Friday, February 08, 2008

the sound of paper

The best thing so far about Thing-a-day is that it has prompted me to revisit my main pre-knitting love, my art journals. I've only been knitting for three years, but I've been keeping journals for more than twenty. Sometime about five or six years ago, I started branching out from my purely written journals to include experiments with paint, pastels, papers, stamps, colored pencils, and ink. I used to spend several hours at a time playing in this way, learning how to use the different materials and figuring out what I liked and what I didn't. My art journals have always been primarily about creating backgrounds and surfaces for writing as a way to enhance the mood or further convey my meaning. Sometimes the colors and images will spark an idea to write about. Sometimes I go to the page knowing what I want to say and choose my visual elements accordingly. Sometimes I just like to play, and I make backgrounds that never get used for anything else. That's fine with me.

When I found out I was pregnant in February 2005, there were several other difficult, personal things going on in my life at the same time. It was a very rough period, and instead of turning to my journals the way I always had, the words and the images all dried up. I didn't keep a pregnancy journal the way I thought I should. I didn't write much after Mina was born either, and she doesn't even have a baby book. What I did instead was knit. A lot. I had learned to knit about a month before I found out I was pregnant, and so that's what I did my entire pregnancy. That's what I did in labor. That's what I did after she was born, and that's what I still do a whole lot of the time. Over the last three years, I've painted a page here and there. I've written a page here and there. But the constant outpouring of words that has been my outlet, my solace, my way of thinking since I was 12 years old is still missing.

Since knitting takes time, and since Thing-a-day is about making a Thing each and every day, knitting isn't a very good fit for this project. Not my style of knitting, anyway. The projects that interest me can't be completed in a day for the most part. So, I turned back to the other thing I know and love to do. The journal.

I've already shared my Day 1 page with you. Here are a few more pages and some words about how I did them.

This background is from Day 3, the same day I made soup (in yesterday's post). I'm not sure which I am calling my official Thing for that day, so you get to hear about both of them. Flipping through the journal, I found a page that had a soft green watercolor wash and nothing else. I think I did the watercolor in November 2006. More than a year ago. One of my favorite completed backgrounds in this book had torn and crumpled tissue paper on it, so I decided to use that idea again. I tore up some white tissue paper and stuck it down with fluid gel medium applied with a stiff-bristled brush. I made sure each piece was firmly attached but not fully saturated with the gel medium. After that was dry, I went over it with a wash of silver metallic watercolor. I have a set of Prang metallic watercolors that are one of my favorite supplies to use and only cost $2.50. Mina loves them too:

She wants to paint every day now, it's so cute. She also has a little sketch book that she asks us to draw in for her. We draw penguins and she colors in their tummies. But after seeing me painting and writing in my book, she's finally showing more interest in coloring by herself in hers. While I wrote the page below, she asked for a pen and her book, and covered a page with silver scribbles, looking up at me every now and then to see if I was still writing.

I had painted this page and stamped the numbers in November 2006 or maybe January 2007, with a specific purpose. I just never got around to finishing the idea. For my Day 5 thing, I added a little to it and wrote about what the original purpose was, why it didn't get finished, and what I thought about that. I've blurred it here to make it less legible, though you can probably figure it out if you are determined to do so. That's ok. It just feels strange to me to put actual journal stuff out there, clearly visible. So I blur it to hide myself a little bit. Anyway, The background of this was black watercolor crayon and violet tube watercolor. There is something goldish and iridescent on the right hand page that has rubbed off a bit onto the left. I think it is probably Twinkling H20 (my aunt gifted me a set of 12 pinkish earth tones last fall) though I'm not sure which color. The numbers are stamped with black pigment ink. The stamps come from Ma Vinci's Reliquary. I have quite a few of her alphabet sets - they're the best, and her service is great. I think the 30 is the small Ancient Mariner set and the 13 is the medium Love Letter set. So that's where I left the page whenever it was I started it. On Tuesday, I used a graphite pencil and scrawled some words on the background (the names of the tarot Major Arcana up through card #13, if you want to know), and then used a silver Gelly Roll and a black Pilot Precise V5 (my favorite writing pen for many years now) for the main writing.

After I finished this page, I realized the rest of the book would get filled up this way, all out of order. This page is something like 15 pages behind the one I did on Friday. That is not my usual style at all. At. All. I like to read my journals from time to time, and I like them in order. So I felt like the first page of the book needed a warning:

Alright, one more and I'll be caught up, ok? This little doodle shows the other style I like to play with. Not layery, not saturated. Simple, with a lot of white space. I can never choose which of the two to call "my style", so I just use whichever feels right at the time. Last night was definitely a simple kind of night. I was tired and didn't feel like doing anything at all.

Just watercolor pan and watercolor pencil. A sort of doodle to show how I was feeling. That's my Thing for Day 7.

No, I didn't forget Day 6. On Wednesday I did something completely different from anything I've shared so far, but it's part of a gift for someone who might be reading. I can't post it now, because even if I didn't say who it was for, she'd figure it out. Hopefully I'll do the second part as another Thing for the day this weekend. I'll try to get some knitting photos this weekend as well, and hopefully finish my Duchess Raglan to show you next time. Have a creative weekend!

1 comment:

Knitting Bandit said...

The pages are beautiful.