A new month brought with it a new theme to the Documented Life Project. This month is to be all about stencils, masks and stamps. While none of these is my favourite tool to use (my fault, not the tools), I am certainly much happier with this theme than I was last month’s theme of experimenting with different paper substrates. This week was all about stencils and the phrase prompt was “On the edge of uncertainty…what are you afraid of?” Well, I am kind of afraid of stencilling so that’s a happy coincidence.
I am sure I have many of the same deep, primal and natural fears that most people have, such as losing a loved one or outliving one’s children. However, journaling is escapism and decompression for me; I don’t really want to use it to explore those dark recesses of my mind. I have two phobias – heights and clowns, three or four if you add in my fear of mime artists and those people who dress up as statues – but drawing clowns in my art journal would be like some sort of horrible therapy exercise. No. So then I thought about another sort of fear that I experience, a fear that manifests from the negative chatter in my head, the inner critic, my high expectations of myself that are often dashed. They could all be summed up in one question that nags me all the time, plagues me and nips at my heels: Am I good enough?
Necessity made me work at this page intuitively so I was facing another “fear” of mine because I feel like I fail more often than I succeed when I try to work without any sort of plan or vision. Long time readers of my blog will notice that I defaulted to my standbys of dribble and spatter to get some colour onto the page. Then it was time to deploy the stencil. I suck at stencilling, as you may have noted. I never get anything approximately a clear, crisp edge or consistent application. What I get is blobby mess. I used a large arrow stencil thinking that perhaps the larger spaces would give me a better result. Nope. I still bodged it. I also think the white was a bit light and didn’t provide enough of a contrast though, on the other hand, it also means that the stencilling is not so prominent. Then I used black paint to freehand draw a face and added some paint pen and Inktense to the eyes and mouth to make those pop. Finally, I stamped the phrase “Am I good enough?” to complete the page.
So is my art journal page “good enough?” Yes. It falls short of being great or any other superlative but it’s certainly good enough. It fulfils the brief and works as a page overall even if some elements (hello stencilling) are lacking. Good enough is all that is required in my art journal anyway. Compared to being “good enough” at parenting or being a “good enough” person, I think producing a good enough art journal page is small beer. So no nagging inner critic over this page. The inner critic is too busy hassling me over those bigger issues.