Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Blue Days & Conquering Posies

Journal entries: Feb 24 & 26, 2008

My artistic energies as of late have been solely devoted to working in my current art journal, a repurposed tome of illustrated children's poems. I prep my journals entirely in advance before I commence working on them: removing extra pages so the journal isn't too unwieldly once finished, gluing pages together to make a sturdy work surface, and gessoing all the pages to create a nice blank canvas. Sometimes, I preserve text or images from the original book and I use those as prompts for entries when I arrive at those particular pages. In this journal, I painted a bunch of pages in advance of my surgery so I could skip that step while casted. The surgeon would probably frown upon a paint-encrusted cast...although that would be cool! Since the surgery, this journal has served as a vital place for me to express all my inner turmoil and trepidations but I have also been using the journal as a forum for lifting my own spirits and as a very fun form of physical therapy. It is fantastic exercise to hold brushes and pencils & to try creating from the elbow and shoulder as opposed to the wrist. As a result, I am discovering that my style is evolving. I am forced to be imprecise and my lack of fine motor control gives the entries a sort of wiggly, energetic look. The entries above were definitely somber in tone so on the next spread, I deliberately set out to brighten my mood. Inspiration came serendipitously one day after I bought some lovely flowers at my local market.

Now I am not known for my green thumb; in fact, based on my past "gardening" history, you might think I was cursed. But I still can't resist getting my fingers in dirt once in a while and these "Ranuncula" won over my better judgment. They have wildly-layered petals in these incredibly saturated colors. That evening, I unconsciously began working on a journal spread that mirrored the flowers I had welcomed home to my front door. I really didn't realize the flowers' influence until I was finished and I recognized a similarity between my purchase and my art.

Journal Entry: March 6, 2008:

This project took a few days but aside from the sticker letter title and a couple of rub-ons (I am all about the rub-ons!!,) the painting and doodling is all me. I used acrylics, while gel pen, Sharpies, Staz-On, colored pencils for dark surfaces...a little bit of everything. In retrospect, I think it isn't too shabby given my current level of ability. The journaling is still a bit morose (I'm glad scans and photos blur out my writing) but in the end, these pages did indeed fill me with joy. I am a huge fan of fuschia-pink, sunlight-yellow, and pumpkin-orange so the pages turned out rather soaked in color. As a final touch, I added a couple busy little bumbles buzzing across the pages. It felt good to just play and allow myself to enjoy the process without concern for what artistic skills might now be compromised or lost completely. Actually, I found this piece very revealing: despite all my reservations, deep-down, I think I believe now that all will be okay in the end.


Mija said...

Way to lift your spirits Michelle! both of these spreads are beautious but the ranunculus are quite happy indeed! one of my fave flowers as well. i've been sick for weeks and so have not checked in on your blog lately. so good to see you're avidly creating, yay! blessings to you dear one.

with smiles,

The Backporch Artessa said...

Michelle- I am so thrilled to have found your blog! It's wonderful, and your art is fabulous! Way to go on the cast! (I've been tempted to art up my bandages for my burn as of late, but it still hurts to touch- but boy do I have inspiration for when I CAN stand to touch it! Thanks for the inspiration! (I was just thinking- hmm, there is always gesso if you feel the need to change colors to go with your evening ensembles!-LOL!)

jackie said...

Michelle, I think of you often and continue to send healing thoughts your way!
I LOVE your journal work - how strong and determined you are to be able to accomplish this!
All of your art is stunning and continues to inspire me!

Karen Campbell said...

These are great pages, Michelle ... and so exciting to see a new style emerge from your therapy and surgery :)

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