Preparing a found book for art journalling

I like to use second hand books for journalling. There is a comic book range in Scotland called ‘the Broon’s’. They produce cook books and gardening books( Waverley Books) that look like old journals and are a nice weight of paper and size for art journalling.

The paper is a bit smooth so I like to prepare a few pages before I start journalling

Today I added gesso to a page with a credit card and then dabbed acrylic paint through a commercial stencil. By adding the paint first it means that you can rub the paint off the page with a baby wipe or damp cloth to get a more interesting result

I like commercially produced stencils but they can look a bit samey when lots of people use them.

So I use doilies that I find in second hand shops. Lace or crochet work well. If you do use them – make sure you dry them well in-between use or they rot and smell bad .

I covered the print below with a layer of watered down paint.

I always use acrylic for mixed media journalling because I make lots of layers that I don’t want to run into each other. I am dyslexic and have trouble with upside down and the wrong way round – I added the cover design on the back of the book so all the pages are upside down …….

I always try and make paint go as far as possible so I spread what was left of the blue onto some pages with a credit card and through another stencil.

The pages of the book are such fun I don’t often add a lot more before journalling.

The cover of the book is quite shiny so I scored it with a scalpel blade before I decoupaged it.

I used a selection of different papers – the back is upside down tooo. And then added details, texture and random text from magazines

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Reflecting on my Soul Restoration process

I have been working on the ‘SoulRestoration’ course by Melody Ross since the 12th of January. I am enjoying the process of art making regularly in my journal. The art seems to get looser and looser.

I have always been messy. It has been great using my stress protector mandalas as back grounds and finding a more natural ‘Tess’ process.

I am still drawn to blues and am working through the stack of gelatos that I acquired in Korea. I love them ,but won’t be replacing in-kind because of all the plastic.

Debbie Howard introduced me to them when I complained that I didn’t like working with oil pastels in my art journal. They are water soluble, highly pigmented and deliciously squidgy, the consistency’s almost like lipstick or face paint.

It’s been interesting progressing through the stages that Melody has designed . Debbie is a mentor and sounding board after training as a facilitator with The Brave Girl University last year. I think it is important to feel supported through this process. I feel held

There is a lot of industry – internal processing and sitting with how you feel. My stomach is tightening just at the thought of ‘it’.

I journal and write notes as I watch the videos, text Debbie and use Instagram and Face book to show and tell. I wanted to do this because of the regular journalling. There is less built in art journalling than I thought there would be. I need to process the ideas and feelings through art making.

My group of friends in Oxfordshire are meeting once a fortnight to do the course with Debbie whilst I am in Edinburgh.

There is an isolation from the group but I am enjoying the space to create my own ideas and images. I did go back to bed one day and hide because I didn’t want to work through some hard issues. I felt much better after I plucked up the courage to just get on with it

My pages over the last few weeks

I added a mandala sticker by Emily Lagore a long term friend on Instagram

Progress on my Osteopathy commission

I started working on my commission ideas this morning. I had a go at the origami shapes. I was a bit disappointed with the origami idea because the yellow pages is too fine to hold the shape and to get a section of backbone just looked odd

I also freaked out at using the originals. I seemed to have lost my confidence this week. I made a load of photocopies and went for it

I sliced up the photocopies and started playing with the text on a tea dipped and stencilled background

I photocopies one of the experiments and stencilled and doodled on top of that. I realised one of the reasons I was struggling a bit was because the colour scheme is not as bright as I usually play with. It needed more tonal contrast.

So I added more text and dancing ladies to different copies – the mojo returned

A few more layers

I added some more of the ‘yell colour printing check rainbows’ (they appear at the top of the proof page that they send you before you agree to publish your advert ) and gelato pastels because I remembered Glynis and I saying that we liked them in a meeting.

Introduction to Counselling course – listening fail

I needed to do a basic counselling training course to continue teaching my art journalling for self- care. So I signed up for a 12 week course at Edinburgh college. I am enjoying the course very much. We are learning some theory alongside listening skills.

Part of my dyslexia presents its self as an listening/ ear / brain processing problem. So I have been a little bit apprehensive to see if I can succeed in this area.

Last week we worked in triads – we had a speaker/ listener and an observer. You took it in turns to take a role. The listener had to be in charge of the clock. The speaker talked for 5 mind about a topic. The listener had to stop and give a summary half way through and then summarise at the end.

When it came to my turn as listener I found it very hard to keep an eye on the time and listen, I fact I went completely blank at the half time summary. Then at the end I found that even though I couldn’t repeat a word of what had just been said to me – I did have a general impression of what had been said, it was more like an over view.

Being uncomfortable with public speaking didn’t help either!! My stomach was not happy and twisted itself – I felt humiliated and a failure. Interesting when we returned to the group disscussionlots of other people had had simillar problems. Rationally I could see that this was something to be improved upon. I struggled with my physical reaction and how much I was unable let the emotional response go – something similar has happened too many times before.

Journalling was required

It says ‘when I am fragile and humiliated, I have my Mandala webs and the beginnings of my soul restoration process to support me.

I am not sure how the habitual’ lies’ that I tell my self – I am not good enough , I always make mistakes , ‘how could you not remember what was said to you!?’, ‘Failure’ will be released by this process they feel too ingrained.

I am ready to do the work ……

I am too sensitive- HSP

This brave girl / Soul Restoration stuff is exhausting- thinking about the lies I tell my self – ‘you are too sensitive’ is a good one.

I went to stay with my sister at the weekend. We had a lovely time shopping and talking and drinking lots of coffee – well she was drinking coffee I don’t do caffeine .

We were walking around Southampton, when we heard a busker with a soulful voice that knocked us both for six. I had goosebumps and an emotional overreaction . My stomach knotted up and I was afraid that I was going to have a tummy migraine. My sister said he left her feeling jittery.

I decided to do some reading and thinking about my reactions. I had great fun making up this journal page

Where I used an anatomy picture and collaged it with a Chinese medicine illustration and a chart.

http://www.positivehealth.com/article/chi-energy-martial-arts/chi-nei-tsang

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/05/10/your-mind-body-are-not-separate-this-chart-explains-it-all/

I also thought about the music experience and produced an image for my Brave Girl art journal

Today I have been reading all about HSP – (highly sensitive people not the blood vessel decease). I grew up thinking I was too sensitive. I didn’t ‘get’ being teased, my skin wasn’t thick enough, I over reacted to everything and cried a lot. Oh, and sudden noises, bright lights and strong smells drive me mad.

Who knew I am just an HSP – the term was first written about by Elaine N.Aron PH.D. in the 1990’s. It is not that uncommon, about 1 in 5 people are HSP. ( see link below for more) It’s tiring shining a light on all these aspects of self and reading lots in my iPhone. However I did find a great quote

‘Many of the personal, inner aspects of creative talent can challenge us in ways that demand facing fears and limitations and moving beyond our comfort zones. And many forms of creative expression may require at times a high degree of courage’. ( Douglas Eby)

I have to learn to accept my emotions for what they are and let them be. If I can also learn to let go of anxiety and relax along the way ,I will find a calmer version of my self to live with – which would be very nice indeed

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/creative-mind/2013/04/to-be-more-creative-deal-with-anxiety/

http://m.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/highly-sensitive-people-signs-habits_n_4810794

Sometimes it feels like I am in a dyslexic fugue-shining a light – ‘Soul Restoration’

I am ‘doing’ Soul Restoration with the ‘Brave Girls University’ . my best arty friend Debbie Howard is tutoring me electronically and I have signed up for Melody Ross’ video tutorials and bought the work book….

I am shining a light on my truths, today looking at my dyslexia which is driving me mad this week. I have trouble with dates and calendars – I try so hard to compensate but sometimes I have a melt down – 4 double bookings over the next few months has me reduced to a quivering jelly with a lack of self esteem……. I drew a table last night of my cock ups to get a better idea of how much grovelling I have to do , over the next few days.

As compensation I decided to stop beating my self up and look up symptoms of adult dyslexia

I tried very hard to spell the title properly but – drawing letters sends my potty – concentration on tooooo many things at once 😂😂😂

I picked out those that apply to me the most – if you have 10 the website has a course that you can attend to help you ……

https://www.dyslexia.com/about-dyslexia/signs-of-dyslexia/common-characteristics-of-adult-dyslexia/

I try an compensate but when I was a teacher it was a bit tricky with report writing and timetables….

I was reading the list – which I found interesting – it has a disclaimer at the top

‘Most adult dyslexics will exhibit at least 10 of the following traits and behaviors. These characteristics are often inconsistent, and may vary depending upon the day or situation.’

My art journalling called – I sometimes see pages in my head just before I wake up properly in the morning – today a girl was drowning in a sea of dyslexia – a bit dramatic but I liked it.

In the sea it says ” the very things that held you under are going to lift you up’ there is a randomn ‘ ‘achieve’ and ‘pressure’ and watches to represent time – calendars etc

The Soul Restoration course asks you to look at your light and shade in your life

Yesterday I had a mad art day and produced quite a few pages based on the idea around shining a light on the shade/ lies that I tell my self – I am finding the ‘lies’ quite difficult to get my head around

The one below looks at how there is too little natural light in my basement flat and how it is necessary to get out and walk everyday

Below I look at how I achieve when I push my self – this is quite a hard balance to achieve with the beating myself up that goes on with my dyslexia. These pages feel raw, untidy and unfinished but the express how I was feeling and the struggle to be authentic on the page

My first spread for this course looked at 3 different senses of self – a facade that I can present to the world , a shadow self and an authentic self. I made the page after a movement medicine session. Sometimes it feels like I dance to feel the light. – the page is a fold out piece so there are several pics

New commission, Osteopath -23Eyre Place, Edinburgh

We had a fab but tiring time in Sacramento visiting our son and his wife over Christmas and the New Year. I feel like I am emerging from jet lag and had a meeting today with my Osteopath who would like me to produce some art for her practice.

She has been advertising in the yellow pages since 2000. The paper version of the pages is stopping. I am to use her collection of adverts as a basis for some art work

http://www.eyreplaceosteopath.co.uk/

I had fun using layout to make some patterns – though I think these are a bit too representational

We talked about ideas for 3 pieces

– I fancied making some origami from some of the adverts ( there are lots) to make up the shape of a spine which could be framed in a deep window box. I like the idea of the finished origami shapes breaking up the text through the folding. And the link with a spine/ osteopathy

Image from Pinterest no citation ref

I thought a frog might work because it could work like a vertebra

The Osteopath likes my dancing ladies that I produced for my last exhibition – she is happy with this concept in terms of the idea of movement links in with Osteopaths helping people to move.

The third idea is to do what ever I like with the papers …… watch this space.