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Destructive Pencils and Revelations

February 12, 2016

Wow, I didn't realize it's been more than a month since my last blog post. My year review video has been the only thing I've done on here this year. It's time to change that.

 

Recently I declared my latest Spirit Wings angel complete, and I am ready to move on to the next one. Here she is, my Angel of Sacred Ordinariness:

We tried out Faber-Castell Gelatos as a wet medium, using them like watercolors. While I liked using them wet, sort of, the wooden panel was kind of annoying to work with. The initial plan was to leave some of the wood grain showing. There wasn't much wood grain to begin with. My first panel, cheaply bought at Hobby Lobby, caused problems right away when I sketched out the facial features and my pencil poked a hole in the wood. A pencil poked through the wood! So cheap! So, I bought a wooden panel from Michaels, found in their wood burning section. It felt sturdier than the other but not great. It held up alright to the vigorousness of lightly sketching with a pencil, but moving the Gelatos' colors around seemed harder than it should have been. I don't know if it was the ungessoed wood, the panel's quality, or what. The overall process wasn't great. I said the previous angel was hard; this was harder, and I wasn't entirely happy with it and it bothers me that this is the only one that's a 12" by 12" square. Proportionally, she doesn't fit in with the others. But she's grown on me, even if she's a different size. (Such prejudice!) I liked using the different colors and the tape dispenser ring to make the copper halo circles.

 

Alongside the Spirit Wings online course, I've registered for and have been taking an art journaling class through my local community college. After the fearful start that it might be cancelled, one of the other students convinced a friend to sign up, meeting the minimum enrollment for the class. Huzzah! Class is once a week for eight weeks.

 

Last week's session ended in frustration for me. We were given a small collage project to work on. I started mine but felt my backgrounds were not layered enough, needed more movement and interest, which was true. So, before continuing with the collage, I smeared more paint around on one page. Our instructor had also shown us a good way to use stencils and that made me happy because I had forgotten how. And her way incorporated more color transition too. It was awesome. So for a while, as I worked on my background, I was happy and excited by my stenciling. But then I kept going and kept working on the same page and felt like I was getting no where. I didn't have any other pages in my journal remotely close to ready. At least half the pages were still blank. And then I felt like a failer. Talking with another student as we walked to our cars, I told her I felt like I was making no progress. She said I wasn't alone, and that reassured me some. But then she said all her pages had at least a layer or two already. I felt less reassured. I resigned myself to fill up more pages with at least one layer of paint, but also knowing I wouldn't have tons of time with D&D planned for the weekend with the majority of the players needing help creating their character for the game.

 

The week before, as an impulse purchase at Michaels, I had bought Flora Bowley's book, Brave Intuitive Painting. Since then, I'd been reading through it, excited at first because it was a new, pretty book, but eventually disappointed for its lack of content or new insights and ideas. The day after my art journaling class I sat down to continue where I had left off in the book. The stuff I read pertained exactly to what I was dealing with and echoed the tips Lauren Ohlgren, my instructor, had told me and others that day. Basic art concepts and simple procedures that I was not thinking about because I had fixated on making that one background perfect and interesting. Most notable, the book said to stand back from your work. Lauren had taken my journal and set it on the dry erase board's ledge at the front of the room, pointing out how the eye moved along this page, but not so much on the other one. When you stepped back. 

 

I learned: step back and you should be able to see what needs to be done next and if not, do something else. Don't stagnate and obsess over one piece, keep moving, work on something else and come back to it. A breakthrough! (Note: I like the book more now and respect it for showing and reminding  me of exactly what I needed.)

 

Before class this week, I worked on backgrounds, filled blank pages with paint, and started on the collage project, pasting parts down onto the page regardless of whether they were perfect or the background was perfect. I'll fill in the spaces with stuff as I go, adding layers when I feel like it. Meanwhile this little collage person will take up  part of the page. She isn't perfect but I know a few things to do when I work on her again.

I went into class with a better attitude and kept myself busy and moving to different parts in my journal. Lauren showed us a cool way to do frames on the pages and that was fun. I think they were meant for our altered photos, but I don't know if mine will fit into the frame. They may have to go on other pages. Or I'll just have to do another frame on another page. Or something. It's all good!

My mood was greatly improved by the end of this class. Next week we're doing image transfers, something I haven't tried but have always wanted to since getting into the mixed media.

 

The last creative thing I wanted to talk about was my experience Dungeon Mastering for a group of friends running through my Silence in Silo adventure, the same one I ran for four girl friends the month before. But you know what? My hand is getting tired and I've already written a lot of words, so a brief blab about what I wrote in my notes. In fact, here's a bulleted list of discoveries I made while running this adventure, as a DM:

 

--Keep going, even if you lose track of skeletons.

--Roll with your mistakes. (Keep going.)

--Players don't know or don't care that you're not running the game perfectly, so long as they're not getting slaughtered. (Keep going.)

--Trust your DM. Or me, if I'm your DM.

--Sometimes you can't trust your DM. In this case, find another or do it yourself.

 

Since I didn't take pictures from this most recent game, here's photographic evidence of my all-ladies Dungeons and Dragons game from last month:

I may or may not go into more details about the game. Chances are I'll want to move on and start on the next adventure. I already have ideas percolating about where I want to take my players next, especially now that the second group has played through Silo, although not nearly as thoroughly as the ladies' group. The ending was also very different and intersting. Oh, so vague!

 

And that is all for this week, and I guess the last month as well. The End.

 

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