Sunday, January 3, 2016

Wondering About Life and the Road Not Taken

"Wondering" journal page with words added
The recent holidays were kind of a dry spell artistically. My few journal pages that I had time for looked blah. Looked safe. Looked okay. But they lacked the spark, the feeling that you get in a creative moment, or creative streak, when you feel inspired, when you try new things, when experiments work beautifully and even the messes are kind of good.

A few new supplies from The Ink Pad were just what I needed to kick-start my 2016 art journaling. Some Julie Fei-Fan Balzer stamps caught my eye, so they came home with me. A stamp of eyes from a famous painting spoke to me, and they too came home. Some paint, some stamp pads and a new white signo pen, and I was revved up and ready to experiment.

I started by testing the stamps on brown paper bags to see how they looked, and rotating them to form patterns--well, I am, at heart, a textile designer so making repeating patterns is second nature. The Balzer stamps are kind of like what I would carve if I had time, a big studio, and an undamaged shoulder. And of course skill at detailed carving...which I kind of don't have.

I ended up with 4 or 5 new pages in my journal. On the last page, I combined a stamp of the eyes, and added part of a Jane Davenport stencil for the rest of the face. I pulled out my watercolors and randomly added color. At the bottom, I used leftover strips of painted deli paper and some of the experiments with the new Balzer stamps, along with some recycled washi tape (from an envelope).

"Wondering" before the words were added
I thought I was done, but the page seemed to be missing something. The next day I added words that came to me as I looked at the page. It made me wonder what my life would have been like if, at any point, I had taken an different fork in the road. I realized that I probably would have ended up at the same place. Art, and wanting to be an artist--more than  anything--drove me. New York was like a magnet, and I couldn't imaging living anywhere else. I couldn't live with myself if I had never tried to be an artist, and never come to New York.

Probably some details would have been different. I might have gone to a different college. I might have taken different classes, had different teachers, different friends. But the big things I needed to do, the big life lessons that needed to be learned and experience...I am guessing would have been the same. We don't get a do over in life. In art, sometimes. The beauty of doing digital design is that you can save something, duplicate it, and then experiment of the copy. If you don't like it, you can delete it. Life has no command Z. Journaling is more like life--you can paste over, repaint, cut out something you don't like, even cut up the whole design. But you still never get back to the blank page exactly as it was. It stops some people from experimenting. Sometimes it stops me, but when something is really important, when an idea is really driving me, I work through the fear of failure and push ahead.

New stamps that sparked my creativity

No comments: