Dare to be different

Dare to be differentHello friends

Week four of my return to blogland and I need to tell you that I am going offline completely again for at least a couple of weeks.  I just need to get away from all the noise on the internet.

The past month has been quite challenging on a national and global scale: there was the UK referendum, I was devastated by the result.  I know that I was in the minority and accept that we will be leaving the EU, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I know that everyone voted for the best of reasons so all I can do is hope that I’m wrong and things won’t get as bad as I feel they will.

After the referendum it got even crazier with David Cameron, our PM, resigning and other crazy things going on.  So now we have a new PM, Theresa May, I have to say I hate her politics, but I do have a grudging admiration for her, she’s a strong woman and, let’s face it, slightly better than any of the alternatives – Andrea Leadsom, a woman I’d never heard of before but came across as a right-wing loon – Boris Johnson, professional buffoon and lier – Michael Gove, who went against his word and stabbed his friend in the back in order to further his own political career (fortunately it backfired on him).  I’m really not sure why Thersa May has put Boris Johnson in as Foreign Secretary and made us a laughing stock of the world though!  It might have something to do with the fact that she didn’t want us to leave the EU and he lied to persaude people to vote Brexit, so he can deal with the consequences, I don’t know.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party, the main party of opposition in the UK is pulling itself apart because the vast majority of the membership elected Jeremy Corbyn, a progressive socialist, as leader last year.  Most of the Labour MPs don’t like him or his policies, and rather than accepting that they should be representing the views of the membership have tried their hardest to get him to resign or oust him by other means.  This means there will be another leadership election in September.  There have been all sorts of shenanigans going on in their attempt to rig the election.  I am really hoping they fail because Corbyn is the first politician in many years who has made me think that change for the better might actually be possible.  I joined the Labour Party in July to support Corbyn, but a few days later the National Executive Committee changed the rules saying that only people who had already been members for 6 months could vote unless people registered and paid £25 in order to be able to vote in the election.  After thinking long and hard about this I paid the £25 and it’s just been confirmed that I can now vote.

Of course between now and the election ‘they’ are going to try and discredit Corbyn by any means, but he is such a dignified, calm and reasoned man, he refuses to get involved in personal mud-slinging and just states his case quietly and calmly – that it’s about people.  ‘They’ keep saying he is not electable and he’s too left wing but maybe that’s what we need right now?  For the past 20 years or so it has been difficult to vote in general elections for me because I couldn’t see much difference between the two main parties, but I think Corbyn could provide me with the choice I’ve been looking for.  We’ll see.

There is other madness going on in the world too – Trump being nominated as the Republican candidate for the US president against Hilary Clinton for the Democrats!  And all sorts of attacks on ordinary people going on in Nice, Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, etc. etc.  It’s all getting a bit too much to bear, so I just need to get away from the noise and calm myself down for a while.  I’m going to be off-line for another couple of weeks or so, but I will be back.

In the meantime I’m sharing another page from my small 6″ by 9″ journal.  This page was finished between April and June last year.

And here is a comparison between the ‘just collage’ stage with the completed page:

Page 11 before and after

That’s all for now folks, enjoy your summer and I’ll see you in a few weeks time.  In the meantime take good care of yourselves.

Big love

AJ xxx

 

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2016 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Stingray

SringrayHello friends

Well here we are week three of my return to blogland and already I’m slipping with the posting!

I meant to post something yesterday but it was sunny (actual real summer sunny) and I was busy doing other stuff.

I haven’t got much to say at the moment so here is a page from my small 9″ by 6″ journal, this page was completed in April 2015 just as I was coming to the end of my cancer treatment.  It’s a strange page about a stingray.  Ever since Steve Irwin was killed by a stingray people have been scared of them, but they are really beautiful and gentle creatures and if you are lucky enough to go swimming in an area where a stingray lives, it is going to come and check you out.  It won’t attack you (unless you surprise or hurt it) but it will swim all around you and come up close to see what you are up to.  It’s a truly incredible thing to experience and I’m lucky that it has happened to me on more than one occasion.

Anyway here is the page with just the collage and then with the penwork:

Before and afterLook after yourselves and I’ll see you soon.

Big love

AJ xxx

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2016 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Going Bigger

Mondomix

Hello Friends

I hope all is good with you.

I am trying to get back into regular blogging again so the image above is a project I worked on earlier in the year and completed in May.

For some time I have been wanting to work on bigger pieces and not solely in journals, but I wasn’t sure how things would work out so I didn’t want to waste money purchasing big canvases and expensive paints.  Where I work we often get large and heavy items of equipment delivered in rough made crates, usually made of plywood.  The crates just sit around in the yard and deteriorate until someone eventually decides to dispose of them.  Often the equipment is not used for a while so it all sits outside and crate deteriorates in the rain and weather.  Late last year I found an empty crate still in good condition with a lid that measured about 2′ by 3′.  The lid had a rough frame of wood on the back that stopped the ply from warping, so I asked if I could take it.

I bought some sample pots of Valspar paint from B&Q in Turkish Blue, Party Pattie (pink), Bonjour (yellow), Neon Apple (green), Bengal Tiger (orange), Beet Beet (purple) , Hot Shot (darker orange), Cleopatra Sunrise (bright blue), Spring Fever (light and bright green) and High Voltage (bright red).  It cost about £20 for 10 pots of 236ml paint.

I painted the lid with flat white paint and then did this:

Work Map

It’s finished off by adding detail with paint pens.  I have hung it on my office wall at work.

Then I found a bigger piece of plywood measuring 3′ by 4′.  This one didn’t have a frame on the back so I made one with rough wood I found in our cellar at home and I painted this:

Mondomix

The photo is not very good because I had to use a mobile phone and it didn’t really capture the detail too well.

The second piece I donated to the Mondomix festival in return for a free ticket to the event.  They put it up in the Yurt behind where the DJs played.  Here are a couple of photos taken by other people at the Festival:

Mondomix 1 by David Cramp DJ Lucia Decermic

DJ Lucia Decermic photo taken by David Cramp (copyright David Cramp 2016)

Mondomix 2 by Kathy Lockwood DJ Dabba Ranx

DJ Dabba Ranx photo taken by Kathy Lockwood (copyright Kathy Lockwood 2016)

I learnt some things from painting bigger:

  1. If I am going to continue with the bigger theme I need a bigger studio and more time!
  2. I’m used to working on the horizontal plane – most of my art is in books/journals so I work on them flat on the desk.  These two pieces were also worked on flat,  but I think I need to try to start working vertical, after all a wall (which is my ultimate aim) is vertical.
  3. I probably need to simplify things, not sure how to do that yet though (need to experiment more).
  4. It takes a lot of energy to complete a bigger piece, so I am full of admiration for people who paint huge walls, they must be super fit (and a lot younger than me)!

 

So what does it all mean?

I had a conversation with a good friend yesterday about how other people (experts) explain art and how if you are an artist you (apparently) should be able to explain what your art means.  Well I don’t have a clue what my art means.  I know that I am creative because it is an imperative within me and it makes me feel good – I love colours, repetition and symbols, they ‘speak’ to me at a deep level, but there is no way I could put that into words and explain it to you or even to myself.

It’s the same for me when I go to a gallery or view someone else’s art.  A lot of art really moves me and makes me feel joyous, usually it involves bright colours, repetition and symbols (so there is a correlation between the art I like and the art I make) but I have no need to try to explain what deep philosophical process the artist might have been trying to explain.  Maybe they just want to make beautiful pictures and that’s all there is to it?  What do I know?

Here are just a few of the many artist’s whose work I really admire, if you have time you might like to check them out 🙂

David Shillinglaw, Yayoi Kusama, Nikki de Saint Phalle, Keith HaringOs Gemeos,

I do often wonder what it’s all about but I as yet I still don’t know.

Until the next time, take good care of yourselves

Big love

AJ xxx

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2016 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Hello, how are you?

 

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

A page from my Secret Messages Journal

Hello friends

I’ve been away for half a year! I’m not really sure how that happened, but there has been lots going on.  Too much to go into really so here is a quick precis of the first half of this year from my point of view:

The main thing is that I am feeling good now and I am still in remission (got another check up in 2 days time but no cause to worry about that as far as I know);

T lost his job at the end of January due to having had too much sick leave and that was quite a stressful time, so as I was beginning to feel a lot better he was beginning to feel worse – we are muddling through OK;
In March I attended a 2 day course run by Penny Brohn UK which was all about living well with cancer, I loved the course and I gained a lot from it, in particular I learnt about Mindfulness Meditation and that has been a life changer for the better;
I am working full-time again now (although I have had a lot of leave in the past 6 months – due to the generosity of my employers) and things are gradually getting back to normal;
I started going to Hoopfit class in April run by my lovely friend Gina, I’m still not very good at it, but it is fun;
I became a voracious viewer of art (probably at the expense of creating much myself) but seeing beautiful things every day really lifts my spirits and I have discovered so many wonderful artists thanks to the internet :-);
I did some display/information sheets for a new exhibition Poo@theZoo it’s the brain child of a fantastic group of local artists called Eccleston George and it was a privilege to work with them on this project.  My contribution was to tell the story of what happens to human poo after the toilet is flushed;
In May I had a birthday, I was 61! we went out for a picnic at a lovely spot and then we went away (not very far) in the camper van for a weekend;
At the beginning of June we went away again to a very small world music festival Mondomix and that was good;
The following weekend we had another long weekend of camping in the van at a campsite that is within walking distance from home – the reason for staying so close to home is that we have to come back at least once a day to feed and check on the cats;
As a late birthday present T and I went to London on 22 June to see an exhibition by the artist Yayoi Kusama, it was fabulous;
On 23 June we had a referendum in the UK on whether or not we should stay in the European Union
On 24 June we got the shocking result that by a tiny majority of less than 4% (52% -48%) we voted to leave the EU and since then I’ve been in deep shock, both of our main political parties the Tories and Labour seem to be self destructing and the £ seems to have disappeared down the pan. There is so much uncertainty, these are worrying times.  I have spoken about this a lot on my facebook page so I don’t intend to say any more here.

So that’s one half of this year in my life, never a dull moment!

Earlier in the year it was bothering me that I wasn’t being as creative as I would have liked so I decided to finish off a journal I started years ago.  It’s called Secret Messages and is an altered sample book.  I gave up on it a long time ago because I wasn’t very happy with how the first pages turned out. When I went back to it I just experimented with whatever came into my head. I also wanted to use up some of my extensive hoard of ‘stuff’ collected over the years because it  ‘might come in useful someday’ Here is a short video of the book, it’s a bit of an oddity:

For my own records and just in case you might be interested in more detail.  The book was a sample book I purchased in a charity shop.  The samples were window or wall screens, I think.

Front Cover

Front Cover

The only thing I did to the front cover was rip off the label and add the letters to form the words Secret Messages. I intended the journal to have no words in it (I didn’t quite succeed).

Inside front cover

Inside Front Cover

Inside the front cover I just stuck the piece of paper with washi tape and added the small ornate envelope with a message inside.

PAGE 1

Front of Page 1

Front of Page 1

Page 1: This screen was made of 2 layers of fine silk with paper strips with symbols between. I cut some circles out of some paper in my stash and glued it over the screen to form 3 round windows the I added more scraps of paper coloured red with distress ink, added three gold strips, some ‘gems’ and a ribbon border.

Back of Page 1

Back of Page 1

On the back I cut three matching holes in more paper and stuck it on, added white pen work and a border of wire and pink fluffy balls.

PAGE 2

Front of Page 2

Front of Page 2

Page 2: Another screen of fine silk with paper strips between. I painted this one with gesso leaving the two leaf shaped windows. I added colour with acrylic paint, paint markers and glitter and added a stick-on flower jewel and three ribbon strips to the side

Back of Page 2

Back of Page 2

On the back I painted again with gesso leaving the two windows, added colour with acrylic paint and glued on bits of deconstructed jewellery for texture.

PAGE 3

Front of Page 3

Front of Page 3

Page 3: This screen was made of 2 layers of fine silk with bamboo slats between. I added a collage border and then glued on the leather bag clasp and the yellow heart was a prize in a Christmas cracker.

Back of Page 3

Back of Page 3

On the back of the page I added a collage border, stuck a paper doily, coloured with galatos in the middle and added a centre piece from a deconstructed ear-ring.

PAGE 4

Front of Page 4

Front of Page 4

Page 4: This screen was also made of fine silk and bamboo slats but I removed all of the bamboo, then I added texture paste and acrylic paint and stuck on some old coins, tokens and pieces of deconstructed jewelry.

Back of Page 4

Back of Page 4

I covered the back of the page with pieces of old maps then added a border of soft feathers  to the top and side (for some strange reason when I am out walking if I see a feather I have to pick it up so I have quite a collection!), stuck on some gold stars and two old ferry tickets.

PAGE 5

Front of Page 5

Front of Page 5

Page 5: Another screen of silk and bamboo. I removed all but three of the slats of bamboo. cut some paper from my stash to make a border and then added lace around the edges, I put an old photo of T and M into an old brooch and stuck that onto the page with ribbons and fibres hanging from it. I put a strip of ribbon down the hinge side, added a wire work heart and added the letters to form the words You & Me.

Back of Page 5

Back of Page 5

On the back of this page I stuck some patterned paper, then decided I didn’t like it so I Mod Podged some printed tissue paper over the top of that, still didn’t like it so I used up my stock of gold letters on the page, still didn’t like it, added the green border with acrylic paint and stuck on some gold beads.  TBH I still don’t like it.

PAGE 6

Front of Page 6

Front of Page 6

Page 6: This screen was made of silk and raffia. I removed nearly all of the raffia, just leaving the strip in the middle. I wanted to use the piece of lace so I cut some paper to the same shape and stuck it on the page and I also Mod Podged on the piece of orange fabric. I enhanced the colours of the orange fabric with paint pens and painted the paper blue before Mod Podging on the piece of lace. I like the way it hangs over the edge of the page forming a frill.

Back of page 6

Back of Page 6

On the back I added more of the orange fabric which I enhanced with paint pens and I added course texture paste to the top of the page and rubbed in some gold colour to the corner.  Finally I threaded ribbons through the raffia.

PAGE 7

Front of Page 7

Front of Page 7

Page 7: This screen was made of sheer silk with lines of tiny black glass beads. I Mod Podged some white fabric to the back of it and then sprayed it with coloured inks and water, then I stuck on lots of sequins and gave it black border with duct tape.

Back of Page 7

Back of Page 7

On the back it looked a bit messy so I added a double layer of fine red, glittery mesh, still looked a mess so I added the strips of red fabric which made it look better, but the pink tasselled fibre and the eyes on two tags really improved it as did the black border.

PAGE 8

Front of Page 8

Front of Page 8

Page 8: This screen was made of viscous raffia and all I did was thread the coloured ribbon through it. The wooden thing that looks like a bird head is a brooch given to me for my birthday by a friend.

Back of Page 8

Back of Page 8

On the back I painted the black border.  The bark, sticks and seed pods were collected on a walk on our first camping trip.  The piece of wood with the heart was given to me at the Call of the Wild Soul Art Retreat in 2012.

PAGE 9

Front of Page 9

Front of Page 9

Page 9: This screen is made of raffia and silk. The feathers from the top are from our third camping trip, the white ones are goose feathers. The feather at the bottom I picked up when I took my parents to the local Alpaca farm, it is a lovely looking feather but it comes from a very ugly bird. I can’t remember what it is called but it looks a bit like an ostrich only uglier! I added a ripped paper border to the bottom of the page and a piece of ear-ring to attach that single feather. I added a purple border around the page with distress ink. The feathers at the top were glued and sewn down and I sewed an ornate belt buckle over them and attached a bead and tassel embellishment. I really like this page.

Back of Page 9

Back of Page 9

On the back I stuck down the artificial leaves and added a border of orange, ripped hand-made paper, I added a couple of butterflies to the leaves and the flower is from a hat I bought for some occasion (and never wore).  I added the letters to form the words Be Mindful because it is so important to me to keep practicing mindfulness.

PAGE 10

Front of Page 10

Front of Page 10

Page 10: This screen is made of polyester and fossilized leaves. The leaves are so beautiful I didn’t want to do much to it so I added the border it’s just brown paper coloured with distress inks. The little tag which has an imprint of a fern on it is a clothing tag. Down the side is a piece of a ‘hippy’ headband and at the bottom a piece of corrugated cardboard, two more feathers and a paper rose.

Back of Page 10

Back of Page 10

On the back I just used the same brown paper border and those are little wooden disks with numbers on (they might be from a Bingo game).

PAGE 11

Back of Page 11

Back of Page 11

Page 11: This screen was really strange it was made of very thin and fine stainless steel and it was like fabric but metallic silver.  I actually did the back of the page first, I used paint pens to draw on the metal background, I outlined everything in black and added a black border to the page.  Then I added a double layer of red glittery mesh and put the kitty tag between the 2 layers.  I fixed the mesh down with a gold ribbon border, sewed on the strange wooden figure that came from a necklace and added a row of bling to the bottom of the page.

Front of Page 11

Front of Page 11

On the front page to cover up the stitching  I stuck on some torn green tissue paper, I added some green paper lace over the top so that the metal could still be seen, added 3 paper roses and edged the page with red ink.

PAGE 12

Front of Page 12

Front of Page 12

Page 12: This screen was sheer but stiff silk, I didn’t want to do anything to alter the screen itself so I added the border of orange printed paper. On the day of the referendum result it was really hard to come to terms with it, even though I expected the vote to go that way, the reality of it shook me to the core, it’s hard to explain. I went for a long walk along a beach to clear my head. Whenever I go for walks I collect things that catch my eye and on beaches I am always attracted to colour so I collected all these bits of rope and cord and when I got home I stuck them onto the border of the page. The fish tag is from a Weird Fish T-shirt. This is the only page in my book that has a title, it’s called ‘Give them enough rope…’

Back of Page 12

Back of Page 12

One the back I wanted to give a feeling of being lost so I used a piece of a map and then gave that another border with map tape.  The heart tag is to remind me not to give up hope 🙂

INSIDE BACK COVER

Inside back cover

Inside back cover

I wanted to leave the information about the make up of the screen material but I ‘knocked it back’ with a thin covering of gesso, then I randomly added torn paper and the Number 3 card. I didn’t do anything to the back cover.

THE WHOLE JOURNAL

The whole journal

The whole journal

It’s a bit fatter than it was when I started and it’s been good to experiment and try things out even if a lot of them didn’t really work. The process is more important than the result so I’m happy anyway.

Sorry for the long, long, long post, I’ll try not to leave it 6 months before I post again 🙂

Big love

AJ

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2016 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.