For International Fake Journal Month 2010 I bound a journal with dark papers which, as you can see by the title below, is being filled with useful spells and unspells. I say that in passive voice because it is an alternate Jana who is filling it, one with great wisdom and special skills.
The papers I used to cover the book board is made of some kind of bark I think. It was in the special paper drawer at Dick Blick. Here is the full spread of the Elephant Hat spell page:
In case you’re wondering when one might need such a spell, it recently came in handy for me. At my day job I was used to changing hats constantly, putting on the desktop publishing hat, then the finance hat, swapping that with the web-work hat, then the customer relations hat, database, marketing, etc. Such is life in a small non-profit during difficult financial times.
But then the hats got sticky and I couldn’t get them off; I was wearing all the hats all the time. And one morning I noticed that one of the hats had a huge, heavy elephant on it. I was sinking fast. I needed help. I tried the Elephant Hat Removal Spell. Then I asked nicely.
I got the help I needed: Half of those hats have been handed off and my schedule has been reduced to half time. The elephant disappeared and the hats are now a comfortable fit—when worn one at a time.
I had to make my morning coffee with the last drops of non-fat milk (yuck, 1% is OK but non-fat in coffee just doesn’t cut it) and there were no peaches or milk for my Cheerios. A trip to the market couldn’t be put off. But I had a full day of experiments in the studio planned and I needed some exercise. Easy solution:
take the long way around, up and down big hills, to my favorite grocery store, El Cerrito Natural Grocery (cardio)
sketch the market using the cobalt Copic Multiliner I wanted to experiment with (I think I prefer the sepia)
carry groceries home in a loaded backpack plus another full bag (weight lifting)
add colored pencil to the sketches to try out the new Polychromos colored pencils (LOVE THEM!)
I’m trying to simplify my choices with my art supplies, wanting to narrow down the pens, ink, pencils and colored pencils to keep handy and those I’ll give away. I did tests today on drawing pencils, sepia liquid inks and sepia pens and will post them and my preferences tomorrow.
I’m also working on painting a grid of 16 different acrylic painting techniques to improve my understanding of acrylic techniques and possibilities. It became clear this was needed when I started a series of paintings in acrylic and realized I didn’t have the “chops” to accomplish what I wanted. I was trying to use oil painting techniques and was getting nowhere fast (and ruining brushes with all the scrubbing I was doing with them which seemed the only way to get the smooth transitions I wanted).
Each medium has its own capabilities and pitfalls. Why not make good use of the characteristics of the media instead of trying to force it to be something it’s not? Despite people claiming acrylic can be used like oils and like watercolor, I’m going to try to learn to use it like acrylics instead and have fun with all the crazy stuff it can do. This series of large paintings wants to be in acrylic and so it shall, and soon I hope.
It’s not what you might think, based on the above work in progress. It’s that I finally started the series of paintings that I’d been waiting on for over a year. I hadn’t realized it, but I was waiting for the painting to tell me how to paint it (see below about intuition and broccoli).
I’m just having so much fun with the series and haven’t wanted to use time I have for painting being on the computer. Also I wasn’t sure if I was ready to post what I’m working on yet. I’m also not sure how much I want to share about each painting and the series as a whole, except to say that it’s sort of auto- and bio- graphical, about the men who’ve played a role in my life, hence the title of the series: “Lovers, Mongrels and Curs.”
This painting is the first in the series and it is still a work in progress; a little sketchy but I like it that way and may just leave it…or not.
I followed the saying, “If you don’t know what to do, just wait until you do,” instead of forcing the start of the series. It just took some down time to conceptualize how the series needed to be painted and for the ideas to bubble up (literally: I was on vacation, lying on my back on the deck of my little, private, open-roofed, hot-tub room at Albany Sauna, watching the clouds float by overhead while the hot tub bubbled beside me when it came to me that the series needed to be painted large, in acrylic.)
I wanted to work on two paintings simultaneously, side by side on the wall so first thought of using gessoed paper or unstretched canvas, finally settling on stretched canvases. But how to hang them?
Using Velcro to Hang Canvases on the Wall for Painting
After some brainstorming I found an easy way to mount two canvases side by side on the wall without harming the wall or making holes with nails.
I applied a few strips of Velcro along the top rail of my 36×48″ metal framed bulletin board already hanging on that wall (the cork is covered by a sheet of paper pinned to it). Then I measured and matched the other half of the Velcro strips to the backs of the canvases and stuck them together. To stabilize the canvases a bit I put a few large push pins along the bottom and sides. It’s working great!
“There’s an old Mel Brooks routine, on the flip side of the ‘2,000-Year-Old-Man,’ where the psychiatrist tells his patient, ‘Listen to your broccoli, and your broccoli will tell you how to eat it.’ And when I first tell my students this, they look at me as if things have clearly begun to deteriorate. But it as important a concept in writing as it is in real life.
It means, of course, that when you don’t know what to do…you get quiet and try to hear that still small voice inside. It will tell you what to do. The problem is that so many of us lost access to our broccoli when we were children. When we listened to our intuition when we were small and then told the grown-ups what we believed to be true, we were often either corrected, ridiculed, or punished. God forbid that you should have your own opinions or perceptions–better to have head lice.
. . . So you may have gotten in the habit of doubting the voice that was telling you quite clearly what was really going on. It is essential that you get it back.
. . . Get your confidence and intuition back by trusting yourself, by being militantly on your own side.
. . . Get your intuition back and make space for it, when you stop the chattering of the rational mind. The rational mind doesn’t nourish you. . . Rationality squeezes out much that is rich and juicy and fascinating.
. . . If you don’t know which way to go, keep it simple. Listen to your broccoli. Maybe it will know what to do. Then, if you’ve worked in good faith for a couple of hours but cannot hear it today, have some lunch.”