Sunday, June 30, 2013

Inner Excavations Week 1

No ICADS this time...I got myself all in a tizzy about messing up the prompt order (I don't know why it's such a big deal to me, but it REALLY is! *angry eyes* ) and haven't done any to the point of finishing and sharing them since.

Actually, I am thinking I am going to wimp out of ICAD...or not wimp off?  I started doing the ICAD cards because I wanted to do something creative every day, and I liked the idea of something simple and small and tossable if it was too hideous.  And that worked out awesomely for a while. Then I got so involved in doing the cards that I would do them instead of other art.  I think this is where I lost my way...I didn't lose interest, mind you!  I still think it's a great idea, and I am pretty sure I will pick them back up again at some point.  But for right now, my general feeling is that messing up the prompt order and all the CRAZY PERSON amount of stress that resulted from something so little is my brain's attempt to signal me that it's time to do something else for a while.  I love my art journals way too much to neglect them the way I have.  

So, anyhow, I'm thinking that I will do a card on days that I don't have time to do something else or when inspiration is being a hoochie and shaking it in somebody else's craft room.  I feel like the ICAD does deserve a round of applause because it did last a couple weeks for me, and usually my attention span is... wait, I see something shiny...

I am actually starting a different project, which kind of makes me feel like ICAD's slutty girlfriend who left him for someone else...  I'm sorry's not you, it's me!  We can still be friends... *guilty eyes*

In lieu of ICAD, I am starting the Inner Excavate-along over on Effy Wild's blog (as suggested by my friend Wendy).  I am going through the book Inner Excavations-Explore Your Self Through Photography, Poetry, and Mixed Media (by Liz Lamoreax) along with some really wonderful and interesting people.  You can read more about the excavate-along (and join in the dig if you want!) HERE.

As I have mentioned several times in the past, I am generally not a fan of (what I consider to be) the hippy dippy, and when I first skimmed the info on Amazon, I thought that's what it was going to be...  But I went with it and, so far, it has not been too bad!  

Instead of the usual spouting of 'you can do it' and then giving you step by step projects to copy, this book focuses more on the ideas and tasks leading you into being creative, and what direction it takes is entirely up to you.  It is more of a mental and emotional workshop than anything.  And NOT in a fruit loopy way.  It does encourage you 'be present' and take in things that are going on around you.  And to look into the why behind what your thoughts and feelings are.  And you have to know, I am a big fan of the why!  

There are not step by step projects, but there are some really pretty pictures as well as suggestions and tips for inspiration.  I think this would be a great book for people who tend to compare what they do with other people's work.  You know, they follow all the directions and it doesn't end up looking like the picture in the book and then it's a failure in their eyes.  In this book you're really just given inspiration and left to decide for yourself what to do.  I actually REALLY like that aspect!

I like that it involves art, poetry, and photography.  I, of course, LOVE art journaling.  And I have always enjoyed poetry, both reading and writing.  And I do have the desire to start taking more pictures...  So maybe this book was the right thing at the right time after all.  The pictures in the book are just gorgeous and it makes me want to go crazy nut-job with my camera...  

All of the above made me realize I was judging a book by it's cliche am I???  Stop being so judgmental Sweets!!!

I decided I am going to do a two page spread each week for the art portion of the tasks.  I am using my Dylusions Creative Journal (AT LAST!!!) for this.  It's so much different than what I'm used to...for the sheer size of the journal alone!  Especially considering I've been doing 3x5 ICAD cards for the past three weeks, the 11x8 pages are just HUGE!  I think this is a good thing for the excavate along, because I have the tendency to try to get an entire page done in one day.  I know it's going to be impossible for me to do that in this gigantic journal!  I need to take my time and really consider the information and suggestions in the book, and I think having this huge journal to work in will make me take my time and really THINK about things, instead of just trying  to (semi-mindlessly) make pretty pictures with a quickness.  

So, the point to all that blabbing is that I (shockingly enough) really enjoyed doing the first chapter.

And here's my first two page spread:

There were some really interesting ideas for the photography portion.  I decided that since this is supposed to be exploring self, I would do some awesome bathroom mirror self-portraits.  I feel the need to express how much I am not a fan of having my picture taken.  The whole time I was thinking I might as well be a teenage girl...  It was all I could do to take it seriously and not do the duck face girl look...or the thumbs up cheesy smile look... or the looking off in the distance for some reason look (ok, full disclosure, I did do this one)...  Instead, I did the 'try to make sure my face is actually in the picture look' and the 'I can't see the button, did I just take the picture?' look...  I'm cool like that....

Here's a closer look at just the left page:
I don't have a great printer, and all my photos for this project are going to have to be printed out on it, so we'll just have to get used to grainy photos.  I  tried to use it to my advantage a little bit and make them look like vintage-y photos.  The only one I didn't do anything to is the photo in the middle of this page.  The others I used paint, gelatos, and some other things to age them.    I had done this background a while ago, and , in the beginning, I hadn't planned on using the huge Dylusions journal for this project.  But after doing the poetry prompt, it jumped out at me to work with this background, and I think it works.  I really liked that the stamped girl in the top left was looking down over the page, so I wanted to play with that idea and take it farther.  In the top right photo, I am looking down at my phone (to see if  I am in the shot).  Now it looks to me like I'm looking down at the drawing.  I did the drawing from one of the photos I took that didn't make the cut.  (See, I DID do the 'looking off in the distance for no reason' picture!  *hangs head in shame*)  So I think the drawing looks like she is looking at the middle picture, which is neat because this project is all about exploring 'self'.  I liked the middle picture, because to me it looks like I'm STARING INTO YOUR SOUL!!! BWA-HA-HA!!!  I don't know.  I am not great at thinking about myself although you probably wouldn't guess that from the blog.  In all reality, I guess I don't actually talk a great deal about myself (the deep inner workings part anyway), usually it's the art and then I explain the thought behind it.  This Excavating is like a whole huge Sweet Red Clover bonanza!  

Here's a close up of the right page:
More of my face...I hope you guys love my face, because it seems like you'll be seeing more of it...spattered all over the AJ pages...  I like that there happened to be the peacock feather down in the background I had done.  It fits, because I am pretty proud of myself for going into this thing despite my qualms.  It's been really enjoyable and interesting so far!  And I do love it when I am pushed to go in a direction that is outside my the photography thing.  Speaking of, I know I am going to have to work on the photography a lot, because these pictures really don't show the brightness of the background at all!  I want to blame it on my camera and say that it doesn't pick up high contrasts well, but really it probably does and I just don't know how to do that yet...I'll work on it.  You know me: practice, practice, practice is my mantra!  On a side note, check out my huge hands!  I swear to goodness, I have ACTUAL MAN HANDS!  They are crazy big, right?!?  ...sorry, that was just a side note...  Anyway, this page has the poem I wrote for the 'Just Write' portion of the chapter.   I stuck with my narcissistic theme and did most of the thoughts starting out with 'I' phrases.

Here is the poem I wrote for the writing portion.  (It's hard to make out in some places in the photo) :

I am a still life painting.
But I am not the color.
I am the black 
the white
the haze
that makes the colors pop off the page
necessary in small doses
but abhorred just the same
for my light and my darkness
neither of which can be discarded
but somehow still so hard to appreciate
"If only she were this instead of that"
or "that instead of this"
but I am not.
Your eyes are drawn away by color
by the noisy crashing of brighter hues.
And you do not really see me.

I begin to see cracks, fissures in my flawed nature
opening wider, 
being pried apart by desperate fingers
spurred on by eyes longing to see what's hidden inside.

I stand resolute but silent:
I am not the song being sung.
I am the catch in the throat, 
the strangled cry.
In my heart I call to you.
I call only your name.

I desire to make sense of  
this curse and gift
like any other, to find meaning 
in things that seem 
so meaningless
so transient, 
so beautiful, yet all in vain

That first part of the poem is what made me think of the bright glorious background I had done in the journal. Then the additions I did, my pictures and the text and drawing and things, were black and white or very bland neutralish colors.  I like that it ties in with the poem in that way.  

I can't wait to see what next week brings about...I'll have a whole week to play with the book this time.  I only just got the book on Friday, and kind of cheated a little by using the background I had done so that I would not feel rushed to keep up...not that you have to do it that way, it's just my slightly neurotic way. Now I'm left with clean blank pages to work on for all the other no cheating can happen!  If the rest of the weeks are as awesome as this first week, I doubt I'll have any problems with 'cheating'...I'm looking forward to digging in full force and really getting down to the roots.

Wow, that was a long ramble!  I'm off to shovel some dirt now...

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