The Documented Life Project 2nd week prompts were provided yesterday and I got right on it. I was itching to do something a little crazy and experimental and that’s what I did. Certainly nothing as ‘pretty’ and colorful as what I normally do!
The Blank Page and How to Face It!
Art Challenge: Gesso
Journal Prompt: “The beginning is always today.” -Mary Shelley
As soon as I saw the art challenge, I knew I wanted to use my Liquitex black gesso as well as whatever white gesso was close at hand. In my mind, I was thinking of a black gesso ground with bits of white, green and a rusty gold (which I did use), maybe some molding paste or crackle paint for texture (which I didn’t use). I had no direction in mind for my spread, no outcome, with the exception of a portion of a quote by Maria Rainer Wilke, the poet, from his early journals (see photo below).
I started off by pouring out a little black gesso onto both pages and spreading it out with an expired airline rewards card. After looking at the black against the white of the blank pages, I got out my Golden gold-green and quinacridone nickel azo gold fluid acrylics and started rubbing little dabs of each onto the white parts of the page with my finger, overlapping the black gesso in spots. Then I took my white Dina Wakely gesso (by Ranger Ink) and a cosmetic sponge and sponged it and a little more of the Golden paints through several different stencils (all from StencilGirl). They were all new stencils that were still sitting on my desk so I merely placed them here and there around the spread for texture, still with no idea or purpose in mind. After seeing the stenciled gesso/paint areas and thinking about the quote, I realized that I had intuitively painted what my mind is like right before starting a new endeavor or project. It looked a-jumble — dark thoughts, questions, fears all billowing up out of the blankness of my mind — before settling into something coherent. I finished the piece by printing out the quote onto a piece of deli paper and adhering it to one page while doodling here and there with black and white gel pens to add dimension to the flat stenciled areas.
This was definitely experimental for me, never being one to start a project without some idea where I was headed. It turned out to be a grunge piece, a style that I’ve only used a few times and am clearly not a master of. But I like the messy result, the dark-side-of-my-mind attitude of it. Will I do this again? I don’t know. I wish now that I had used some white crackle paint to give it more texture in spots. And I wish I had left a little more white space to balance all of that darkness. But I’m glad I tried this technique.
Now I’m off to do other creative projects. I hope you find time in what is left of the weekend to be creative too!