Tuesday, April 29, 2014

You Choose

As a ridiculous word junkie, with the near inability to make an art journal page without words on it, I must say I really liked the prompt for Documented Life Project this week.  You can read more about it HERE, but the prompt was "Add an inspiring quote to guide your week."

I don't know about 'guiding my week', but something I needed to hear right now popped up on my Pinterest feed:

"You are never stuck.  You choose this day and every day."

I accidentally cropped my photo too close, but I swear it actually says 'this' not 'his'...the 't' is on the page...also, I giggled to myself, because, depending on how you look at it, the poor girl in this spread looks like she tripped and is falling over.  Hehehe...it made me laugh.  She's supposed to look like she's soaring off into the sky...instead, she's super clumsy like me and tripped over her ridiculously long dress.  I think it's hilarious...once I saw it, I couldn't un-see it.

This clumsy girl has a good point though...one that I needed to hear: I choose.  

I have a friend at my job who's always saying very profound things that I make so much sense to my whiny brain...it is kind of annoying.  Can't people just let you wallow in misery?  Ugh...

  Yesterday, I was...venting...complaining...whatever...about someone I deal with on a daily basis and I said "I don't understand why they act this way."  And stupid work philosopher says to me "Because you let them."  And you know what, work sage was right.  There are certain instances where you don't have a choice in what you put up with, but they are much more few and far between than I let myself believe.

I kind of cop out of facing confrontation by being a bit of a doormat.  Because I hate confrontation, in any form.  I complain about things, but I never do anything about them.  I make myself be a martyr to circumstances that are within my power to change.  But I "don't want to be the bad guy"...so I just lay under the bus as it rolls me over.

My work philosopher friend said to me: "Everybody in life is looking out for their own happiness.  It would be nice to think that somebody out their is looking out for you, but that's just not how the world works.  It's up to you to fight for your own happiness...I'm gonna get my happiness at any cost."

For the record, 'happiness at any cost' will one day be it's own art journal page...

And so work philosopher made me realize that I've been sitting around waiting for some benevolent soul to 'fix' things for me.  That I've been twiddling my thumbs, letting my life go by in the hopes that one day everything will be better, because I'm a decent person and I deserve it and how could the universe not send it to me...like a crazy person.  What I really need to do is stand up and fight for happiness, tooth and nail, with everything I've got.  The only person who will come along to save me is me.

And that led me to this:

"I want to say I love you and I want to say I hate you but I don't have the breath or the courage to let either one slip out.  All I know is this: Hell is a burning desire."

I know what I want.  I know what I need to be happy.  There's a burning desire inside of me for these things.  I make it hellish because I don't go after those things.  If I'm not willing to fight for happiness, then I probably don't deserve for someone to hand it to me.  I'm walking around in hell like I'm trapped when the door to get out is wide open, if I just walk through it.  Maybe I'm a little scared, because I don't know what's on the other side...but it has to be better.  And if it's not, then you just keep fighting for happiness, right?  It's a constant struggle to be happy, not a one time fight.  Life always throws things at us...we just have to keep fighting to beat it.  But, like anything else I suppose, the more you do it, the better you get...it will get easier, because you'll get stronger.

I guess I'm ready to find out what's on the other side of that door.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Playing Catch-Up Again

I'm playing catch-up again.  Today, I've got Journal 52, Documented Life Project (DLP), and Alternate Amy stuff to share with you.

For Journal 52 last week, the prompt was "Recycled Art" and you can read more about it HERE.  I went VERY minimal with my page...here it is:

Her dress is made from the inside of a security envelope that my bank statement came in.

Like I said, minimal.  I like white space sometimes.  When I do too many in a row full of busy color, it shakes things up to do one with a lot of white space!  And this gal's definitely got that going for her...

For DLP, which you can read more about HERE, the prompt was "Photograph or draw your favorite shoes, and here's my spread:

I photographed this and then realized that I had left the journaling card to the right of the deer blank...it now says "Very dear to me."  ...because I am corny like that...

And here's the close-up of my shoe sketch:
♥ my adidas ♥

I really do love my Adidas...they make me feel like one of the cool kids...and they are fantastically comfortable...which is very important to me.  They are grey suede high tops, and I love them with a love I very rarely experience in regards to inanimate objects!

Lastly, I have today's Alternate Amy spread to share with you:

"She felt like a kid again."

You can read the diary post HERE, or just enjoy the art.

I've got some more art to share with you...but I'm not promising anything...every time I say "tomorrow", it ends up being a week later...so maybe if I say sometime soon...then it will actually be within the next few days.  

I've got some weird personal stuff going on right now.  I know I'm usually pretty forthcoming with everything that's going on in my life, but for this, I need some time to think.  It's why I've been a little on the quiet side recently, and I just need some time to work my way to the answer...so it may be a little quiet here for a while...but don't give up on me, pals!  I will keep posting my art as often as I can and I hope that you'll forgive me for being a bad internet friend/awesome hermit.  To give you an inkling of the seriousness of my situation, know this: I haven't even wanted to make art...yeah, so you know it's bad.  But never fear, I'll be back on track soon and know that I can't wait to see what beautiful art you all are making in the mean time. <3<3<3

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Acquire Pure Imagination

Sorry for the long haul of silence going on here for the past week or two!  I went out of town a little unexpectedly, and was without internet...oh, sweet internet, let us never part again!

On the opposite side, it is nice to have a break from the irresistible call of the web once in a while...it's amazing what you can do when you don't have the distraction!

One of the things I did was my Documented Life spread for week 16.  The Challenge was to use a cardboard food package in a creative way, and you can read more about that HERE.

And this is what I did:

"Betty Crocker couldn't stop the wild blueberry."
"The possibilities are endless when you disregard reality and acquire pure imagination..."

I used a pieces from a blueberry muffin box for my spread...the words ("Betty Crocker" and "Wild Blueberry") of course, but also, the white thing that the drawing is on is a piece from the box that I gessoed.  It was actually a pretty decent surface to work with!  I sketched out my monstrous blueberry and used my Koi travel watercolor set for his awesome bluish hue...  Parts of the writing, as well as the interesting flying ship thingie, were already on the paper, I added the rest of the writing using Elmer's Painters paint pens and the shadow using water soluble pens.

I think it's a pretty fun spread and I TOTALLY love the sentiment of disregarding reality and acquiring pure imagination...it makes even the most hum drum days special...

One thing I've been using my pure imagination for is my fake journal.  I knew I wouldn't be able to keep up with the one spread a day, and I was right about that...but I have got another spread ready to share:

"She had the shivers and butterflies inside."
"In one kiss, you'll know all I haven't said." - Pablo Neruda

You can read the diary entry HERE, or just enjoy the artsy goodness above...

I actually have my spread for Journal 52 and this week's Documented Life Project done as well, but still need to take the pictures...I got them done on my internet-less retreat!  So, hopefully, I will get back to my normal posting routine and try to get those out in the next day or so...I don't like feeling like I'm late...especially when the hardest part is already done!

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Things That Come Out of My Head...

The prompt for this week's Journal 52 page was "Party Animals".  You can read more about it HERE, but basically the prompt was to draw your favorite animal, or make up your own creature.

Seeing the awesome things that other people have done with human animal hybrid type things, I thought I would make something really cute...unfortunately, instead of cute, I accidentally painted this creepy, soul-stealing...I don't know what:

All I want to do is party and steal souls...and you're kind of acting like that makes me a terrible person...

It kind of worries me that this is what comes out of my head when I'm left to my own devises...

I don't hate her...despite her general creepiness...I just feel as though there needs to be another page done with a less creepy feel... I know that this same idea can be translated much less scarily, and I will be attempting that at some point.  On the positive side, I really like the bright colors that come I chose and the black background, which makes those colors even brighter...but also possibly adds to the creepy vibe.  I don't know, at the very least, she's original, right?

Also happening in my studio today, ironically enough, was today's Alternate Amy art:

"She was a little surprised."
I guess she saw the deer girl...

You can read the diary entry for today HERE, or just sit back and let this surprised girl take your mind off the creepy deer girl above.  

I was laughing at myself a little bit about the tag that has the stamped phrase on it.  I meant to do a rainbow tag...you know, ROY G BIV...Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet...instead what I ended up with was red, orange, green, purple, blue, and yellow...which my fellow fat kids will know as the colors in Post Fruity Pebbles (and if you're really good, you totally sang the colors out loud to the Fruity Pebbles theme song music...)  Curse my easily distracted brain! Hehehe...

 I am so very happy with this drawing.  I feel like I am progressing more and more with my artistic skills...although I have to admit that the deer girl is a bit of a disappointment...in my defense, she was much less creepy as a drawing...she didn't get that scary till I painted her.  But I wanted to draw a shocked/surprised face for today's Alt Amy spread, and I think that's definitely what the red headed girl portrays.  So yay!!!

Sometimes I wonder if I sound too...snooty woo woo look at me...when I say positive things about my work.  I don't mean it that way.  It's just that I've worked REALLY hard to get to the point I'm at, and it makes me so excited to see the effort paying off!  I don't have a whole lot of things going on in my life to be super proud about...the art stuff is really all I've got!  OK, art and double entendre/sexual innuendo...but my mom reads this blog, so I can't go there...hehehe...just kidding, Mom...  (She's totally going to fuss at me for saying that!)

Seriously, it is nice to be able to see progress...and to have something turn out on the page like I saw it in my head...that feels like a big accomplishment to me.   When I get done with one thing, I immediately start something new...I get super excited...I can't wait to see what the next thing I make will be like!  I wonder if that excitement will ever wear thin...but then I think, no, it can't, because there's always something new to try...always a different page to make...always another supply I've not used for a long time.  So hopefully, the happy feeling I get from arting it up will always stay with me...

I hope you too are always excited to make your own art...and almost as excited to come see what I make too!

Friday, April 11, 2014

She Knew It Was Time

"She knew it was time."

Here's the art from today's Alternate Amy entry.  You can read the fake journal post HERE, or just sit back and enjoy the art.

I drew the Dodo head for the 'put a bird on it' prompt from Journal 52, but ended up not using it in that spread...it's a good thing to hoard sometimes, isn't it?  I really like how he looks.

The black and white image of the lady (inside the frame) is some awesome art I found on Pinterest.  I don't know who the artist is, but I love it so much it's the wallpaper on my computer at work.  I don't know what it is about her, but I just find her completely enthralling!  The original is in color, making her even more lovely and melancholy than she appears above, but I printed off a bunch of copies in black and white by accident, and why waste...plus I think that might be the way I go with all of the 'other people's art' that gets added into the Alternate Amy journal...that way you'll know I didn't make it.  I'm pretty sure that thus far (except today) they have all been photographs that I've used but still black and white...so huzzah for that happening by pure accident... 

Thanks yet again to my art pals for the ephemera that has been sent to me, which has enabled me to make such fun collage spreads!  I am a general failure at collecting ephemera...it's a skill I really need to work on...  So, once again, my art friends save the day!  Thanks, you cutie pies! <3

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Swept Away

The prompt for Journal 52 this week was to make a weather related page.  You can read more about J52 HERE.  I just could NOT get inspired by the weather prompt!  Nothing came to mind...NOTHING!  

Last night, I was fooling around with my pens and just started scribbling...random pen check to see which ones were running out of ink.  It ended up looking a little like a tornado to me, and I thought BOOM!  Weather related page...and here's what I ended up with:

"I have always been the calm at the eye of the storm...I get tired of the chaos around me.  Sometimes I wish I would let myself be swept away in it."

Simple pages count too I guess, right?  I just cut out a Marry Poppins silhouette and wrote the words and I was done.  On the opposite side, I hate 'fussy' cutting...so it did take me a minute to snip out Mary.

I usually have...what to call it...fish bowl syndrome (?)...I often feel like I am on the outside looking in on things.  People around me have a lot going on in their lives...there's a lot of craziness occurring.

Don't get me wrong, I'm do appreciate the relative calmness of my life.  I know I'm happy to avoid drama whenever I can.  And I know that most of the action happening in the lives of people around me is negative...self-inflicted, negative chaos.  ...why is it so easy to see the solutions to other people's problems, but our own seem so insurmountable?  ...I guess it's because we have no stake in the fight...the end result doesn't affect us, so we can have a free and easy opinion...that's what I think anyway.  But I digress...

Despite the fact that I appreciate the calm, I do have to admit that there is a small part of me that wishes for some fun excitement...or at least for a little positive change.  

I sometimes mentally bemoan the feeling I get that all the interesting things that are going to happen in my life have already happened.  Now it's just a slow, downward trudging to the grave...OK, OK, maybe that's a little hammy...but the less dramatic thought behind it rings true...

Maybe the fact that my younger years played out like a poorly executed novel has something to do with my partial dismay over the current lack of excitement.  I went from Cajun food to plain white rice over the years...and sometimes I miss the spice...

Now when I see chaos around me, I have mixed feelings.  Part of me wants to say these people are old enough to know better...but there is a teeny tiny voice that tells me I'm just jealous.  I'm sure that the excitement would get old pretty fast, but for a day or so...it'd be GREAT!  

Oh well, I guess for now I'll just sit back and watch the soap opera that's happening around me and enjoy the show.  Besides, nobody knows what's around the corner...maybe in a little while, I'll be in the throws of an adventure...wishing I was right back here in the calm...

And on that note, I'm off to work.  But before I go, here's the art for today's fake journal entry:

"She knew how she felt."

You can check out the diary entry that goes along with the art HERE if you'd like...or just enjoy the art...

I hope wherever you are in the world, you'll enjoy your calm or your chaos...because somewhere out there, someone's wishing for whichever one you have...

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Nobody Quite Like You

"He was a pleasant surprise."

Here's today's art from my Alternate Amy project.  You can read the fake journal entry HERE if you'd like, or just stay here and enjoy the art aspect of it.  :)

On a side note, I'd just like to say that I am feeling a little more comfortable with collages in the few days since starting this project.  I always thought my collages looked like someone vomited art supplies and ephemera onto a page...but I'm liking most of the ones that have happened in my Alternate Amy journal...ok, that bright one with the chicken tested my enthusiasm...but the others are pretty good, if I do say so myself!

I have to give credit where credit is due and say it's mostly thanks to Dina Wakely's book ART JOURNAL FREEDOM.  I bought it with Amazon gift cards I was given for Xmas at work...just a couple weeks ago...yeah, I hemmed and hawed over how to spend those gift cards like I've never hemmed and hawed over an Amazon purchase before in my life!

The book might not be for everybody (cause nothing EVER is!), but I am learning about composition like a maniac!  There's also really good (and well explained) information about using color in your art.  That's not been too much of an issue for me...I just grab whatever seems right at the time and slap it down...it works out most of the time (although there's been more than a few ugo's since I've been arting)...but I do like the idea of purposefully using color to convey feelings, so I will eventually circle back around to that information.  For right now, though, the composition side of it is really helpful to me and I think it's coming across in my collage attempts...so YAY for that, right?  ...at least I'm happier with them, so there's that...

Today's collage has bits from my friends Anna and Jackie, so thanks VERY MUCH, ladies, for the awesome goodies!  

Besides getting better at collage, I'm loving this project for making me use things I've hoarded forever...  My starting point for every page is me sifting through my boxes and bags of ephemera and telling myself "use what you wouldn't use"...that approach has been pretty successful so far!  I still like the art, it doesn't look like my normal stuff, and I'm using up ephemera that's just been sitting there gathering dust (and dog hair)...it's a win-win-win situation!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

By Way of Explanation

The prompt for Documented Life Project (DL) this week is monochromatic.  You can read more about it  HERE.

Imitation being the most sincere form of flattery, I decided to try my hand at THIS awesome drawing that I found on Pinterest.  Sadly, the pin doesn't go to a site, so I can't credit the original artist...but if you know who it is, please let me know!  I would love to credit them...and see more of their work!

Anywho, here's my spread:

"Are you afraid?"

And a close up of the drawing (which was done in colored pencil):

Her pupils are a little wonky in this picture, but I didn't see it till I enlarged the picture to put in the blog post...then I promptly fixed it...  Even with wonky pupils, she still makes me SO proud...and now, with fixed pupils, extra proud...

First, allow me to just say: SQUEAL OF DELIGHT!  SQUEAL OF DELIGHT!  I am so extraordinarily happy with this sketch...I can't even tell you...I just love it.  *pats self on back*  *sigh of happiness*

Ok, I'm good now...

Also, I finally...FINALLY...got myself some frisket (also known as masking fluid)...and I am in LOVE!!!  I've been painting it down and peeling it off all day to get to know it better...it's so stinking awesome...I have a fine liner bottle coming in the mail, and I can hardly wait to play with it in that way!  I get a sick amusement out of rubbing the dried up boogery goobers off of the paper...like when you were a kid and put Elmer's glue on your hand just so you could peel it off...I know that I wasn't the only one doing that!  This is like the adult version of that, but, at the end, instead of getting a dried glue hand print to throw in the trash, you get awesome art!  YAY!  

I did the "Are you afraid?" in today's DL spread with the frisket and Dylusions spray inks, first spraying down some Dylusions in blue hues, letting it dry, applying the frisket and letting it dry, and then spraying it with black Dylusions and letting it dry (seeing a pattern?) and, at last, rubbing the boogery frisket away to reveal the awesomeness underneath.

The idea for this spread came into my mind because of my "Alternate Amy" project.

For those that don't know about it, I'm doing a fake journal about what my life could have been like if I had not lost someone I loved very much to suicide.  (There's a link to the most recent entry farther down in this post.)  I'm writing out diary style posts and making an art journal spread to go along with each entry...doing all of it as though it was three years ago, before my loved one killed himself.

I originally started art journaling as a way to work through my grief.  Ok...that's not exactly true...  At first, I just thought it might be a way to take my mind off of what had happened...even just for a minute.  I needed to find something I hadn't done before...something I would have to concentrate on.  In other words, I was looking for an escape...but then I found out what a relief art journaling was.  I could put things down on the page and leave them there.  I inadvertently found a way to work through the grief...and then, slowly, I found out that I could work on myself as well.  I learned who I am and have been able to move forward in ways I never thought were possible.

And so when I was thinking about doing the fake journal (what I call the Alternate Amy project), I was leery.  I worried that I might be going backwards.  I only recently got some kind of a handle on what had happened.  I just finished working through obsession with the situation...realizing I was obsessed and that it wasn't healthy and taking steps to change that.  And here I was wanting to make a whole journal dedicated to him.  That seems like it should be a red flag, right?  I thought long and hard about it.  And I came to the conclusion that this is not about being obsessed.  

Next month is the anniversary of his death.  At this time of year, it's hard not to think about it...but it's not the only thing I think about.  Right now, in this moment, I need a way to honor him.  To show that he was important to me.  That I loved him and I still love him.  This project is my way of thanking him for all the things he gave me while he was here.

Life goes on, and that's a hard thing to deal with at times.  In order to live my life, I have to continue without him.  But, just because I move forward, that doesn't mean that I will ever forget who he was.  I know what he started inside of me...how much he affected my life when he was still here.  And I know that I wouldn't be at the place I'm at now if it weren't for him.  That's a huge part to play in someone's life, and it deserves to be recognized.

Everything that I do on this blog is because of him.  I've done the best I can to be the best person I can  without him in my life.  I'm proud of who I've become...I've come so far.  Alternate Amy, the fake journal, that's the person I might have been if he was still in my life...in the best scenario.  The only way I can think of to honor him is to show how much farther I might be if he were still here.

And on that note, I give you the art for today's Alternate Amy entry:

"She wondered if he remembered."

You can read the journal entry HERE if you would like.  

I hope that today's post explains my mindset a little, and helps you to understand why Alternate Amy is such an important project to me.  I hope that you will follow along and see what happens in that other place, where I still have him in my life.  And I hope that, as always, my work will inspire you in some way in your own creative endeavors.  I think that if I can inspire another person, even in a small way, then I pay forward the good things that were given to me.  And that is the best way I can think of to honor the person who gave them to me in the first place.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Risk and Reward

Done with today's post over at Alternate Amy.  You can check it out HERE, or just sit back and enjoy the extreme brightness of this journal spread...Take that black and white SmashBook page!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Alternate Amy's First Journal Entry

I just finished writing the first post over at my fake journal blog, which you can read HERE, if you are interested...if not, please enjoy the art that I made to go along with the entry.

On a side note, how hot was Paul Newman?  Yowza!

Additional side note: isn't that girl silhouette the COOLEST?  My older sister sent me some a long time ago.  Her local library has a die cutting machine that you can use if you bring your own paper...how jealous am I?  (Answer: SUPER jealous!)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

This, That, And The Other

For Journal 52 this week (read more about J52 HERE), the prompt was to create your own garden in your journal.  My take on that was to draw the flowers I am seeing around me this time of year.  And here's what I made:

'Quite Contrary'  ...this is definitely opposite of the noisy pages I've been making lately...

One of my goals this year was to work on more realistic sketches...and I think this counts as practice.  I love this style of white space filled pages, and I really need to make more of them...they make my eyeballs happy!

For Documented Life this week (read more about DL HERE), the prompt was to write your name and embellish it.  I did write my name...kinda sorta...but I embellished it with a drawing that worked a little better for me instead:

I did embellish the page...just not my name...

This is my name, which is on the other side of the flap:

That's my name written in Runes...if I were a Viking, that's what'd be on my checks...
My husband is of Norwegian descent, so the idea of check-writing-Viking Sweets is not too far off...
Now all I need is a helmet with horns and one of those pointy-boob metal bustier thingies and I'll be set!

Here's the close-up of the right page:

"Put on your big girl panties and deal with it?  HA!  You silly thing...all I own are big girl panties!  So why don't you go deal with that?"

I am really happy with my sketchy self-portrait!  I don't know why, but I never draw blubbery girls, even though I am, in fact, a blubbery girl!  I love this sketch though, and I plan on making more girls who have more meat on them...there's just more of us to love, honey! :)

And finally, I have rolled this over and over in my head, and finally decided to start a fake journal.  I've made a second blog to accommodate it, because...well...because it just doesn't belong here.  Hopefully, you will see a difference between what happens there and what happens here.  If you'd like to follow along with it, you'll have to follow it separately from this blog.  

I will be posting the art that goes along with the entries here (along with a link to that day's entry), at least for the time being...but like I said, it's going to be (hopefully) different from what I do here so I won't be forcing all that on you...  

So I introduce to you THE ALTERNATE LIFE OF AMY.

And on that note, I'm out...I'm pretty sure I'm going to be late for work now, but hey...priorities...am I right?