This week’s Life Book lesson continued on the theme of being present in the moment and working more intuitively. The playfulness of that was expressed through the concept of the “inner child”, of being as free and easy with creativity as a child would be. I was minded of the Picasso quotation, “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child”.
The first element of the lesson was a video from Andrea Schroeder about being present in order to find your own individual, authentic creative voice. Complementing this and expanding upon it, the second, practical element of the lesson was a tutorial by Kristin Van Valkenburgh. The idea was to create a page that almost symbolised a conversation between the adult artist and their inner child. We were actually instructed to incorporate a letter written by our child selves to our current selves. I, however, decided to adapt that a bit because I am not so keen on including reflective writing in my art work and the exercise seemed too much like therapy for my personal taste so instead I included a photograph of me taken when I was about six. That way the two photographs built into the page became a visual representation of that dialogue between the adult self and the inner child.
The idea was to create a fairly monochromatic surface with lots of texture created through using a palette knife and different layering techniques such as stenciling and stamping. My top layer got a bit sludgy and grubby looking. The turquoise I chose to mix in with it – because it worked with the photo I selected – went drab when worked in with the greys. This top layer then contained a door through to an under layer that was brightly coloured and playful. The two layers, therefore, were the two selves and the door was the communication between the two. The whole piece reminded me of Dorothy opening the door of her black and white Kansas home and finding glorious technicolor Oz beyond the threshold.
I am not sure how aesthetically pleasing this piece is but I did unleash my inner child, pack away my control freakery, and just mess around with the materials so in that at least I was successful.