So as I said in my last post, I recently started a new journal initially inspired by Pam Garrison's journaling class over at Creativebug. This brand new project is called "Exultation" but it took a few pages to discover my own spin on the class lessons. What follows is the evolution of that style in pictures and a few words.
I began at the beginning, following Pam's first lesson to the letter. Scribble then paint. Blind right-handed scribbles and then left-handed scribbles while looking. OK...I confess...I looked a little bit while using my right hand too. Once I started painting, I was conflicted. I hated the process of painting all those little spaces! It was quite difficult to manage all the details with my PD tremor getting in the way. I almost quit.
However, once I finished the first page (right-handed scribbles) with my own spin on filling in the spaces, I felt a wee bit better.
When I finished the second page (left-handed drawing,) I knew a seed of inspiration had been planted but that I had to find my own way of doing things. Some of those changes: watercoloring around the painted portions, layering painted marks over solid areas, shading with paint markers, a little bit of collage/washi tape, light background stamping.
Right away, I realized that I really liked having an actual image to paint, not just random scribbles. So I thought...hmmm...maybe if I hold my pen very loosely with my right hand, I could create some scribbly "coloring book" pages to work on...so I scribbled away as casually as I could.
I painted the first page and thought "Yeah...this is pretty cool but it's a little stiff...I'd lost the playfulness by allowing my dominant hand (and my inner control freak) to guide the work.
I scribbled a second page to experiment on...I thought...this is going well.
I was wrong. Work on the second page slid out of control fast as I tried to fix problem after problem. The face turned out so bad, I had to collage something on top to save the page (which I was NOT going to tear out as I am working in a rather expensive Stillman & Birn Zeta Hardbound sketchbook.) When I finished, I hated this page passionately. I knew now what I DIDN'T want to do: right-handed drawings, collage as a main focus, images of people. Fortunately, I was also able to pinpoint what I did like: a narrow color profile, washi tape, a specific, scribbly image, dip pen lettering, animals/birds/flora, all my previous additions to the process. This page became incredibly instructive so for that, I forgive it.
I proceeded to fill many pages with left-handed scribble drawings. (I don't have "before" pictures for the beginning few; I was too excited to wait to paint.) Full confession: I've had a lot of practice using my left hand in the last 25 years due to extensive hand problems/multiple surgeries. The drawings are wobbly but very recognizable. Even using my left hand, I have to focus on staying loose. These pages though have that playful, wild quality I love. However, they're not so random as Pam's pages. Finally, they look like me.
It takes me days to finish one page as I only have short blocks of time in the studio. I tend to work a couple of colors at a time, filling in all the spots I think need those colors. Next painting session, I work all over the page in a couple more colors. Eventually, I layer in painted and drawn marks, tape, stamping, watercoloring, lettering.
As I post more pages from this journal in future blog entries, I think you'll see my style evolve even further. It gets a bit more refined but also a bit more abstract. I settle into a rhythm with a particular image and my color palette gets more sophisticated and thoughtful. All in all, this journal is a place to simply play when I'm tired after work but still longing for some art time.
I heartily encourage you to take art class lessons and push the information until you find something that is unique and not just a mirror of the instructor's portfolio. It can take a bit of experimentation and a few flops but it is worth it.