Recently I've started to notice something about my art journal. The sticky notes that put in to mark pages in progress have been growing almost exponentially - but I haven't finished One. Single. Page. since last December. I keep starting new pages, but I never seem to finish them! For a while I was fine with this, but now it's starting to bother me. I've realised there's a blockage. I love, love, love to lay down the paint and smoosh it around and create huge swathes of bright colours. And I really enjoy choosing out scraps of patterned paper and bits of foil to stick down all around the edge to create a border. I seem to have gotten over my composition hump without even noticing it. (yay!) These are some of my favourite pages. They're the ones that seem most 'me':
My first page using the collage around the edge composition-thingy. I also used some deco tape and some paper that I decorated myself. I was a little bit brave here and used a rub-on in the centre that I bought in a lucky dip pack from Ebay.
This page started off with just the large blue paper on the left side that I was planning to write a quote on. Then one night all the collage magically appeared! Then I tried to grunge it up a bit by sponging on the khaki green and using cut-out masking tape as a mask for the text. The technique is from The Complete Guide to Altered Imagery.
I stuck in the fashion magazine image ages ago just because I liked it. Some of the scraps I've used here are from Easter time chocolate wrappers. I cut them into circles with a craft knife and even stuck in the leftover bit. This is also my first time using tissue paper and I LOVE its transparent quality. The stencil in the middle turned out a little sloppy - I need to use my stipple brush every time! I like to go around them with a nice, thick gel pen. And yes, there's a big hole in the middle!
Recently I've noticed that I'm scared to do any more to these pages. There's definitely a process that seems right for each page: paint background, add collage, then add fine details (drawing, figurative painting, text, etc). Step One and now Step Two are working for me.
Step One: I've tried to get into the concept of layers, but it's just not 'me'. I hate covering up the work I've done before! When I see videos on YouTube like this one, (don't get me wrong, I do admire their work) I think ack! How can you cover up all the beautiful colours you just used! It's just not for me. So I've just been sticking to one layer of paint lately, and I feel much happier.
Step Two: I love, love, love collage! As you can see from my favourite pages above, I've really come to terms with it. A few weeks ago I went through all my papers and collected them together in one place. I also bought some folders to store and display them in. Just looking at them makes me excited.
As for Step 3: whenever it's time for the fine details, I baulk. I suppose I could declare them 'finished' at this point, but they don't feel finished to me. I feel I should add more to them, but I don't want to cover up the amazing paint colours that I've already laid down. I'm conflicted.
What can I do? I could do an ink drawing so that the colours still show through, but what of? And am I good enough at drawing yet? I could do a gel transfer of a black/transparent image, but what if I stuff it up? I could write out some text, but what should it be and will my handwriting be good enough?
Stupid Negative Nancy has come to visit again and she won't go home! Just when I was starting to get into a rhythm and enjoy the work I'm creating!
A word of warning - I'm not very good at finishing blog posts, either.