I had a really fun experience doing a ‘pulled art’ lesson by Mystele on Life Book. It was playful and fun and I’d no expectation of what I’d end up with. I thoroughly enjoyed the process and felt it had lots of merit for art journaling.
It’s created by layering lots of media and seeing an image within the patterns that you can pull out and turn into something meaningful.
Afterwards, I was intrigued by its ability to deal with shadow self issues. You know, the stuff that lurks in the shadows that our conscious mind would rather we don’t show anyone?
So I set out to create something in my journal and started out with a paper collage. I included some patterned paper, some images received in a mail swap, some of the Gudrun Sjoden catalogue and a photocopy of my Life Book pulled art page.
Next up were some layers of soft pastel and oil pastel journaling, with some gesso brayered on for good measure.
And afterwards I saw this face, with a really extravagant sci-fi hair do. I wasn’t sure about the hair after I’d sketched her in, but I wanted the process to be genuine, so I went with it. An hour later I ended up with this funny looking portrait.
It isn’t a great photo – I took it an angle because I didn’t like what was there. She didn’t speak to me at all. She had taken ages to paint but she wasn’t representing at all what I was thinking, what was going on inside.
The truth is, I’d been trying so hard to make a portrait I was satisfied with, I’d lost the point of the journal entry.
So I scrubbed her out with gesso. And walloped some washi tape over her. And took the journal away from my desk and switched on The Big Bang Theory and messed about with stamps and pens wilst watching the telly.
And the page I got wasn’t clever. It wasn’t beautiful. It wasn’t painterly. It wasn’t pulled art. But it was what was in my head. It was real. It was the truth. It was mine.
And that was my message. Stop trying so hard with the art. That’s not what this is about. (It might be a fantastic by-product now and again) but it isn’t the reason why and it has no place in my journal unless it tells my story.