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This is the title of another of Juliana Coles‘ wonderful extreme journalism booklets on art journaling that I am currently working/playing with.   Her direction is to get to us to not necessarily produce works of art or even attractive pieces to view – it is about communication.  The approach appeals greatly to me as that is my aim, albeit not necessarily always conscious, when creating, journaling etc… thankfully I am past the ‘producing to please others’ phase for the most part although it still bites me on the bum at times.

For the first assignment the instruction was to take 30 minutes and doodle across both pages in as many media as fancied -oh yay, one of my most favourite things to do!  She says “you should be quite satisfied if this looks a complete mess when you are done” – what a great lesson in giving up control.    The next part of this was to look at it deeply – to find your inner portrait within this mess – to pull her out, allow her voice.  Can you see her?

The next exercise I found really interesting to do.  The first part was to write stream-of consciousness starting with “I think people think I’m…..”  The instruction was to write for 5 minutes, I went on until I had filled both sides of the spread.  The next part was to counter allowing ourselves to be defined by others.  To quote Juliana again, “When we allow that, we lose soul parts.”  Oh yes!   The writing was used as a background, the instruction being to create an image of self as the chosen one.  Now I wasn’t sure whether she meant in words or in imagery, so I went with my instinct remembering to preface the text each time with “I am…”:

The final exercise I have done so far started in a very familiar way, to cover both pages with scraps of text – aaah home ground, comfortable.  Um, not for long…practicing drawing was coming next!  The booklets come from workshops that Juliana holds, so given that, the instruction was to draw your partner – I was not in a workshop but at my own art table on my own, so used a mirror.  Time limit 5 minutes to draw – making a “good” drawing that looked like the person was not the point here (thankfully) – the looking was the point.  Next came drawing an item that could fit in the palm of your hand – I used an altered matchbox given to me by a friend – two different views of this were to be done.  Painting around the drawings was the next step followed by writing about what kind of artist I wished I could be….famous?…studio?….materials?  etc etc.  I was genuinely surprised and pleased with the results of this writing:

That’s it for now :).

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The next spread in the Soul Journal Journey was to create our house in a child like style – enjoyed that loads even though it falls off the bottom of the page.  The right hand side is of the flats on the other side of the green and behind the trees, which is the view from my window.  I am lucky to live where I do – almshouses which are listed buildings within a beautifully green oasis in the middle of the inner city.  A young friend visiting from Spain on her return home reported that,  “Jill lives in a park!”

We were then to collage making a pocket on the main body of the house.  As I am playing catch-up I could see what the next step was to be and this was to make paper dolls which represented our family – an interpretation of that was fine.   I am thinking to do family/relationships spreads later on perhaps – but I really didn’t want to do paper dolls.  Not meaning to offend anyone, each to their own and all that,  but it was just too cute for me – I cannot do cute.  So being who I am I did my house and surrounds but no folks.

My house actually does look like the sort a child would draw, a friend described it as looking like a fairytale house.  Here is my spread before and after collage:

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