During these uncertain times, post-apocalyptic-2016-election, I thought it would be a good idea to art journal a little bit about uncertainty. Art journaling for me is generally an uncertain process anyway, but I thought I could delve a bit deeper into the idea. Uncertainty definitely has a ring of fear to it. I found this quote online somewhere; “Uncertainty: turning fear and doubt into fuel for brilliance.”
Now here’s a good example: recently I was uncertain about my cat’s overall health. Basically I suspected that he had worms and that scared me. I turned my fear of cat worms into fuel and quickly got his furry butt to the vet. Ever give a cat a pill? Now THAT is an uncertain process.
Anyway, to begin my uncertain art journaling, I started with a large grid-like rubber stamp smacked in the center of my page spread. I used a black StazOn brand ink pad. I came up with my own quick quote (below) about the word uncertainty. (Feel free to use it!) I wrote my quote using a dark gray “Pentel Sign Pen,” a most fabulous waterproof marker-tipped pen. I also doodled with this pen around my stamped grid. Very free doodles, spur-of-the-moment doodles, no-preconceived-notion doodles. Uncertain doodles. I made sure my doodles had large enough white spaces that would be easily watercolor-able. Spaces that a number 6 round brush could really get into.
I then jotted down several things that quickly came to my mind that I was uncertain about. I used several different colored pencils and wrote inside the spaces left by the doodling. I particularly like the following uncertainty:
Then came the fun part: water-media painting, or the coloring-in process. I used gouache, watercolor, and acrylic inks to fill in the white spaces made by the doodles. I left the center grid area alone.
I went from color to color and media to media intuitively and made these decisions completely in the moment. I had no color scheme, no plan at all. It was totally UNCERTAIN! At some moment I decided I needed some dark contrast and so I colored in a few areas with black India ink. Once my coloring job was dry, I doodled some more using a black roller ball pen and an extra fine white Sharpie Poster Paint marker (a most awesome acrylic paint marker). I also shaded a few of the rounder shapes with some colored pencils.
Gouache is amazing stuff. I’m loving it. I was very uncertain about it at first, but now I find it really quite wonderful. It has a matte, almost chalky finish. This is PERFECT for art journaling because it assures non-sticky pages. It also has a more opaque quality than watercolor.
So I guess my overall message about uncertainty is as follows: Life is uncertain. It always has been. Live in the moment. Don’t worry about things beyond your control. Be kind. Have compassion. Remember that presidents come and go. And always spay and neuter your pets. Etc. etc. etc.
OH! And do lots of art journaling. Lots and lots of art journaling. Not sure how? Come to one of my workshops at The Painted Dog in downtown Brunswick, Maine. Every other Friday, usually from 1-3pm. Check out my classes page for more info!