Talking about my practice

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This is a visual journal entry I completed a few months ago while continuing with my Creative Facilitator Training with Lisa Sonora

22/04/2017

It feels weird coming back to DOP ( Dreaming on Paper) after two years absence. I’ve tried to do it again but just didn’t get into it. But now I’m doing the Facilitator Training, it seems important to get back in. I need to post to the group.

Yes I’m skipping through at a pace as I still do the techniques I learnt back then but it’s good to be refreshed on the techniques I haven’t done in a while -like the stamping as well as the textured page, the wallpaper and marbled effect. I haven’t used a wet one in a while or the stripped effect so it’s good to do this and to not feel any fear but be comfortable with it – like second nature.

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So yes weird but also reassuring that a lot of the habits and techniques have stayed and also how far I have developed since the beginning with flaps* and stuff, and extensions and tearings and pockets and stuff. I’m proud of myself I am, of my progress and practice. I’ve come a long way in the journey and I’m still on it. Thank God.’


*flaps = additional pages added to the journal, see visual journalling post for further explanation.


Technique:

The journals I use most frequently are the Pink Pig pads. I usually pick these up in town, not online, bought three at a time because there is usually a discount on them and they definitely have more pages in.

I prepare my pages with paint ahead of the time I want to use them. So when a journal is coming to the end, I start prepping the next one with paint, so it’s ready with no breaks in between.

I pick the colours that are calling to be at the time. Here for this page the dominate colour is bright orange. I use ready mixed paints, craft paints, kids paint and start with just one drop of paint in the middle of the page. I smear it across the blank page with a disused credit card. I love this part. The spread of colour makes me happy. A simple task, a simple pleasure but oodles of fun.

I’ve gone on to add pink and blue to the orange after this. Using the same credit card for each colour, sometimes all paint rubbed off before a new colour is introduced and sometimes not. I’m not doing this to be neat, to cover away all the white of the page. I like my smearing of paint to be quick and messy.

Sometimes I do right up the edges sometimes not. I prepare three double spread pages at a time and then leave them to dry, sketchbook open with a paint bottle propped between the pages either side so they don’t stick together.

Once dried, I can write on it. Gel pen was used here but ball point pen works just as well. Here I’ve added images of nature and travel and adventure at the bottom of the page. I use glue sticks. I’m not loyal to any particular brand either as long as it does the sticking. These were cut from a tourist leaflet about visiting Scotland.

The images I select usually tie in with what I’m writing, they talk to each other. While sometimes they don’t and this might because I’ve skipped ahead in my journal and stuck in some images to break up the page already. But all the images I include I love, I have an emotional connection to. I’ll talk more about that in another post.

After the writing, I return to the page and use the leaf shaped stamp. See what I did there? I wrote in this journal example about the techniques I haven’t been using in a while and rubber stamping was one of them. I rectified that here.

Visual Journalling

 

[[Method:  A double page spread in journal. First covered in paints, a mixture of colours are smeared across the page with a disused credit card. Once dry,  images that take my fancy are stuck on along with text gathered from magazines. Then selected pages from the novel, The Girl Who Fell From The Sky – Heidi Durrow , are cut up to create something new, a poem. My handwriting can be seen added also with black ink, asking the question, why keep a creative sketchbook?]]
 

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.

You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. …No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.

—Martha Graham, from The Life and Work of Martha Graham

 

What is my visual journalling? Why keep a creative sketchbook? What does it mean to me?

Visual journalling is a practice which I started two years ago taking inspiration from Lisa Sonora’s online course, Dreaming on Paper. 
My visual journal is my method, my way of remaining open to the life force, that creative energy that flows through me. When I enter my journal with paint, image and text, I am acknowledging to myself that I am paying attention to me.

Many moons ago I was introduced to Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages. Taken from The Artist’s Way , this is three pages of long hand writing as soon as I wake up in the morning. This is me getting whatever is in my head; worries, feeling, thoughts, moans and groans onto the page. Once out of my head, there is space for the good stuff to come through. My writing. My creations. My dreams.

 

[[ Method: A double page spread of added pages to customise my journal. Extra pages are created from full pages torn from magazines and then cut down if needs be to fit being stuck in with glue or sticky tape.  This creates an extra flap of space. Then it’s covered with lined paper, to write on and then covered with coloured tissue paper to add texture and sound. Cut out text, ‘flow’, added from magazine also.]]
 

Two years ago, my Morning Pages were not enough. Words had become my enemy, they were tricky and taboo. I was afraid of the blank page. It also become evident, that when I did write, the words themselves on the page where not enough. I wasn’t feeling the joy I once felt from just writing. My soul wasn’t being filled with light or colour. Everything seemed flat and lifeless.

While on holiday in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, relaxing away from it all, I found the space to play. Taking Lisa’s course enabled me to break through barriers and fears. I started listening to my instinct instead of adhering to any external rules and I began to smear paint on the blank page.  Red, yellow, orange, blue. Any colour that took my fancy, mixed with others. This movement of colour inspired me.  Loosened me up. Gave me permission to start feeling I was enough. I was ready then to add my dreams, plans, wishes,  and worries also to the page but it felt safe. I felt safe by getting more and more in touch with my internal voice. With my authentic self.

Mixing paint, colours, images, photography, words, quotes within my journal means I’m listening and observing, paying attention to what is pulling my soul, what is calling me to bring to life. What needs to sing?

I could not think of my life without my visual journalling now. I am completing my Creative Journey Facilitator Training  with Lisa Sonora at the moment, so that I can go deeper into this process as well as practice the tools and skills I’ll need to share my love of visual journalling with others. I’m so excited about taking this next step.

 

[[ Method: Paper cut up from Women Who Run With The Wolves – Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Looking to create a new text from the words. Pasted text on to a magazine image of wildflowers. ]]

Dreaming of Iceland

I’ve started a portfolio for Iceland. It seems an age since I was last there, but I am making plans to return. Bubbling under the surface of everything else that is happening in my life, is the body memory of how I felt while I was there. How I felt I opened up like blossom  to who I really was inside. That I thrived on the silence and solitude and the beauty of the landscape. Some how the serenity and honesty of the landscape, reflected something inside me. I recognised myself there, and I want to capture that feeling again as well as replicate it here, in my every day life.

How is the question?
I need to return to find out.