Weirdo Cupid

In keeping with Valentine’s Day, this week’s Colour Me Positive art journal prompt was the word “heart” and the idea of putting one’s whole heart into things we commit to.  This week I decided to ignore the quotation prompt and instead focus on the challenge which was to use collage.  With Valentine’s Day and hearts and collage scuttering and flittering around in my mind, I came up with the idea of making a weirdo cupid figure in my journal.

I thought collage would be a nice break from all my illustrations I have been producing recently and so it proved to be.  I just plucked some pages from a magazine, including an advert with a female face, and cut shapes out and placed them on the page.  The wings are from a gelli print on deli paper and they are silver.  Excluding drying time, this whole collage probably took me no more than 20 minutes.  Keeping it quick, easy and simple also kept it fun.  Since the loves of my life – Mr Pict and the Pictlings – are all gloriously nerdy weirdos, I enjoyed creating this random wee weirdo in my art journal.

7 - Hearts & Collage - Art Journal Page

Layers of my Heart

This week’s Life Book lesson was taken by Tamara Laporte.  The idea of the lesson was to reflect on the things we are most grateful for in life and represent those on a series of hearts which would be pinned together to form a sort of fanned book.  We then had to make a background with a concertina envelope in which to store the hearts.

It was almost like a plenary lesson in some ways as we were encouraged to use a range of mixed media techniques in order to create variety in the hearts.  I decided to make five hearts for no other reason than the fact that that was how many I could cut from my larger sheets of watercolour paper so I had to come up with four things I was most grateful for – since the fifth heart acts as the cover.

Week 10 - Layers of my Heart - Hearts

I asked my husband to pick his favourite from all of the hearts that I made in order to determine which would be the front cover.  The one he chose had been decorated with washi tape.  I used watercolour with finger painting and spatter for another heart, adopting the technique learned from the Jar of Favourites lesson.  I then glued a photo of my kids to that heart.  I used a page from an old dictionary for another heart.  I used a page with the word “husband” on it so that I could clip out that definition and add it to the collage.  I then added a photo of my husband and myself.

Week 10 - Layers of my Heart - Husband and Kids

The other two hearts both made use of Dylusions ink sprays.  One was simply two colours of spray that bled into each other in the centre.  I used that one to represent my family and friends who live far and near.  I used the globe image from a postage stamp for added interest.  The other heart was covered with stamped ink to create a pattern and then sprayed with a single colour of ink.  It was really difficult to settle on one particular thing for the final heart.  There are so many things I am grateful for.  I decided, therefore, to keep it quite broad and generic by having it represent all of the opportunities I have been given and might yet me given in future:

Week 10 - Layers of my Heart - Family & Friends and Opportunities

I used Dylusions ink sprays again for the background and envelope but this time it all went a bit pear-shaped.  I thought the yellow and green would work well together.  Neighbours on the colour wheel, colours of spring, the colour of leaves as Autumn arrives – but sadly also the colours of day old bruises.  Oh dear.  The lemon zest and dirty martini inks bled together to form a sludgy mossy colour that truly resembled nothing more than an old bruise.  Yuck.  Another lesson learned.  And I also learned that I completely suck at spraying through stencils.  Oh dear.  Again I was reminded that all mistakes are part of the learning process so I determined to use the sprayed paper regardless.  I stamped the title of the lesson on the top of the page and a trio of hearts on the concertina envelope.

Week 10 - Layers of my Heart - Envelope

Another week done and I am still managing to keep to the class schedule.  Yippee!

Home is Where the Heart is

This week’s Documented Life Project prompt was to incorporate a map of “your state or the world” and document something on that map.  Luckily, a few months ago, when doing my usual poking around in thrift stores, I had purchased a world atlas for 50 cents.  I, therefore, actually had the materials I needed.  Furthermore, I immediately had an idea of what I wanted to create, a little flash of an image skimming across my mind’s eye, which was a welcome contrast to the previous few weeks when I have been scratching my head for a bit.  I decided to use the map to document the fact I am “between belonging” right now as an immigrant, ensconced as I am as a resident of America but very much still feeling my Scottishness and connection to my homeland pulling on my heart strings.

I used a template to cut out two birds from two different maps: one of Pennsylvania, with the Philadelphia area being prominent around the bird’s head; and the other of Scotland, though actually it was of most of the British isles since that land mass was small enough in the atlas to fit.  I suppose that is appropriate since I have lived in three different locations in Scotland and have also lived in England for a while.  I chose the bird shape not just because I have become a tad obsessed with birds this past year but also because they represented migration.  I created the background using gelatos.  I have a love-hate relationship with gelatos: I love their creaminess and the rich vibrancy of the pigment but I cannot seem to get them to go onto the paper as smoothly as I have seen on tutorial videos.  Instead they still have a bit of a rough scribbly quality at places in the mark-making and I have to then deploy a faithful baby wipe in order to spread the colour across the page.  I used two shades of blue and a mid-green to represent the ocean between my places and the colours on the globe.  The green was used on a practical level to outline and thus highlight the shapes I was collaging onto the page.  I then added some strips of glittery green washi tape just because it supported the green outlining and because it was glittery.  I cut a love heart out of a map scrap which happened to contain the words “Atlantic Ocean” and then several smaller hearts out of US and UK postage stamps, again suggesting that idea of migration, travel, journey.  I also used two air mail stickers just because they chimed with the theme of the page and also it’s colour scheme.

Visually my page was communicating my sense of “not belonging”, of being between two locales.  I have yet to find my place here in America so I still feel rather discombobulated by how alien things are, by my difference and otherness, by all the little things I do not know, by how unfamiliar things are that I used to take for granted back home in Britain.  However, bizarrely and conversely, I do feel at home here.  I feel settled enough on a domestic, family level now – especially having bought a place to call home – that I do now feel at home here in Pennsylvania.  Ultimately that is because the cliche is a truism: home is where the heart is.  Ultimately I belong wherever my husband and kids are.  That, therefore, became the sentiment that I stamped across my page.

So my DLP art journal page this week is really about the push and pull of where I am at as an immigrant, as a wife and mother, as a Scot living as part of the diaspora in America; my page is about that tension between not belonging yet feeling at home.  Hopefully I have managed to convey that in the visual elements and the words on the page.

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Tree of Hearts ~ Art Journal page

The challenge for Week 25 of the Documented Life Project was to incorporate hearts.  I have some serious time management problems now that the kids are all home for the Summer break and frankly I was just lacking in inspiration.  However, looking through my 8 year old son’s school art folder finally set the creative wheels in motion.  I had wanted to do something much more mixed media this week – steering myself away from my default drawing  – and had even hoped to experiment with some new techniques.  However, it came down to some cheap children’s watercolours and black ink.

This is what I came up with:

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For something that took me under fifteen minutes start to finish I am fairly pleased with how it turned out.  I am not really one for mawkish sentiment but the quotation seemed to tie in with the image and incorporating some text helped reduce the black in the tree trunk.  I wish I had given a little more thought to composition as the branches are very near the top of the page while I have all that empty space at the bottom of the page.  That’s what happens when I rush, I suppose.

This is my 8 year old’s art work which inspired my Art Journal page.  I like it a whole lot better than my version:

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