As is the case with all my art journals, I started this spread with nary a plan. Using my distress crayons and Stabilo woody pencils, I just scribbled some colors to create an under-layer. I then grabbed some stencils and color shift acrylics. Usually I write some words in my art journal as my colors and patterns start coming together but for some reason, none came to mind.
There’s a lot of chaos around me right now with our impending move, school closing down for the holidays and us not having a “normal” Christmas. We are under orders to stay at home, the ever-growing numbers of deaths and shortage of hospital beds is alarming, and the stress of having a house remodeled under these circumstances has been getting to me. And what do I reach for when I am feeling like everything is falling apart? My art journal.
My art journal is much like a visit to the therapist. There’s a lot of inner conflict, drama, dialogue and angst that comes out initially — you will see the stress I’m feeling in the busy-ness of the spread — but there’s also always some amount of closure and definitely a whole lot of joy at the end of it. It’s a process. And it’s a journey one has to allow oneself to embark on.
When I started sketching out my signature tribe of women and blocking out the space around them, I felt a sense of calm descend over me. It started feeling almost soothing. And that is when the vision appeared and I changed course. I hadn’t considered anything but a white background until this point. You’ll even see me trying to emulate white on white snowflakes for a washed out winter scene (subconsciously prompted by the recent storms on the East Coast, I think). I knew I still wanted snow, but I also wanted these ladies to be the only focal point radiating light.
As this page started coming together with the background, I could focus on giving each of them a distinct personality with my knife. I love scraping the top layers to reveal the colors and patterns under. There is something so therapeutic about the act. Also, it makes them so “real” — like us, with many complex layers of experience thrown together to make us who we are today.
My creative philosophy
You all know that I say “create with your heart first and your hands will follow.” It couldn’t be more true on this page. When I reached for the color-shift paints to work with my stencils, little did I realize that it would end up signifying perspective in the final spread. Tilting the journal in light, you can see the color-shift paint change the look of the entire image. It can be purple with a shiny yellow and black-gold (in your face) look or it can be a beautifully vibrant, yet deep and dark, confident aura.
We always see things through our own lens, colored by our own experience, peppered by our own opinion. But sometimes, if we allow for some space, we may be able to see things differently. Or, at the very least, acknowledge that there could be more than one way of thinking about something. Sometimes instead of disagreeing vocally, we can simply listen quietly.
So, what is this page ultimately about?
For me, it’s about shining our light amidst the chaos around us, staying calm and open to different perspectives, and knowing that we can be true to ourselves while still holding space for others. With Covid-19, things haven’t gone the way they “should” have. We have been out of our home for more than the six months we were supposed to be. We have a string “Christmas Tree” taped to our wall in lieu of the real one we have every year. But we also have so much to be grateful for. A perspective shift is so helpful in a year where everything feels wrong and I feel cheated. We still have a roof over our heads. I still have my art to find solace in. We are all healthy.
So, keep your light shining bright. It may be dark around you, but you can always lean in and dig deep for that ray of optimism and positivity. It’s there. I promise you.
But I’m curious: what does this page say to you? What do you see in the imagery and the colors? Let me know in the comments.
Curious about the products I use? I have listed them below.
(These are compensated affiliate links at no cost to you. Thank you for your support! Affiliate and product disclosure can be found here. As always, I was not paid to do this post and I only use products from companies I love.)