My first goal this year was to use only materials that I already had. The ancient photo album that my neighbours were throwing in the garbage seemed a good place to start. I had kept it for several years, trying to figure how to make a book with it, but could never figure out how to handle the thick cardboards, and ancient fragile paper. This seemed like the perfect use; it was odd and beautiful, fitting Rose’s sensibilities but didn’t have to be a polished product. I cut out the two inner photos frames from each page and glued over them a cut sheet of 140 Arches watercolour paper except for the last two pages that were a lighter no-name dollar store watercolour paper. This gave me a framed space to work in every other page.
My second goal was to draw every day but also allow myself to be playful and lighthearted. My fake self, Rose, was my age but more romantic, impulsive and flamboyant. I thought of her as feeling a little burnt out in terms of her art and wanting some play time to renew herself and inspire new directions for her work. I pictured her loving saturated colours, textures and layering, experimenting with various media and using lettering as part of design, all things that real me wanted to explore. I thought “celebrating spring” would be a suitable “framework” for Rose and envisioned her picking a 30 line poem about spring and use a line a day as inspiration, seeing herself as part of the tradition of great poets celebrating the seasons. Real me has always felt that spring flew by too fast to catch and by paying attention each day, I hoped to be more present to each day’s seasonal wonders.
I have never felt that I had a lot of imagination, particularly in making up characters, so I was surprised and amused to find that Rose soon acquired a voice in my head. It was fun to “feel” what her opinions and emotions would be…
“ I’m not going to keep doing this poetry thing. It’s too complicated and besides I’m finding it boring”
When I tried to interest her in goinsg next door to draw lambs (what could be more spring-like?!) she flatly refused. And boy, was she grumpy about the cold and snow early in the month!
And both of us came to understand much more clearly that spring is just as much about death and decay as about life and renewal.
Although not me, Rose was of course a part of me that is generally more recessed!
Challenges…the paper was sturdy and good for watercolour although I soon realized that I had to stay away from the glued edges! I may go back and sew the pages with 1 or 2 stitches top and bottom. It didn’t work so well for other media. The frames around every other page were interesting from a design point of view but also restricting and annoying at times.
I did not produce as much rich textured work as I had hoped, but did respond to visual and emotionaI impulses and worked quickly and intuitively keeping to my goal of a half hour to one hour a day, missing only a couple of days in the month.
Committing to posting publicly kept me on track, but even better, meant that I was on facebook daily and much more involved with everyone else’s posting. Seeing everyone’s work was fun and inspiring.
So, I learned a lot, accomplished a month’s body of work, and had fun. (mostly!) Thanks so much to each of you and especially to Roz!