Welcome back to my art journal pages! This particular spread, Forge Ahead, is unique for several reasons.
First of all, it took a total of six weeks to complete due to delays, blocks and lack of energy/inspiration. With the recent changes I made to my studio (which I detail here in A Creative Experiment), the energy wasn't flowing quite as well as usual. And I'm still working out the logistics of where everything should go as far as my three work spaces, but at least I made progress! I had no idea that this spread was open on my desk for so long. I looked at the date of my previous spread and was very surprised at this discovery. I thought it was at most, three weeks.
Another way this spread, Forge Ahead, is unique is the way I started it. Usually I put down color first, but this time, I started with the words, Forge Ahead, stamping out the letters with a new ink pad I recently purchased, another new approach. I usually stamp with watercolor. So with two new approaches to this spread, the words and falling letters stayed that way for a while. I had to think out what would come next.
Collage is always a welcome addition to my journal spreads, but the first time I thought about it, I wasn't sure what colors I wanted to use so I put it off for a bit. Eventually I did come back to it and chose earthy tones from my magazine stash. I started with the darkest hue, then on to orange and then the skin tones. I liked the way the color scheme came together. (I also had a later thought when this spread was complete that the lightest colored collage pieces reminded me of sustaining bread when you're in need of nourishment during hard times.)
The other way this Forge Ahead spread is unique is it includes my first attempt at working with a homemade modeling paste using gesso and...baby powder? ;) It did do the job as you can see below with the close up of using a stencil in between the letters, but I must say that I won't plan to use baby powder for this job again. The smell from the talc was too overpowering to make it workable. (I did look up other possibilities and plan to try baking soda next time.) Once I had the modeling paste installed, it was time to decorate with color. The thought that came to mind was Forge being a source of Fire, so the color scheme between the letters and around the collage pieces is associated with fire. Once I added watercolor as fire based hues, I also added a bit of oil pastel to give it a bit more texture.
Once I had this done, I really took a good look at the texture from the modeling paste and the long thin shape of the stencil, and realized it reminded me of bones. When that came to mind, I was like, Yikes! Bones? Yes, bones. And with the color scheme of fire, it could appear to be like a war zone. I found this to be somewhat disturbing. (This is what I often refer to as the subconscious coming to the fore!) So I began to think about Forging Ahead and what that can sometimes look like. Life is not all sweetness and roses. As a matter of fact, it can sometimes be downright difficult! Like you're in a war zone.
We don't often like to think about the challenges and difficulties of life but sometimes there's a time and a place for it; and for me, with this spread, it was a time and place. When I forge ahead, do I sometimes feel like I'm wounded from various life experiences? If so, what kind? That really got me to thinking and journaling too!
When have you recently found yourself feeling "bloody" or wounded by a life experience? Has this situation happened before, just in a different context? Honor that experience by validating whatever you have felt and may still be feeling from this. You may want to use a fire colored pen or marker or crayon (red, orange, yellow) to express your deepest feelings.
Art Journal Prompt**:
Using the colors of fire, Red, orange and yellow, using wet media, oil pastel, or using collage materials, create an art journal spread to express any woundings you have experienced, whether recently or from a memory that comes to the fore.
Using the word Forge, do a mind map, writing down any associative words or phrases that come to mind. See if any repeating words/phrases show up and use them in an art journal spread.
When we honor our life experiences by either writing about them or create visuals to commemorate them, we give space to validate how we feel and how we would like these wounding experiences to be resolved.
By the way, as an end note on this Forge Ahead Spread, I wanted to share that I did not find this particular spread to be visually attractive. I wasn't even sure if I would share it publicly, but I decided to share this experience with you all so we can see the benefits of working in our art journal and listening to our hearts. <3
Copyright 2015 by Dawn Herring
Copyright 2015 Art Images by Dawn Herring
**This prompt is not meant to be a substitute for counseling.
Dawn engages in many roles: As Writer/Blogger and Artist/Creative and Founder of Refresh with Dawn Herring: Where Art and JOY Align, She enjoys sharing from her vast experience as award-winning, life-long artist and leader in the field of written journaling, offering encouragement and proven tips to other journal keepers. Dawn's focus is on written journal keeping, artistic expression and finding your Creative Voice, and positive change that leads personal empowerment, encouraging you to leave your authentic and positive mark in the world. Dawn is a Commercial artist, hand letterer/illustrator and writer/blogger and enjoys sharing insights, humor, and encouragement as she shares from her life experiences as a woman, wife, mother of two grown daughters and as a Grandparent to a special needs grandson. She enjoys keeping a journal and reading spiritual texts to help keep the light on. May JOY Align with Your Creative Heart.