Sunday, May 29, 2016

Shannon Green's Journaling By 5s (JB5)


There are 20 pages you are supposed to fill with five steps, each step uses 2 "medias" and you have 15 minutes for each step. (5-10-15-20)

1) put down color using paint/ink/any manner of getting color on paper (background)

2) put down visual texture (strips of paper from magazines, junk mail, any paper) (still background - which means DON'T CHOOSE PICTURE OR TEXT YOU WANT SHOWING FROM THE FINISHED PAGE. Any text and pictures are to be just "background noise" at this phase.)

3) put down pattern with stamps and stencils (or any other way) (still background)

4) put down images/words (the FOCAL POINT, this is the main attraction)

5) pen work using any kind of pens, pencils, ink, fine tip applicators etc. (finishing touches)

then there's time for free play, when you finish the pages the way you want them - if you want to. You already have an "art journal" :-D

One of the original points was to choose ONLY 2 MEDIUMS for each step, so that you would have used only 10 mediums in the finished work - so, for example, acrylic paints and sprays for the color; magazine scraps and book text for the texture; stamps and stencils for the pattern; magazine scraps and printouts for the focal image and soft pencil and white paint pen for the pen work. In practice it got a bit too boring to be using only 10 things for this, so that part of the challenge has been forgotten.

It takes 1 1/4 hours of main work plus the time it takes for preparations and the time it takes for drying paint and glue etc., which means that at the end of the day you will have a finished art journal.

PREPARATIONS

So, the thing here is to keep in unpretentious, which means that you are to use cheap things no-one will cry over if "it gets spoiled" or doesn't turn as you expected it to turn.

If you can't find a composition book or staple bound notebook with cheap paper in, there is something like this in every country. Here in Sweden it's called "skolhäfte" and in Finland it's "vihko". Try school supplies. If you really can't find an equivalent to this in your country, take some cheap paper - or printer paper - and sew or staple 20 pages together. Or go find a travel brochure or something with 20+ pages. (Preferably stapled, not glued.)

The point is that it's supposed to be cheap paper, junk mail would be perfect, or newsprint, something that doesn't cost much and doesn't hurt if you have to throw it away and start from beginning. This is important, you need to feel like you are SUPPOSED TO WRECK THE JOURNAL.

Prepare it. If you need to glue the pages together or if you want to slap gesso on the pages or white paint, do that, and let it dry.

If you use a journal, it would be good if you prepared the back of each page by gluing or taping on some waxed paper or plastic so that the pages won't stuck together, because that is a very big annoyance.

If you use loose papers, it would be good to get one of those clothes' drying carousel hanger thingies. Just see there's 20+ clips on it. Start hanging your pages from the innermost circle and go round, to minimize the risk of wet pages touching each other. Just remember to protect what ever is under it so that the eventual drips won't stain something that shouldn't be stained.

Or you could try clearing space from the table or floor for 20 pages to dry...
There are different possibilities for papers to dry. Think out the one you are going to use before you need it.

It's good to have plenty of space. The more rushed you are, the more space you use and the wider your movements are. Things will fall and disappear and mix up and cause chaos.

Have only what you WILL use on the work area. Don't store things you MIGHT need or things you plan to use IN THE NEXT STEP.

Clean the area after each step

Prepare the tools and media you are going to use.
See that the nozzles of sprays are clean and working
See that you can open all the bottles, tubes and jar, that your watercolors are moistened, your colors are mixed - and plenty of it, more than you think you'll use - and some jars to store the prepared paints if you for some reason won't use it after all ;-) (This applies only if you need to mix colors.)
See that the paint brushes are clean and not dried into a clump. See that your foam brush is ready and soft. See that your brayer is clean and dry.

Have several water jars prepared for the brushes so that you can just throw the brush into a jar without needing to use dirty water - dirty water is a good way of getting mud

Tape some paper towels on the table so that you can clean your brayer quickly without needing to fumble with the paper towels.
It would be a good thing to have some water on a tray and a foam sponge in it for the cleaning of the brushes and other things you used. 
It is also good to throw your stencils on the water tray after use, so that they won't clog or dry fast to something. Don't leave your wet stencils on or between papers!
Now, if you use paper stencils, you can't - obviously - throw them in water. You will need a non-stick surface ready for them to dry when used, and plenty of space so that they won't stick together.

Have plenty of scrap paper prepared for cleaning of the brushes and brayer and extra paint, and a place you can throw these papers to dry without needing to waste the valuable space for these papers. When it comes to these papers, it doesn't matter if they stick to each other, that's just texture ;-) So you can just throw them into a box under the table to dry. A stack of newspapers is good for this.

It would be nice if you could have a sous-chef who can clean your tools so that you can concentrate on finishing the steps :-D

Some advice and notes about the different steps

COLOR
This is how Shannon herself chose to put paint on paper.
Note that she does it in steps and quickly - 
she manages to go the book through 3-4 times before the time is up.

Ways to put on color:
- Pick some 4-6 of your favorite colors or color combinations
- quick ways: sprays, brayer/scraper and monoprinting

take a practice round where you time yourself to see what possible problems you will meet and what additional things you need.

IMPORTANT: IF YOU DON'T WANT MUD, DON'T USE CONTRAST COLORS!
Red and green gives you mud. So does purple and yellow; and blue and orange. And it goes with the "close enough" colors. Theoretically yellow and blue gives you green, but if it's purplish blue and orangeish yellow, you'll get mud. Greenish mud, sure, but mud nevertheless.
If you like the color combination of contrasting colors - which I do - use these colors in different steps!

So - the first round; use colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, like red, orange and yellow; yellow, green and blue; green, blue, purple...

Don't overmix the color on the paper. Put it on, swipe twice, no more, move on. If the color puddles, let it.

Go over the edges.If you use loose leafs, this is not a problem, as you have covered the table beforehand, if you use a book, this is not a problem, as you have prepared the backs of the pages so that they won't stick. Getting "wrong" color on pages doesn't matter, it just adds more interest, but your work will look better if it's not just a blob of paint in the middle of the pages.

You can also add color by dripping, splattering, spraying, spattering, sprinkling, speckling and sponging and what not.

White and black are not colors. Use them to add visual texture; in the next step.

VISUAL TEXTURE - COLLAGE:

collage - pattern paper, magazine print, book pages, painted paper



Use different qualities of paper, like magazine papers, tissue paper, napkins, book pages etc. Embossed or in some other way textured paper is great.

Because this is collage, you can't produce mud, so you can use any colors you like.
Or that's the theory, at least... just remember that the fewer colors you use, the more calm impression the page gives. Also, you can always paint over everything during the finishing touches ;-)

If you want to create a "sophisticated" impression, use the same colors you used to put color on the page, just in different shades and tones.

Using contrast colors gives the page energy and tension.

Use black and white, or something very dark and something very light.

Tear up the paper beforehand. If you have a specific color plan in your mind, sort the pieces according to which pages you want them on. Yes, it's OK to do that, the spontaneity comes to play when it comes to sticking the pieces on paper. Don't think, just glue.

Use a glue stick and don't bother sticking them properly in place. You are to use the 15 minutes to assign a spot for the paper pieces. It's not against the rules to go back and stick the papers properly in place with what ever media you like after the 15 minutes are gone. That's how Shannon herself does it :-D

You could also use spray glue and just throw your pieces on the page :-D

First, just stick something on every page. Grab, stick, move on.
The next round you can compose a little. But just a little. YOU CAN ALWAYS ADD AFTER THE 15 MINUTES ARE GONE!

A good rule of hand is: 1 big piece and 3 smaller pieces.

Also, "something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue". In this case "borrowed" means someone else's idea and "blue" your favorite color :-D
(Or perhaps something shiny. A bit of gold adds a lot of interest and visual texture ;-))
Use something opaque and something transparent
something textured and something smooth
something thin and something thick
something hard and something soft
something ripped and something cut
something sharp and something curvy

Some ideas you can "borrow":
- lace, paper lace, paper doilies
- postage stamps
- fabric
- string
- paper napkins
- vellum
- pattern paper
- metal foil
- hole punch scraps
- washitape
- origami paper
- old handwritten letters
- thin strips from magazines and newspapers
- stickers (the shapes, not the picture ones - though those might be interesting as well). You can also dye, paint or decorate the stickers. The binder hole protectors looks pretty interesting as stickers. Label sheets become also interesting stamps when painted.
- junkmail; ripped into pieces or strips, or cut into strips
- gift wrap 

PATTERN:
- stamps and stencils


the purpose with this is to create PATTERN, to make the page coherent, so use background stencils and stamps, or if you use a single shape, repeat it several times

Choose a contrasting shade of the colors on the page, that is a clearly darker or lighter shade of the same color; or use black and white.

Finish with circles, made with a cap or lid from a small bottle. Use white, or black if the page is very light. Or, if the contrast is too big for you, use a darker and lighter shade of the colors on your page, like very dark plum and icy blue.
You could also use your favorite shape, if you are not that into circles :-D Squares, stars and triangles work as well.

FOCAL IMAGE:
images and words


What is a focal image? Mike Deacon explains it beautifully:

 He also has some other interesting points about the color and composition and finishing, that might be helpful

Basically, the focal point is the first thing you notice on the page when you see it.
Think about paintings and images you like. How would you describe them? A lady smelling roses? Sunset? Whimsical birds? That is your focal image.

Don't use small images. The focal image should be at least 1/8 of the page, and everything else is to be smaller or less noticeable.
You can use words as focal image, but then the words should take at least 1/4 of the page, preferably at least 1/2

Things that will not work:- scrolls and swirls and other such things that look like background.
- be careful with flowers. Try to remember that this is the focal image, which means that you are putting down the subject of your "painting". So a group of flowers that looks like it belongs to a background is not good. A striking single rose works great as the focal image.

Cut your images and words the way you want to use them beforehand.

If you choose to make "ransom note lettering", you can glue the words on tissue paper and then rip the tissue paper around the letters; when you glue that down, it is almost invisible.
You can also glue them on colored or patterned paper and then cut the quote out, to add interest.

The purpose is to get the focal point tacked down, so use a glue stick, and don't bother about if it is well fastened or not. You can go back and secure the images after the time is over.


Some ideas about finding the focal point:

You can either start with an interesting image and find words to support it, or interesting words and find images to support them.

Images:

1) get 20 boxes.  folders or a booklet with 20 pages, where you can store your focal ideas

2) Find 20 images.
Here's some suggestions:
- your favorite animal
- your favorite flower
- your favorite season
- your favorite holiday
- your favorite landscape (forest, beach, mountains...)
- you favorite mythical creature
- your favorite historical period
- your favorite book, genre, character from a book
- your favorite movie, movie genre, actor/actress
- your favorite tv show, genre, character
- your favorite music, song, composer
- your favorite artwork, art style, art movement, artist
- your favorite country
- the place you'd most like to travel to/visit
- your hobby
- your spiritual or philosophical beliefs
- your favorite food
- your favorite piece of clothing
- your pets, kids, friends, family - for example, choose a picture that makes you think of these people, or a photo or painting that looks like the person
Something else that's your favorite I haven't mentioned.
 The images can be found from magazines, books, coloring books, internet (printables), calenders, junkmail, napkins, scrapbook paper, your own artwork, drawings, collaged pieces (You can make all kinds of things like the magazine paperdolls, like collage houses, animals, trees...) etc.

A nice idea is to make collage art dolls
Make 4 collage dolls from magazine images and printout, the Zettiology style.
You can also use real paperdolls or cutouts from vintage magazines, or pinups, which ever rocks your boat.


If you REALLY can't find any themes to find images from, just take any 20 images from the closest magazine, newspaper, junkmail, anything with pictures.

Words:

a) write down your favorite quotes and sayings. If you don't feel comfortable to write it yourself, find a nice quote and print it.

b) flip some magazines and cut out every quote, saying and word that pleases you.

c) song lyrics and poems

PEN WORK
- the purpose with this is to lift up the focal image and make the picture more coherent.

- start by shading the edges of the pages. This gives the pages a finished look. Pick a color from the page.

- use a pencil or charcoal or very soft pen or crayon or something like that to go around the focal image and soften it by rubbing. Choose a color that contrasts to the background, either a "real" color or black or white. (or very dark or very light, if black and white is too big a contrast to your taste.)

- learn some simple doodling. Some polka dots, looping, zig-zag lines, scallops, circles and stripes add a lot to the page.

- you can draw the focal image, if it is a photo. Just follow the lines with a marker. Give the people and animals make-up. Make the eyewhites whiter. Change eye color.

- create a frame to the page, either with color or lines.


Christy Sobolewski has brilliant ideas for penwork, but it's spread over her videos, I don't think there is one single video that explains all of it. Go and check out her videos!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Response to "Pagan Atheists"

Pagan Atheists: Yes, we exist, by Stifyn Emrys

Of course you do. Have existed long before Neo-Paganism started redefining words. Buddhists are (mostly) atheist pagans. 

"why I, or anyone who holds a non-Christian belief, should care about how a Christian might judge that belief"
Some Pagans have Christian friends and relatives that judge them as "godless" and treat them as bad people because of that. That's one reason. There are others. I find it interesting that you don't realize that, Stifyn.

(BTW, Stifyn Emrys... do you have strong Celtic associations, or did you adopt that name just because Celtic culture is so fab?)

"the vast majority of respondents identified the most important element in Paganism as “reverence for nature.” Given three possible responses, a whopping 87 percent chose this answer. In second place, with just 10 percent of the vote, was “worship of the gods.” (The third option, “practice of magic(k),” received a paltry 3 percent."

So your survey was flawed to begin with.

"no need to go seeking gods or goddesses to explain it."
I don't need a deity to explain the universe either. That's not why I believe in one.

"It’s not some dry, clinical and bitter philosophy"
Why would you, or any other atheist, care about how someone else might judge that belief?

"This is certainly the Christian worldview"
I don't think you have fully understood "the Christian worldview". Certainly there are Christians holding that worldview, but just as you can't put all the Pagans in one box, you can't put all the Christians in one box.

"If we believe that we are at the mercy of a deity’s emotions, it’s only human nature that we’re going to try like hell to influence those emotions."
I'm sure some people think that way. I don't.

I don't think you have understood the nature of sacrifices either.

Also "not ours to sacrifice"? That's the way the Nature does it.
When I am hungry, I eat. If I have to end another entity's life to do that, I do that.
When I am tired, I rest. Even if that results in a landslide that destroys hundreds of other lifeforms.
What I need or want, I take. The Nature way. Selfish to the tips of Her fingers.

Also, you seem to have a very interesting hierarchy...
"killed animals"... "go so far as to kill humans".
So you think humans are more important than animals, that are possibly more important than plantlife, which is probably more important than the silicone based lifeforms. It would be OK to "sacrifice" things like bread and paper or votives made of precious metals and stones, perhaps, but if you have to "kill" an animal, then you are "sacrificing things that were never ours to sacrifice"?

"we still ostracize people who don’t believe the way we do on the grounds that they’re an offensive to our patron deity or deities"
And to some atheists this patron deity is Science.

"These are the kinds of practices that the Pagan atheist finds saddening, because they do unnecessary damage to nature itself"
Well, then I have some good news to you. Your idea of what sacrifice is, is not correct.
You really should study the different sacrificial practices of different religions, people and times better, instead of reacting on your assumptions of what it was and is.

There is no "Judeo-Christian tradition". Christians have adopted their "traditions" from many, many sources, and MOST OF IT IS NOT JEWISH.

According to Judaism, God made people the caretakers of this planet. That most Europeans don't understand that concept isn't the fault of the God.

Also, you don't seem to understand why people are theists.
I don't NEED God, I don't NEED God to explain natural phenomena, I don't NEED someone who looks like me to be responsible for all, I don't NEED to "put a human face on nature" to appreciate and love it. My love or awe of nature is not in any way lesser or different from that of Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan or David Attenborough, and I think it's really pissy of you to think it is, just because you are atheists and I am not.

I do not know of any compelling (or otherwise) evidence for anthropomorphic patriarchs (or matriarchs) controlling human destiny from some hidden celestial vantage point either.
But I also know of no such evidence against that theory.
Neither do you, or any other atheist prophet.
Which means, your atheism is a belief. Thinking that something is true without any evidence of it.

I don't have any evidence for any of the things I choose to believe in. No-one does.
We all have them, beliefs, you know. Even you and every other atheist. Most atheist would just vehemently deny having any beliefs :-D

But, let's take some of the fundamentals.
Do you have any compelling evidence of that you were born where you believe you were born, the day you believe you were born, to the people you believe to be your parents?
Any DNA evidence? Some proof of that you are the baby that was born? Have you compared your footprint to the prints at the hospital?
I kind of doubt that. Most people choose to believe these things without even questioning them.

"We may even use such divine names ourselves as symbol and metaphor to characterize nature itself - as a poetic homage to the wonders nature and an acknowledgement of the masculine and feminine principles that are so prevalent across our natural world"
Some people would agree and say "but that's what Pagan theism is!" :-D

Frankly, I think you like the status of atheism, just like you like the sound of the Celtic name you have adopted.

P.S. Haven't read your Requiem and won't either. I think you have shown enough misconceptions, beliefs based on prejudice and generalization and misunderstanding and faulty or lacking knowledge in this article to ensure me of that your book is just more of the same.
Someone said that "his logic is flawless"... I doubt that, but even if it was, when the data this logic builds on is faulty, what good does good logic do?

P.P.S. Closing the comments? Hmm...

Monday, May 16, 2016

Harvesting magazines

I have never been good at finding things in magazines to be used as illustration or decoration in art journals or planners - or collages. My sister and husband are great at that, and so are a lot of people on line, creating lovely, colorful things. I want to learn, too, and have magazines as material in stead of just throwing them in the garbage.

So here's a couple of videos to give you inspiration, if you are where I am:

Is the magazine glue bound or stapled together? If it is stapled, consider using it as base for an art journal.
You can put gesso or acrylic paint on the pages to cover the text and images, or collage over the pages, or paper them, to make them sturdier and better background for mixed media work.


Harvest the ideas you find in the magazine first

things to look for:
- lettering, fonts, typography
- color combinations
- composition
- visual texture, patterns
- shapes
- stock images, models, drawing practice


Go through the magazine and rip off all the pages that have something interesting. Remember to check both sides of the pages, there might be something you want more on the other side. If you find nothing interesting, that's OK too :-D


Go through the magazine again, and this time look for letters and words.


Go through it again, and look for colors and patterns


Make yourself a "view finder" - for example, if you make inchies, make yourself a card with an inch by inch hole in middle. You will be surprised by how much interesting things you'll find. A little bigger hole will work for planners and ATCs.


When you have harvested the magazines of everything you can find, there's still things to do:

Is the magazine glossy? Then you could try different solvents (like Citrasolv) to dissolve the ink and create interesting backgrounds and patterned paper for other works.


It's not just Citrasolv and NatGeos that work. The Swedish NatGeos are different from the USonian ones, so I get very dark and shaded results - there's so much black ink, and it has been added last, so it interferes with everything. I get better from cheap ads and flyers. Experiment with different solvents. Ordinary terpentine works too. The thing is to dissolve the printing ink and get it floating on top of the paper, and for that you need glossy papers - the gloss comes from the surface treatment of the paper, not from the ink. Matt paper sucks the liquid in right up, glossy papers won't, which makes the ink react on top of it and dry in those shapes and patterns.
And you don't need whole magazines or even pages to do this. It works with any pieces of magazine with ink on. Just put your papers and pieces in a tray and sprinkle with your solvent and see what happens. (Do it in well ventilated area, preferably outside, and save this activity to summer and warm days, so you don't need to wait for hours for the solvent to react :-D)

If you have matte pages or glossy with no color on, consider painting them.