how I tend to work anyway, but I’ve never really submitted to it except in my abstract paintings. I’ve never honored it as the true path to my authentic artistic voice in my journals. That is what I intend to do now.
As I’ve mentioned before, I also intend to buy a tablet and start a video channel, and I’m excited to maybe do some of these pages on camera so we can experience the process together, and so that I can watch it all again and again! This way of doing art is about so very much more than just the finished piece, and without letting you look over my shoulder, I don’t really know how to share all the magic that happens. And if you haven’t worked this way or watched someone work this way, you can’t imagine what kind of magic DOES happen. I mean, seriously. It blows my mind.
Hopefully I won’t just totally choke on camera, and it will be fun to do and fun to watch. I’d love to have my tablet figured out and my first video up around the beginning of February. I’ll keep you posted! To subscribe to my channel in advance, you can find me as The Artful Journey on youtube. I’m building some fantastic playlists there, full of my favorite art and art journaling videos, so be sure to check those out while you’re waiting on that first video. And nag me if you think it’s taking too long. That totally works on me. It’s hard to create in a vacuum, (and I fight severe depression all the time) but with the added energy of just a few interested viewers lifting me up, miracles can happen.
I would love to hear any recommendations of artists you feel use a very intuitive, no-thinking approach to channeling their art onto the page or canvas (or whatever), so please share your favorites! I will be putting together a running list of my own and would love to check out some new ones to include! If you work this way and have done a video or blog post about it, please include the link in your comment so we can all check it out.
Thanks for joining me on the journey…bye for now!