This week’s Documented Life Project prompt was simply “stars”. I immediately thought of Van Gogh’s painting known as ‘Starry Night’, which has been one of my favourite paintings since early childhood and decided to use it as the inspiration for my Art Journal page.
I started by creating a monoprinted background using my gelli plate. I layered up a light blue paint then a mid-blue pearlescent paint in order to create a sheen and lustre to the night sky. I then added a stronger blue and dragged swirling marks through it using a pencil top eraser that I had snipped to turn it into a tiny comb. Added to the previous layers, this then became the swirling sky for my piece. Once dry – because I am learning my lessons about not rushing things – I splattered gold paint onto the background. Having enjoyed the loss of control that came with splattering and splashing to create my Autumn journal page a few weeks ago, I deployed that technique again in order to create the stars. I had so much fun splattering that I did not notice I was spraying not only all over the table but also the kitchen seats and wall. Oops. It all cleaned up OK thankfully but it took a lot of elbow grease. Another lesson learned. It created a lovely, glistering look to my page though. With the bigger blobs, I dragged a toothpick from the centre in order to create rays for the stars.
While the sky was drying, I decided to make some little houses. I followed the steps laid out in a tutorial I watched recently because the houses created by the artist looked cute and naive and I liked the collage element. I gathered together some scraps from gelli prints and also some pages from a book. The little houses were so easy to make that I was able to construct them while watching a movie. Multitasking. I ended up making way more houses than I needed but that meant I could choose the ones that worked best on my page and I also have some spare for another project. I adhered my little row of houses to the bottom of the page to be my little village nestling under the stars.
So here’s my Art Journal page inspired by Van Gogh and created to the tune of Don McLean’s ‘Starry Night’. It’s a big improvement on last week’s terrible DLP page.
This past week’s Documented Life Project challenge prompt was to make a wish list by drawing or using images from a magazine. This week really was a challenge for me since I was travelling and, therefore, had no free time and no selection of materials with me. It was also a challenge because I am not someone who maintains even a mental “bucket list”. I do have lots of hopes and aspirations and I certainly have things that I would like to do or achieve in my life but they have never organised themselves into any sort of list I can access at any given point from the dusty library shelves that are my memory. This is somewhat ironic since I am one of life’s list makers and I always have a good few lists, plus a spreadsheet, a notebook and a few To Do lists on the go. However, those are all concerned with immediate and pressing things. Wishes are pushed to the periphery, occasionally pinging to the forefront if the opportunity for fulfillment arises but otherwise just sitting dormant in the background.
All of this preamble is to explain that I had no idea how I was going to approach the Week 29 challenge. No idea at all. In a week that was very busy (lots of travel posts to come!) I had little time in which to ponder ways in which I could tackle it but then a memory bubbled to the surface. When I was teaching my students creative writing, a way to get the youngest ones (aged 11) to break free of concern about rhythm and rhyme when writing poetry was to get them to write a shape poem so that their focus was simply on choosing appropriate words and phrases to describe the form they had chosen. If that was my way of busting my students out of a rut, perhaps it could be my way of breaking out of a block.
Wishes make me think of stars. It’s a cliche but cliches are a useful shorthand and I needed shortcuts this week so stars it was. I drew stars on my page in pencil and then used a black gel pen to write about my wishes, just letting them flow around the shapes as they formed in my mind. No over-thinking. No labouring over choices. No prioritising or worrying about the merit of some wishes. If they entered my head at that precise moment in time then they were committed to ink. I found I had rather a large white area around the page as I had clustered all of my star shapes in the centre of the page so I thought of the old nursery rhyme ‘Star Light, Star Bright’ – familiar to many because of ‘Pinnochio’ – and scribbled that around the edge of the page to create a text border. I probably mangled the quotation since I didn’t take the time to check but the sentiment was clear.
So I accomplished the challenge withing the allotted time frame even if I was not very creative or artistic in doing so. Just in time for next week’s challenge.
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