Just Be Kind

This week’s Documented Life Project challenge was to combine the previous three weeks’ challenges: stamps, stencils and masks.  The quotation prompt was one from Henry James:  “Three things in human life are important.  The first is to be kind.  The second is to be kind.  And the third is to be kind.”  When watching the news at present, it is difficult to see much kindness in the world but I like to think that the sentiment of James’ words are true.  If we want to affect change then we can all start by individually striving to respond to others with tolerance, compassion and kindness.  Maybe small gestures have a ripple effect.

I wanted to illustrate that idea in my art journal, the notion that small changes in individual behaviour can be a seed that germinates and grows.  I, therefore, used stencils and a mask – an oval blob I surrounded with thick black paint – to create a little pod person, a seed to grow in the darkness.  I then used stamps to add the words “Just be kind”.  A simple message for a simple idea and a simple page.

Week 48 - Stencils, stamps & Masks - Just Be Kind

Go Your Own Way

In order to catch up with the Documented Life Project challenges, I decided to combine two together.  The challenges involved using a hand carved stamp and using masks.  I used the gelli plate to construct a background in my journal page.  I cut some chunky, wiggly lines from cardboard and used those as masks on the gelli plate to print on to a page collaged with text pages.  By moving them around on the gelli plate with each change of colour, I achieved some nice layering.  That gave me some water.  Next I needed the fish.  I had some scraps of lino so I used those to carve two fish stamps.  Using block printing ink and a baren, I printed one fish – different from the rest – swimming in a different direction from the rest of the shoal.  I was thinking about the need for each person to find their own way in life, the importance of not just following the herd (or shoal) but making informed and active decisions instead, of celebrating non-conformity, of how life is richer because of diversity and difference.  Maybe I should have added a quotation to make the message explicit but I like to think the image, for all its simplicity, conveys the ideas well enough.

Week 46 & 47 - Stamps & Masks