Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Great Craft Catch Up: Mission Inspiration: March "The Darkest Hour"

As it turns out, I will be working on The Great Craft Catch-Up. Between starting Mixed Media Morsels, and taking a quick trip home to retrieve my Mission Inspiration journal, I now have 50% of what I need to catch up on the journal groups I wanted to participate with in 2016. The other two, Journal 52 and Dictionary Art Journalers, may have to wait until next year at this point.

Anyway, today's Great Craft Catch-Up project is the March spread for Mission Inspiration. You remember Mission Inspiration, right? Mike Deakin, or one of his coconspirators, gives us 10 prompts each month, then we share the results with the Facebook group.

Well, I started March's spread way back in March around the time when I learned I needed surgery and coming to terms with all that. Basically, one of my lowest points this year. I didn't feel much like making art, nor did I have the energy, but I also didn't want to fall behind. Somehow, both happened.

The Result . . . . and also my feet
Since my January and February Mission Inspiration posts were long photo heavy posts, I've decided to go with this slideshow/ video thing followed by a text explanation this time instead, just for a change of format. It's more like a transition between then and now, before I filmed and after, sort of like this spread.

I started March's mission a little disappointed because the first few steps leave you with a black and white canvas. I'd just finished a black and white piece for February and between being down about my health and a yearning for spring, I really, really wanted something colorful. At the same time, I couldn't find any colorful collage pieces I felt like using, and for once my only grocery receipt was from Wegman's which might be the only store that doesn't print a bunch of colorful adverts on the back. The only good thing I had going for me at the start was that the giant magazine cut-out girl looked exactly the way I felt.

It wasn't until I was applying the Mars black border in step two that I suddenly felt truly inspired. As I was applying the paint, I thought to myself This is the blackest black. It's as black as my soul. Well, the darkest hour is just before dawn, you'll feel better soon. From that, literally everything else was in this spread was born. I'd use butterflies for the metamorphosis association, I'll use an orangey pink highlight color for the morning dawn, and I'll use one of my favorite song lyrics for the quote (It's not my favorite song, only one of my favorite lines.... It's not even my favorite The Mamas and The Papas song). After that I only had two stumbling blocks, plus a bunch of life events, that delayed my completion until July.

First was step 3, adding scribbled illegible words. There is something about being a writer that makes it really difficult for me to add text to my mixed media pieces that are going to be obscured or don't necessarily have any meaning to me. When I use book text, I try to find at least one stand out line that relates to the piece. And I try to read all those background text stamps to see what it says. I'm trying to let go of this need/compulsion, but it's proving difficult. It was even more difficult when I had something I very much wanted to say but I didn't want anyone to know AND we were being asked to use our own handwriting. Then again, we were obscuring what we would write, it didn't need to be legible at all. The best way I knew how to do this was not only write over my own words over and over again, but also to use a white pen on a white background because I was terrified even after writing illegibly someone would be able to make out what I wrote. Of course, in the finished piece, you'd never even know there were words there. Plus, at this point, since I wrote all my fears about my surgery and everything went smoothly it's doubly irrelevant but back then I was putting on a much braver face than I felt and I didn't want anyone to know how scared I truly was about the whole ordeal. Anyway, I struggled with this step far more than I should have and for far too long.

The next hold up was that I knew I wanted do step 7, apply a highlight color through a stencil, to look like the rays of a rising sun and I knew Tim Holtz stencil that would be perfect but at the time, I didn't own it. That didn't change what I wanted so, in essence, I had to figure out how to make a stencil. Of course, I spent so long trying to figure out how to do this, it came time for my  surgery before I finished this mission.

After the surgery, there was a recovery that went on longer than I'd hoped and as a result I had far more to catch up than I'd expected. I was able to work on it a little bit when I unexpectedly added the blue background, very carefully painting between butterflies because I really hated the stark white background. Even if all the receipt words hadn't disappeared when I used gloss Mod Podge (I never use a heat gun the words just magically vanished), it's not like I would haven't wanted stuff like El Paso beans or bananas peaking out behind the flutterbyes anyway.

Then, in June, just when I thought I'd finally get to catch up on my journals, I got a totally awesome surprise in the form of an impromptu vacation. So then, in June I had to do more catching up all over again. Finally, finally, finally comes July and I take a last minute family related trip and my house loses it's goddamned mind. Now, that I'm living in a hotel from a month, I was finally able to conquer the whole stencil issue because in the meantime I acquired the original stencil I wanted plus one more that also fit in well and the rest of the steps went with down with ease.

In the end, I absolutely love this spread. It's one of the few very personal art journal pages I've done, not a spread just for fun or for the sake of making art. One of my favorite parts is the play with proportion and all the different sizes of pages in this junk journal working in synergy. I love that the girl goes off the page at the top and the bottom. Plus, one of the earlier pages peaks out behind her, and that pages space/sun/star theme works with color and theme of this page too.

Still, I would have like to have gotten a better result with the clockworks stencil, that was a matter of my execution and that I'm not skilled yet with stencils, I'm still I'm glad I added it at the last moment. I think it helps to work the collage image more into the piece, even if I sometimes think it looks like she's wearing a helmet now. I'm also not completely satisfied with the balance of the lettering across the page, I tried to help this by signing my name and date in the other ways but I'm not sure that was entirely successful. Also, I'm still going to add a little bling, in the form of tiny crystals added to the black butterfly on the collage girl's hand, but I don't have that particular item with me at the moment.

Anyway, I'm very glad this page is done and it came out pretty close to the way I wanted. I still have some catching up do with Mission Inspiration but I'm having tons of fun participating and learning along the way.

Thanks for stopping by! Come back soon for Mission Inspiration: April.