The Story of my Life Week 1

Greetings my lovely lamb chops!

Let me get straight to the point:  I doubt myself.  A lot.  Like, a lot.  I am in a constant state of “am I doing this right?” “Am I growing?” “Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing?”  “Am I half-assing it?”

Sort answer, no, no, no, yes.

This has been a hard realization for me this week when it comes to this whole art journaling thing – I’m not doing my best.  I’m keeping up with weekly pages for Journal52, and that’s something to be proud of – sometimes having a deadline is the only thing keeping me from binge-watching Heroes instead of working.

When it comes to the art, though, I’m not FEELING it.  And it’s driving me a little batty.  Now that the studio madness is completely done (got Internet yesterday, woo!), it’s time to get my head back in the game.

As my lovely friend Heidi said this morning, “You feel like your head and heart aren’t aligned with your spirit.”  Yes.  Not exactly how I would have put it, but yes.  I probably would have added some F-bombs at the very least, but, hey, she nailed it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made some nice stuff, some stuff that makes me laugh, some stuff that pushed me over a hump technique-wise.  I just haven’t made a lot of stuff that has that spirit connection in it.  And I’ve gotten away from the things that got me to start art journaling in the first place – the Chronicles stuff.  I feel like I’m three spreads away from “Live, Laugh, Love” and that is SO not what I want my practice to be about.  In my mind, that’s like sitting in child’s pose for 30 minutes and calling it yoga.  No Bueno.

So this week I dug out the giant 2600-page dictionary that one of the lovely ladies at the library gifted to me that I’ve wanted to turn into an art journal.  I spent a day ripping out pages.  I spent two days gluing.  I now have THIS.

It’s enormous.  Like seriously enormous.  I will probably be working in this easily for the next decade.


SO, needless to say, I’m not going to be doing double page spreads.  Because of the thickness, I’m going to work through it doing only the right side then, once I get to the end, I’ll flip it over and work back the other way.  Eventually.

In an effort to discover what I was missing, I started trolling through Pinterest.  I looked at journal pages.  A LOT of journal pages.  I saw pages I liked, pages I was completely ambivalent about, pages I really didn’t like, and pages I loved.  Like swoon-worthy, rapid heart beat, palms sweaty loved.  I dissected them, mentally.  I broke them down.  I tried to find the thing that really turned my crank.  I think it boils down to one thing: chaos.

I looked back through my Chronicles journal and decided the pages I really like had a lot of stuff going on.  I’m not talking about multiple layers or 47 different supplies, just a lot of STUFF.  They’re almost overwhelming at first glance.  That’s what my spirit needs.  Layers of meaning.  Not necessarily just layers of stuff.

So I started working.

Since my journal52 page was due, I started there.  The prompt was Limerick.  I found a limerick I liked and typed it.  I started making a page to sort of go with it (but not really even at all.. Hahah).  I ended up with this:

I took a picture, waited for things to dry, and then kept going.  I added things.  I covered some stuff up.  I added seemingly random doodles that only make sense to me.  I added layers of chaos.  I ended up with this:

It’s better – closer to what I want.  Not there yet, but closer.  Some detail shots:

I’ve been wanting to create some new workshops, but I have been feeling so out of touch with my own artistic vision that nothing has come of it.  I’m hoping this project will get me there.  Something needs to get me there.

I also discovered the problem with having an outside studio – when these kind of things come up, I can’t do anything about them.  I need a stash of art supplies in the house, stat.  I can’t imagine lugging this journal back and forth from the studio to the house (it won’t even fit in my bike basket.  Hah!), but I definitely need to have something there so that I can sling paint when it wants to be slung.

It’s a journey.  It’s a practice.  Like yoga.  I’m learning to be both solid and flexible.  Slowly.

Here’s the YouTube video I made of this page, should you want to take a gander:

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Holy crap you guys.  This has been an amazing month.  First I won the Nobel Peace Prize for my work in animal husbandry (lie), got 14 new tattoos (also a lie), and rented my very own Big Girl studio (true!).  

It all started innocently enough.  I was out running around with my friend Heidi on May 3, and I saw this crazy awesome storefront:


We called about it, got the details, and I spent the next 24 hours dithering.  Dither dither dither.  My main issue, aside from the price, was the fact that it was in a different town about 30 minutes from my house, and I’ve been working out of my house for the past 14 years.

Dither dither dither.

The next day, I contacted my friend Howie, who is a real estate mogul (sort of a lie) and owns some buildings in town asking if he had anything to rent.  He sent me on an adventure to look at a space and gave me a super reasonable price. By adventure, I mean I had to leave my house and walk a block and then go up some stairs.  This is what I saw:

Okay I didn’t really see THAT exactly – there was more furniture in here, but CLOSE.  I saw that crazy shag carpet.  I saw peeling paint.  I saw amazing tall ceilings.  I saw SO MUCH POTENTIAL that I almost cried.  I texted him with a resounding I’LL TAKE IT and went and kidnapped my friend Trish to show her our awesome new score.  She sells crocheted goodies on Etsy and needs a place to “go to work” as much as I do.

She peed.  Right on the floor (lie).

In the midst of taking firefighter classes and living our lives, we planned.  We planned and planned.  I made lists.  SO MANY LISTS.  My inner Virgo was singing show tunes and doing the Charleston (lie.. She can’t dance for crap).

Skip forward three days, and we got to work.  Carpet came up.

Revealing MORE CARPET.  Sigh.  That carpet came up revealing…

Hardwood floors!  Along with lots of disintegrating foam, sticky strips of tape, and SO MANY NAILS AND STAPLES.

Two days, hours of sweeping, much cursing, tuberculosis (lie), and so many bags of trash later, we had this:

There were areas where the five layers of wallpaper (truth.. I counted) and three layers of paint (also truth) were peeling like a three-day-old sunburn, so that had to be scraped.  So much scraping.  Then more sweeping, cursing, and trash.

I think it was this point that the plague I was fighting settled into my lungs (and still hasn’t fully left).  We soldiered on with PAINT (I whined the whole time).

Then clouds cause I can’t seem to NOT paint clouds on a wall that isn’t white.

Once that was done, we really had nothing left to do but move in.  That only took about 7159827 days (lie).  Okay it actually took about 10 days to move things in and get them put away.  CRAZY.

I must say, I am shocked at how much CRAP I have.  I mean, really.  It’s bananas.  IT’S SO ORGANIZED NOW, though, and I have these awesome work tables that I made out of solid wood doors and kitchen cabinets:

Once the table was in, everything slid right into place.  Now things are amazing.

On Trish’s side of the room, the ceiling is covered in awesome twinkly lights.

And because Trish is awesome, she painted this amazing Ouija table for our little sitting area.

I’m so excited about this I could just pee.  I may go do that now.  If you made it this far, have a cookie or eight, you deserve it!

Just to show how much this place has meant to me, I made an actual to-do list today and actually checked three things off of it.  Or I will as soon as I’m done with this post and as soon as I figure out cold fusion (lie).

I love you (truth).


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