I gave myself the creative constraint of circles when I started this project, you see them everywhere, in nature, in man made structures, circles are the base of almost everything so I figured this would be the easiest prompt ever… nope… being down one constraint was harder. I had this amazing idea of painting (yeah, me and paint are not friends) an aborigional style dot painting with the back of a pencil and the back of a paintbrush. It was all in my head and looked kinda neat. I had envisioned sharing (with the mostly not aussie group online) and recording the dreamtime story of the Glasshouse Mountains, (an old but striking volcanic range near my home on the sunshine coast in Queensland, Australia) in my own journal before we headed back west using the inspiration from local walking trails and the topographic maps of the area (enter circles). My first attempt at putting paint to paper looked kinda like umm… a bumpy bit of mud… would have made great camo paper.
Having my own art not look like how it looks in my head is a new concept to me… I’m not a fan. It kinda put me in a bad mood. I fixed said bad mood by ripping out that page, throwing it across the room, dumping my journal in my craft box and madly crocheting till my hands got a cramp a whole skein of yarn later… I’m a sore loser.
Second attempt was only slightly less infuriating. I dumped the style I was going for and tried to focus on the content without all the detailed me + paint thing. Discovered pens actually run out if you use them for a whole background of tiny water-like circles, who knew? Managed to find something similar to finish it with only to have the same problem happen on the other half of the page. I was kinda going for the juxtaposed ideas of dreamtime story vs the touristy, classy thing going on with the places that have views of this mountain range but even with all that very meta kinda fancyness to my idea. It just didn’t make sense. Here is my half finished second attempt.
So here I was at attempt three four days later and quite frustrated with the whole thing. Not something that normally happens. However, I’m stubborn and I like art journaling so gotta try again. This time I ditched my expectations of super complicatedness and just hung out with my middle kiddo and her art stash for the morning. She always makes art look so free, just playing and having fun with colours on the page. She likes the end pictures but it is so much about the process for her, eight year olds are very clever like that. 🙂
Just after Christmas with a new art journal and some brand new watercolour pencils in front of her, she plays at the kitchen table with art, humming or whistling random movie tunes and parading around in dress ups, I’m watching with my own journal in front of me open to a blank page. Wee miss K is darting around in dress-ups also chatting to herself and randomly combining toys like mathomats and peg boards. It’s very girly here, daddy is only occasionally in the room and the lad is away on a sleepover. Just me and my girls. I had another circle thought whilst chatting earlier in the morning to daddy, it was dancers from the top or a ferris wheel with the idea being more about the circular motion than actual circles but I wasn’t sure how to create it, the picture in my head was hazy at best. Then the universe punched me in the face. Middle miss started humming that excessively repeated song in our house…. I’ll let you guess which one it was…
She was right you know, kids are way smarter than grown ups. So I just stared sketching, had no bloody idea what it would look like at the end which is super scary as I basically copy whatever image pops into my head normally but without that mind pic what was I even doing. As I watched middle miss create with this new medium it was clear she was still learning how to manipulate it. We’ve never had watercolour pencils before. She’s not brilliant at it yet but you can see she’s trying to figure it out and that it totally didn’t matter how things looked along the way. She was experimenting, exploring and playing on the page. I wanna be able to do that!
Morning went on and wee miss K wanted to play with my hair putting in tiny pony tails as I worked on this unknown page. I let her do her thing when normally that would bother me (I generally journal while she’s already asleep or is engrossed in something else).
Middle miss went on to other things and eventually I came up with this
It’s the closest you will get me to painting. It’s not perfect, it’s not some preconceived vision, it’s just playing on a page. I think adults learn a lot from playing too so that’s going to be my inspiration for journal 52 2015.
I hope you all had a safe and happy Christmas and a happy new year, thanks for reading