Friday, June 1, 2018

Layering Up

I have a very sporadic practice of working in my art journal. I get so put off by the blank white paper. Lately, I've been fairly regular about sketching and painting and cutting and pasting. Truly, if I had to choose, I would say that cutting up my old papers and pasting them into my art journal in layers and layers and layers is really my favorite. It's comfortable. 9 times out of 10 I'm happy with the outcome.

Oh, but I want more! Haha, don't we all? I want to be a painter. Or, more accurately, I want to be someone who paints. You might be saying to yourself, "well, Tammy, what's the difference?" For me, it's this: I have creative ADD, meaning there are so many things I like to do, and so many media I love to work with, and many others I'd like to try. So, to box myself in as a "painter" or a "quilter" or a "basketweaver" or whatever seems to seize me up. I freeze. I can't get going. I've done a healthy amount of self-analysis on this situation (and many others, let's just say it out loud). What I've been able to figure out is that I can't put all of my creative eggs into one artsy-fartsy basket.

Maybe you can relate. My suspicion is that I'm not the only artist out there who feels this way. We need freedom! We need to be able to spread our wings! We need to be able to slap some paint on the page one minute, and then tear up a vintage trolley ticket and glue it right over that page. And then dry brush some more paint over that. Then draw a few doo-dads and add some curlicues here and there.

Are you with me on this?

So, I'm taking a whole new approach to my art journal. First of all, I've deemed it as just for me. I don't have to show it to anyone (unless I am really digging a spread and want to share it with the world - haha). My art journal is a personal space for me to experiment, try new things, see what layers work best together (for me), figure out my favorite way to get things down on those pages.

It may come as no surprise to those of you out there who are light years ahead of me in your creative journey that I feel I've been born again! I have a spread in my current journal that I absolutely hate, and another one that I'm so in love with I can't believe it actually came from my hands. The beauty is that it's just paint and paper and I can layer more on top of that dreadful spread until it says, "oh yes, atta girl, this is so much better". I have shut down that noisy inner critic who in the past would needle the hell out of me until I'd slam my art journal shut, head to the kitchen to make chocolate chip cookie dough, and eat it by the spoonful.
No more! My art journal and I now enjoy a healthy symbiosis: I have a much more laid back approach, and my art journal has ceased to hold the power of perfection over me. I love my wonky pages, I love the wabi sabi-ness of how the paint behaves one way on the blank page and an entirely different way on an old cabinet photo. I love (okay, tolerate) my pages-gone-wrong, and delight in those pages that make me say, "hey, I am totally digging this one". And although I do still enjoy a big spoonful of cookie dough from time to time, I'm having much more fun in my art journal these days.

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