Have you ever worked in an art journal? It’s an interesting experience.
There is no throwing away the pieces you don’t like. They stay there — forever — mocking you.
Yes, quite dramatic. But, it does feel that way. And yes, I suppose I could just gesso the page, or collage over it, but I’d still know it was there — mocking me.
I continue my dramatics to make a point. My Kindergartners feel that way! When they make a piece of art they don’t like, the emotion they feel is often so strong as to be painful. I’m glad I’m engaging in a form of art that allows me to experience, and learn to regulate, these feelings.
Yesterday and today I experimented with a mixed-media piece. I began with watercolors and masked circles. Then I collaged in pieces of water birch bark, and torn pieces of sheet music. I was intrigued by the common color of the two. Then I used acrylic paint to add bits of bolder color, and to begin to incorporate the collage elements more fully.
I had only a vague idea where I wanted to go.
- I wanted the circles to be my repeated marks.
- I knew at some point in my process, I’d use gel pens or paint pens to add some lines, dots, and words.
- I have circle stencils I thought might work to continue my repeated element and give an added depth.
- Words salvaged from magazines would be fab if I could find ones I liked.
Here’s where I landed next.
I liked it, but I wanted to add more. True to form with this project, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to add. Makes sense, I suppose, because I began the project without a clear end, more with a desired process.
So, I repeated the stenciled elements on the right side of the piece. Then I added spirals with a light blue acrylic paint marker. I liked the spirals. They reminded me of water being hit with drops of rain, and added another element of depth.
I added lines and marks using white, silver, and gold paint pens. Several times I considered stopping. Each time I thought “Nope.” and continued.
At that moment I remembered my Kindergartners. There are moments when they are making an art piece that I think to myself. “Oh, that is good.” Do they stop? Sometimes. But other times, nope. I struggle with suggesting they might want to be finished. Perhaps they are experiencing what I was experiencing with this piece. It’s a unique combination of flow, joy, and pleasure with the process. It’s cool!
Here’s the finished page.
It’s busy. But it was so much fun. And, even though it’s busy, I think it’s quite beautiful. The dots, lines, words, patterns, ideas, collaged pieces, and decisions are all a reflection of me and my process.
Perhaps another time I wouldn’t make it so full. But perhaps I would. Either way is fantabulous. Either way is me. That’s what I want my Kindergartners to experience. Flow. Joy. Agency. The fantabulousness of them and their art.
There is so much about this project that I’d love my girls to experience.
Now to consider — what, when, and how.
My thinking cap is on.
The AP Stylebook tweets: Our preferred spelling is kindergartner, not kindergartener.