Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Dancing On A Graves and ICAD Day 5

When I first became interested in art journaling, as is my tendency when I become interested in something, I did a lot of searching.  I scoured the internet for pictures and information.  Well, honestly, the first thing I did was talk to my sister, who's an extraordinary researcher...and I put her skills to use for myself...she may or may not be aware that I use her as my research monkey.  (I love you, Marian!)  And the next thing I did was to take what she'd given me and branched out on my own and found information where ever I could.  I went to the library.  I stalked the blogs of people who's work I admired.  YouTube seemed to become a homepage for me, because I was constantly looking at how-to videos.  I ordered a bunch of books off of Amazon.  I can get a little obsessed's a good and bad thing.  But in that initial burst of interest, I discovered something I found very interesting.

In all the blogs I stalked, all the videos I watched, all the books I read, there was a pattern of...I don't know if this is the right word...cheerleading (?).  There was inevitably something mentioned to the effect of "You can do it!  Dismiss your inner critic!  There's a little voice inside in your head saying there are beautiful things  inside of you, and YOU CAN SET THEM FREE!", etc.  My pessimistic side wanted to mock all of these encouraging words, because they seemed like a bunch of mumbo jumbo.  Not because they were stupid or wrong, but because I didn't understand that there were so many people out there who needed to hear them.

Let me try to explain:  

In my life, I've had the pleasure and the pain of being responsible for myself and others from a pretty early age.  The downfall of this responsibility is that I question basically all my choices.  I can be the most indecisive person in the world...I over-analyze EVERYTHING.  I am always afraid of making the wrong choice and that the consequences of my choice will have this butterfly effect that eventually leads to what we all fear...a zombie apocalypse.  OK, that's a stretch, but you get what I mean, right?  Choices lead to actions, and actions have consequences beyond our control.  The fact that we don't know what consequences our actions will have is a little scary to some people, and a lot scary to other people...I fall into the "a lot scary" category.  It's not the actions, it's not the physically doing something  that scares me.  It's the mental part, the choice, that's scary.

The good part of being responsible from early on is that I know I can DO.  My mom's favorite saying when I was a kid was "Can't never did nothing."  If you keep saying you can't do something, you're right, because you won't even try.  This line of thinking has led me to be able to do a whole heaping lot of different things.  Oh sure, I'm a colossal failure at many things, but I keep trying.  For many situations in my life, failure has not been an option.  If I have to do something, I'll latch onto it like I'm covered in super glue and won't let go til I'm as close to perfect as a person can be.  

And that's why I couldn't understand that people need to hear "You CAN do this."  ...well duh, of course you can!  For me, once I made the choice to do creative things, the majority of the scariness ended.  It became about practicing at that point.  It became irritation that I couldn't get my hands to make the things I saw in my brain.  It became about learning as much as I could about how to make the kind of art I wanted to make.  

I am still learning.  I am still not at the point I want to be at.  I have second thoughts about certain decisions: Do I add this color, or is it better without?  Do I want to put this journaling here?  Do I want to use acrylics or watercolor today?  See, it's the choices I'm most afraid of.  But the great and forgiving thing about art is that you can always make more.  You can always have a do-over.  It makes the consequences of your choices much less scary when you come to terms with the fact that, if we choose, what we make can be never ending.  Anything we do can be fixed, repaired, altered, amended or covered over entirely and it becomes a new start.  In art, mistakes merely teach us what we need to do to get better.

Deciding to make art has been a really wonderful choice for me.  It's taught me so much.  My attitude towards life has started to become a reflection of my attitude towards art.  I've always been scared of making decisions because I didn't want to make a mistake; I thought of consequences as final.  Art has taught me that no mistake is irreparable.  Even the worst mistakes, if nothing else, teach us what we don't want.  

So here comes my mumbo jumbo:  I've heard so many people say "let go of your fears".  That's pretty good advice.  But, I think I have better advice.  Don't let go of your fears.  Bury them.  Bury them under mounds of your art.  Just make something, anything, and make your mistakes.  Make so many mistakes that your fears are suffocated by effort.  And then learn from your mistakes.  If we keep doing this, eventually we'll stop making mistakes and our fears will be completely buried.  And then we'll dance on their graves.

"I came here to dance on the grave of my fears."  I had done the background of this a while ago.    The sky is Dylusions, and the bottom is colored pencil with dylusions over top for the individual blades of grass.  The mushroom cap is scrapbook paper and the stem is a tag I cut out of a piece of paper I nabbed from work (I really like paper with boxes and grids on them.)  The lady was part of a set of free printable stuff from somewhere online.  I printed it off so long ago,  before I was even on Pinterest (oh, Pinterest, was there ever a time you weren't a part of my life?), that I can't find the link for it.  But the face, arms, legs, and dress are all separate pieces.  The topmost butterflies are angelina film stamped with Stazon ink.  (Angelina film is iridescent and amazing...go google it, it's worth the time.)  The bottom butterflies are stamped with my faux gelatos (faux-latos...hehehe) and outlined with Sharpie markers and Microns (as is the woman).  The shading on the mushroom and the woman's shadow was also done with faux-latos.

For ICAD day 5, the prompt was "recycle or repurpose".  ICAD is a great start for letting go of your fears, and this prompt seems like a bonus in that direction too, because you could use an index card and something destined for the trash who cares if it doesn't work out?  Bury those fears!

This is the 3x5 card I did:

"Do raindrops dance down at your feet tonight?"  This is a line from the song below, "Where You Are" by Clare Burson.  To make the background, I grabbed a paper towel I had used to catch over-spray from when I was spraying an art journal page with Dylusions, sprayed a little water on it and then scrubbed it onto the index card.  There was a lot of color left in that paper towel!  Then I took the cap off an empty container of glitter glue that was in my trashcan and stamped the circles using black faux-latos.  Then I used watercolor for the text part.
Here's the song that the lyrics in the above card are from:

This song makes me think of someone who's died.  One of the lines is "When I look to the stars, I know where you are."  I'm talking to our fears when I hear that line and I think to myself: "I know where you are, stupid useless fears...buried six feet under!!!" and then I laugh maniacally because I'm holding the shovel that put them there!  Bwa-ha-ha!!!  

Here's my 4x6:

"If you are willing to do something that might not work, you're closer to being an artist." -Seth Godin
Hooray for subconsciously managing to get all of today's pieces to come together around a common theme!  It was purely accidental, I brain just gets stuck on a notion sometimes.  For this card, I again used one of my paper towels that I use to catch the Dylusions over-spray with (I had used this one mainly for ICAD day 2's 3x5 stitch themed can see the outline of the card pretty well.) and glued it to the index card.  Then I took a black Sharpie and wrote out the quote.  Lesson learned: sharpie spreads/bleeds when you use it on paper towel.  So it made the quote pretty hard to read in a lot of places.  I was trying to find a way to fix this, and watercolors were the solution.  As long as the watercolors were on top of the part where the black Sharpie had already bled, they didn't run (you can see how precise it ended up staying on most of the words).  If the watercolor hit a piece of the paper towel that didn't have sharpie on it already, then the watercolor would bleed/spread too (you can see this in a couple places, like the "o" in "to" and several of the letters in "artist").  I signed it with a Pitt pen, at the bottom left, and that didn't bleed, although it wanted to snag the paper towel a lot more than the Sharpie did.)

So that's my long-winded thought for today.  I'm off to go murder some more fears and hide the evidence...


  1. Your writing is just wonderful. I love your thought process about fears. And dancing on their graves is brilliant. I love the legs on that lady.
    Well done, SRC.

    1. Thanks Boo! I just see so many people talking about being 'scared' of art stuff on the different groups, and it got me thinking... I just wanted to think of a way to make it be silly to be afraid...

      I can't take credit for the legs, they were part of that printable thing that I lost the link for...but they are pretty neato, aren't they?

  2. SRC Boo has said it all....I love reading your blogs. Your writing is incredible and I so love how you think. My life has been so enriched from knowing you, Sweet Girl. I love the idea of burying fears. Can't wait to visit you again! Love you dearly. <3

    1. Thanks Cheryl! You make me feel so special, I just might explode from the special-ness! I can't imagine my life without you! I wish we could have a real visit...maybe someday! Until then, I am with you and Gretchen in spirit! Next visit, let's have some tea, ok? :)

  3. I love this post! Beautifully articulated & it resonated with me. If you get a chance, google Ira Glass on the subject of creative's fabulous! Let me know what you think. Great ICADs too! :)

    1. Thanks Patricia! That makes me feel so good...I am smiling a huge smile right now!

      I will check out Ira Glass as soon as I can...tomorrow's wa-a-ay past my bedtime right now...but I promise I will google it before work in the morning. Thanks for pointing me in his direction!

    2. Ooh! I looked him up, and we totally agree with each other! That's so funny! I was sitting there reading what he said and thought how true the statement is: 'there's no such thing as an original idea'...and here I thought I had a break through! :)

      It's very comforting to me to know that I'm not the only one who thinks a certain let's me know I'm not totally crazy quite yet!

      Thanks for letting me know about him! <3

  4. Sweets, as always... incredible work. You have such a way with words, seriously you make me smile.

    Keep burying your fears. And dance on the graves of the gremlins!!!
    Hugs, Pamikins

    1. Thanks my Pamikins! It makes me so happy when people say nice things about my brain blabbings...I really like to write, and I worry sometimes I'm not explaining things in the right way. (...but I practice writing, so that I can dance on the grave of that fear too!)

      Me and you can dance together, do you want to? Come on, baby, let's twist and shout!


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