Where secrets live (it’s about the journey, not the destination)

Didn’t really have a direction for this piece when I started other than wanting to try some techniques I’d seen in a tutorial the other day (I spent the better portion of a morning watching various YouTube art journal tutorials. There are still several more I would like to try, but I have to figure out how to MacGyver some supplies because I just can’t afford to go out and buy them).

This piece wasn’t working out as nicely as it had for the YouTuber that posted the tutorial, but I was able to make it my own.

I picked up “purple” distress paint yesterday (woohoo for 50% off coupons and the honoring of competitor coupons). I thought it would be more purple… it’s really mauve. Oh well, live and learn. Anyway, I picked it up and got to work on the base coat. I still have to learn how to work with it better, because I wanted a different background texture but it dried too fast in some spots and way slow in others. I also have to figure out how these distress stains work with the paints. The stains come out super dark on paper, but not so much when used over the paints (should have remembered they have a “resist” effect on the stains). It’s ok though, because the stain I used muted the horrifically bright background.

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It took a bunch of digging around, but I finally landed on a decent silhouette from which to create a mask (reverse of a stencil) for the figure on the right. [Useful tip: those plastic page dividers work well for stencil-making. I would suggest ones that are slightly thicker than the ones I snagged from the dollar store though, because these are pretty floppy and flexible. Just trace or draw out your design and cut with an XActo knife]… I started by tracing around the mask with charcoal, but it didn’t stand out enough. I tried to fill with gesso, but then disliked how light it was. Finally I covered it in black paint (ahh… so much better!). By then though, I had gone outside of my lines quite a bit and it looked like the black sludge creature from the first season of ST:TN that killed Tasha Yar… yes, I’m a huge Trek geek, but that wasn’t the look I was going for. I put the mask back into place and decided to try to give the woman a “glow” (or in this case, a shadow?). I painted over the edges of the mask with am antiqued bronze color. I kinda wanted her to look like she was draining light rather than emitting it (like a black hole). Again I lost the definition of the figure, so once the paint was dry I outlined her in white charcoal. She kinda ended up with a glow, but it reminded me of backlighting, so it worked.

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I added the drips and spats. I added more washi tape (new-found appreciation for the stuff), and then I added the words. I was limited by what was on the stickers I have. It took me about 40 minutes to settle on the ones I did use, but then I ended up disliking what it said, so I covered over it. First I tried writing other words over the stickers, but I didn’t like those either. Finally, I settled on ink drops to totally obliterate the words while keeping the boxes… I kept the words inside the silhouette, but had written over them as well, then removed the writing. You can still see both the original words and my own if you look at them hard enough.

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Much playing, tweaking, and waiting-for-things-to-dry later, I ended up with this. I try to be lighter in both color and content sometimes, but it’s just not me. I also found I really am not feeling this mauve color much. I’m sure L will end up being the one to use it more than I do… branching out in my art just doesn’t work with me when it involves stepping out of my color-pallet comfort zone. Oh well.

Aside: I think I write so much about the process for these journal pages not only to remind myself it’s often a frustrating and imperfect process, but to show that, while pieces don’t always turn out the way you want, they can still end up decent. One of my biggest challenges is dropping the notion of needing “perfection” from my work. I tend to have a picture in my head that I want to create. I’m slowly becoming ok with the result being different from that picture. One of the things that the woman who teaches the journal workshops always reminds us is to just keep going. Even if you think it’s ugly, just keep adding and tweaking. Eventually you will love the result… it’s more about the process anyway.

Most artists (people) don’t admit the blunders and frustrations of the process (life), they simply show the (happy) end result. Art (life) is rarely that neat and tidy. There are lots of bumps and dips and spins along the way. Projects (goals) start out one way and end up totally different sometimes. That’s just how it goes. We need to remember that. And that it’s ok…

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