As I related in the first part of this post series, I discovered many clues to this journey in past blog entries. I also found a wealth of inspiration in my past work and in the work of artists that I admire, old friends and new acquaintances. I am forging ahead on ground that feels both familiar and foreign; my work and the work of others create a little travel guide to accompany me as I move forward.
As for present day artists, there are many that inform my own work. Teesha Moore and Tim Burton have been particularly influential. However, in early December, I discovered a new-to-me artist through Seth Apter's long-running blog series "The Week Links" and this artist's work shook my very foundations. Roxanne Coble (aka bybun) is absolutely fabulous and it was stumbling upon her expressive, haunting journals that caused the shift in perception I needed to see the path I had been destined for all along. I'm not entirely sure why Coble's work was the kick I needed but what particularly caught my eye was the way she blends messy backgrounds with finely-rendered figures. I also love all the wild but thoughtful mark-making. To me, the pages reveal fragments of narrative that are tantalizing and mysterious.
With all this inspiration in mind, I sat down to play with my current interests and style, pushing out into new territory while holding on to techniques and topics I really love. This resulted in a singularly breathtaking journaling session on November 28. I followed up that initial exploration with three more pages spaced out over a week's time and presto! My direction for 2016 became clear. Frankly, the light of realization has been a bit scary in its clarity and intensity but I continue inching my way forward, day by day.
While external inspiration is good, it is even better to be your own best guide. I also have to acknowledge that I've been leading myself along little by little over the years. My journal entitled "My World Within" is probably the earliest series of breadcrumbs. In 2013, I attempted to create 365 characters in the course of a year. I didn't hit that goal within that year itself but I kept on creating characters since that initial goal and now have created so many, I can't even manage an actual count. In addition, there are many, many journal pages that left visual messages from my subconscious, urging me to see where I needed to go. That "Striving for a New Perspective" page is from November 11 of this year. Once I started digging, I found dozens of pages like this one, dating back several years, all exhorting me to "follow the path" or to "look for something new." I can only say that it is an excellent idea to periodically review one's own work to see if you can spy consistent themes and/or repetitive "notes to self." Oh, and if you find them...listen to them!
Next Installment: Giving the Journey a Name