In two more days, I will be at the Let Your Imagination Take Flight conference. Between now and then is laundry, packing, about elebenty bajillion emails, and some furious keyboard pounding, as the Beach Ball reaches endgame. This year, I’m pitching again, after a couple years’ break, and I am co-presenting for the first time ever. There’s no time to be nervous. There’s only time for doing what has to be done, and figuring out the time in which I can do it. This entry is getting pounded out in one go, because I have pages to fill, and there is the aforementioned laundry to be done, with the help of Housemate, because I have, according to Housemate and Real Life Romance Hero alike, sustained the most Anna-y injury ever. I hiccupped too hard, and now my back thinks it’s digging-Housemate’s-car-out-of-the-snowbank all over again. Good thing my work involves sitting in a comfy chair.
Every three months, a new issue of Art Journaling magazine comes out, and I pounce on it as soon as I possibly can. Every time, I scan it quickly, then take a longer look later, with beverage of choice, possibly a nibble or two, and drink in all the inspiration. I wish I could make pages like that. I wish I could layer colors and make backgrounds and figure out where to put stamps, and knew the best kind of white pen to write on paint or magazine images, and not look like a third grader on the first day of art class (even though pretty much every artist ever has been a third grader on the first day of art class, at some point in their creative journey.) I look through, and I want to make those pages, and I make some pages, and some of them are kind of okay, but nothing more than that. At some point, I throw my hands in the air and wander off, leaving scraps of waxed paper and blobs of gesso in my wake.
This past weekend, while doing my regular grocery shopping, I made my ritual pass through the notebook aisle and found something I’d never seen before. Cahier style notebooks, with multicolored bright pages, plain black cardstock covers, but -BAM- color explosion inside. I am pretty sure that the package of three notebooks jumped into my cart of its own accord. This is not a bad thing. I hate blank white pages. Hate them. They’re…blank. They’re…white. They’re…:gestures vaguely: there. Daunting. Where the heck does a person start on a plain, blank page? This is exactly why my morning pages have to be done in a pretty book, or one I make pretty with my own embellishments. I knew as soon as I saw these, I had to take a crack at using them to make those pages.
Yesterday, I needed to get out of the house, so I threw a few long-neglected supplies into a bag, grabbed my new toy and headed for the coffee house I hadn’t seen in over two weeks. No overthinkings, only making marks on the page. I’d started at home, with an ink test on the last page of one of the books, and then…I printed. I doodled. I squiggled. I made notes on things I had bought but never tried, or tried once and wandered off because it didn’t work perfectly the first time. I put in my earbuds, put on some Netflix, and I put stuff on the hot pink page.
Here’s a better look at the supplies I used:
I didn’t use the glue stick, because I didn’t bring anything I could glue onto the page, but it’s in the bag, so it’s there when I need it. When it was time to go home, I had a couple other techniques I wanted to try. I slapped some gesso on the next spread of pages (okay, first, I slapped some matte gel medium on the inside cover first, because I didn’t read the label before I opened the jar) and then, when that dried, thought I’d have a go at another thing I’d always wanted to try, and always looks foolproof. It is not foolproof. I am referring to the green blobs in the corners. Those green blobs were meant to be gentle washes of different shades of green. Maybe next time.
Even so, I think I did okay. This is only two layers on one substrate. I still have stamps I’ve been too nervous to try, because they are special stamps, from a favorite creator, and I don’t know, or have forgotten what I did once know, about inking those images and getting them to do what I want. Still, the way I see it, I have two options here. I can leave the special stamps safe in their packaging, or I can rip off the cellophane, slap some ink on those suckers and see what they can do.
In that respect, it’s not all that different from writing. When I sat down with the contents of my travel pouch, and a pristine, hot pink page, with its subtle contrast of lines, I wasn’t going for perfect. Nobody ever had to see this. Nobody would ever judge this (that only applies when one does not slap it on the interwebs, btw) and my only goal was to explore and have fun doing it. I knew I would create imperfect pages, and that took all the pressure away. What did this tool do? What kind of mark does this pen make? Let’s find out. Let the movie play and slap things down on the page and drink tea, censors off.
As the first draft of the Beach Ball bounces its way to the finish line, I’m keeping that in mind, and that’s also the plan for draft two of Her Last First Kiss. Create imperfect pages, on purpose. Let the movie play.