IFJM 2014 was a year of many challenges for me and for once I found the art portion of the challenge to be easier for me than the journaling. It all had to do with my difficulty deciding on the author.
Who is she? How old is she? Is she like me or not? She was so amorphous I even contacted Roz for help on defining a persona. Roz’s solution was so elegantly simple I’m almost embarrassed to admit my failure. Sit down, think hard and write it out… plan.
I had pages and pages of planning. I wrote out every option I could come up with and then took a lovely vacation to San Diego. Eureka! I picked up a few San Diego magazines and decided my character would be a San Diegan who finds herself in New England as winter turns to spring. The big challenge was to convey this and her spirit all the while obeying Roz’s edict for “No Explanations”.
The art journaling was easy part. I had a sheet of Strathmore Aquarius II left over from a previous project that I tore down to create a double pamphlet journal consisting of 2 signatures of 5 folios each. This gave me 40 pages, each approximately 5.5″ square. But at one page per day I’d have extra pages. Since I really wanted to fill the book, I created a calendar and roughed out my page usage. You can see it in the image above.
Earlier in the year I received a basic set of 12 Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelle watercolor pencils as part of a give-away sponsored by Stillman & Birn.
I’ve never worked with them and had no idea how to proceed except by trial and error and the help of my personal tutor… YouTube. I only knew that the author worked differently than me. She would draw no ink lines, instead jumping right in with the watercolor pencils and using a travel watercolor brush to wash them out. Very fun!
Since neither she nor I have ever worked with these pencils, she added a color chart to the inside front cover. It helped remind her which pigments would blend to create the colors she wanted.
I gave myself a time limit of 15 minutes to create the images and to work from life. For the most part I was able to stick to that. One day, due to lack of planning, I found myself without a plan and the clock ticking its way toward midnight. That day I drew from memory. If you go back and look you’ll realize what day it was not only because it has the latest timed entry but also… the subject has no shadow!
I had only the vaguest idea of who my character was so I wasn’t surprised to see that over the month she developed in ways I hadn’t originally planned. Only now can I see how her anxiety builds as she tries to cope with her feelings of inadequacy regarding her mother’s illness. This was the darkest fake journal I’ve done and I admit to my own anxiety in creating her situation. Lately I’ve been reflecting on friends, family and mortality in my own journal and seeing those issues through another’s eyes… even if those eyes were created by me… helped my perspective.
So goes my explanations for the year of “No Explanations”.
Hmmm… what will next year bring? Stay tuned… I’m already planning.