Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Creative Vocabulary and Personal Stories - Journal Pages and FB Live Gesso Tutorial

Hi again my friends.
Oh, what a week it was! More journal pages are done, mind-blowing journaling class with Amanda Grace at The Pilgrim Soul Studio in Sligo, and then finally some good time with friends and the beginning of the pickling season - looks like I was busy!
From all that, making some time for creativity was a priority for me. Intentionally I was trying hard to carve some time to literally stick dome things together and get some pages done - just for my own sanity, pleasure and enjoyment. I was writing a longer post on this topic 2 weeks ago - you can check it here - and now I'm coming back with more pages from my Summerbook - and a bunch of thoughts on the journaling process. And today I'm back with more.
What I  confirmed during the RAW art journaling class with Amanda, was the conclusion that we all have our own creative vocabulary - a way of expressing our emotions, feelings and thoughts. What is important and fascinating - if you will let your subconsciousness take control over the creative process you will realise some of the patterns in your works will repeat. We may be using the same set of techniques over and over. Or colour palette. Or certain kind of imaginery. Or tools.  You can call it a "creative comfort zone"  or "personal style" but what they really are our "words" helping us project our feelings and inner narration onto our artwork, making it visible to others. They are our own creative language, and taking some time to analyze this aspect of our creativity may be really beneficial and inspiring.
It is all starting at the moment when we are gathering our elements and supplies. 
No matter how much we love to try new products and techniques there always will be things which will finally land on our table. There is no point in fighting with them - they will come back anyway. I'm sure you know what I mean - even if we are experimenting with new ideas, there will be always something "old" showing through them. And there is nothing wrong with that!
Our "vocabulary" will evolve, naturally change in time, some aspects of creations will be more important for us, some choices more natural and easier than others. What is important here we shouldn't be forcing it and pushing ourselves too hard. Being upset with "similarities". It would be better to think there are some stories which still want to be told and this language is the right one to do it... maybe you should explore the topic a bit more? Think through it and see why things are going a certain way? Is it just because it is the "only way you know" or maybe - there is something much deeper in it? And - are they really so "similar" to each other anyway? If you put your heart into them - I'm sure they are not!
If there is a need to discover new lands and explore new things - the creative language will naturally start to change, new ideas will stick to your mind, you will be tempted to try colours, techniques or images you've never used before. You will play and create new meanings, new stories and simply - make art the way you like it at the very moment!
Let's take a look at the journal pages I've posted today.
My resources and techniques used were really limited. I've used similar images and tools... Yes, they are ones which are easy to pack and take with me anywhere - but there are some of my "all-time favourites" - naturally! I can agree they are all in a similar mood - but they are certainly telling very different stories! 
I like to think the meaning of the artwork, or as I call it - the "story"- is in the eye of the beholder. I create my collages or journal pages expressing my feelings and thoughts, they are my way of communicating with you all, but they are open to interpretation. I can give you some visible hints - but even if I'd like, I cant capture exactly all the nuances which are the ingredients of these projects. It's really up to you what you will see there, projecting your own personality on them. And this is the beauty of creating and admiring the artwork!

What are my "staple" elements in art journaling then? My creative vocabulary?
Found objects - I'm sure. They may be just old papers with handwritten notes, pressed flowers or rusty metal parts - but for me, they are all precious an meaningful. As you can see threads and old labels are at the top of the list, recently!
Next - images of people, possibly vintage ones or ones of my family or friends. It may sound a bit creepy, but I LOVE using the photos of the people who are long gone. For me, it is like writing their life story over and over again so they will be never forgotten...
Next favourite - limited colours, often including tea stain brown. Sometimes I think it would b enough just to use this tea infuse, some pen or pencil, and I would be happy with the result. (But - why not?). Other important colours would be red and shades of blue, purple and grey. They just want to go on the page - and I don't fight with them!
One more - dots, splatters and circles. They are perfect, dynamical elements of composition and great finishing touches. Love them all.
Finally - texture! Fabric, paste or paper - it doesn't matter to me but there has to be something for the colour to stick to and stay on. I love the staining effects, different colour saturation depending on the background, the beauty of the layers. I can't help it - and as I said before, it is pointless to fight with that!

There is one more thing that seems to bind all of my journaling pages together - Gesso. The most popular and basic art supply, which makes all the magic possible and creates the best surface to work on with colour and finishing touches. It also does a great job for covering some parts of the projects you don't like that much... I can't imagine working without it!

If you'd like to learn more about different kinds of Gesso and get some tips and ideas - check this FB Live below! I was inspired by the hints and questions you were leaving onr me in Instagram and Facebook - so thank you again for the help!

Here are the links to the products I was talking about - all available in Mixed Media Place Store - and many of your local and online stores as well!

What is your creative vocabulary?
Your habits and techniques you came back to, over and over again? Something you can't imagine work without? Let me know!

I hope I was able to inspire you a bit...
Sending love and hugs


Helen said...

gorgeous pages!

Sarah (Debbie) said...

Fabulous expressions Anna. I’ve been old book hunting recently. We have seven second hand shops in our wee town. Edith Holden no where though. Had to ho to ebay which lead me to a recycling place. They sell some of the books. I was so happy to get Country Diary of a Victorian Lady for £2.50 post free.

Brought mine when it first came out but wanted one for journalling. This lead to buying a couple of Enid Blyton’s. Had to leave mine when I left my first husband. 40 years on and I find the balm. Incredible how being creative heals.

I thank you for your insight and understanding. We are all healing together

Can’t wait till monday to send my order over to you. The new colours are amazing

Love always

Debbie Zagarit xxx

Cheryl said...

This was the best instruction I've heard about when to use white, black, or clear gesso. Thank you so much. I will be using clear gesso more often on my journal pages.

Jenn White said...


Nora said...

I loved your article, so true what you said about our creative's process...

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