I've been reading Ali Edward's blog for many years and for most, if not all of those years, she has offered her "One Little Word" class. It is a set of monthly journaling prompts and activities that are centered around a word you choose to focus on, or rather, a word that represents a kind of resolution you hold on to so that you can maintain focus on something positive. This year I decided to join the class. I choose "art" as my word.
Here's the text of the main page:
One Little Word (OLW)- 2015 - Art
I’ve spent a good bit of time thinking about how my life is about to change, due to the kids both becoming adults and my father-in-law passing away. I am really in the midst of these changes as various aspects of them have been occurring for the last couple of years.
At first, the changes were a bit shocking. How I defined myself, how I spent my time, where my priorities were and how I expected to interact with my family members changed dramatically; I don’t think I was very graceful about those changes. I spent a lot of time worrying, being sad, feeling left behind and off kilter since many of the things I had been focused on shifted.
Those attitudes were not helpful to me or anyone else. I decided that I needed to shift my perspective and look at them differently. I decided that I needed to shift from feeling bad, feeling a little sorry for myself, feeling empty or forgotten or useless in some ways, to feeling thankful for the opportunities that I still have, and especially for the new ones that are beginning to come my way. I am trying to shift from worrying to feeling gratitude. I am shifting my perspective.
As part of making that shift in a conscious manner, I am taking part in the “One Little Word” project this year. It is a spin on the idea of a resolution. However, instead of the resolution being some specific action(s), it is a focus on “one little word” and the implications of that word for you in your life.
After much deliberation, I am choosing “art” as my “one little word. I chose it for a variety of reasons. I am using it in a mostly non-literal way. To me, art is mostly about noticing the little details and their relationship to each other. Art is about taking a bunch of small things that may seem insignificant on their own, combining them, and coming up with something much more substantial. “Art” in this usage is about the “art” of looking, noticing and reframing. Making art is a central element in my life. It is part of who I am, how I recenter myself, part of how I find value in myself and how I have something to offer to others. Choosing “art” as my word is also about choosing to find time to be artful and make art more of a priority, a way to make myself more central in my own life. Art, in this sense, is about finding a better perspective, it is about noticing how things fit together in a bigger picture, it is about making time to make art and have art be a way that I recenter how I approach life.
The prompts suggested including what you are letting go of, what you are inviting, a definition of the word and a quote. She also strongly recommended that there be some images of yourself in your OLW entries.
The photos above show both sides of one page. This is important only in that I used an altered version of the photo on the back of the page (another copy of it at least) as the journaling card on the front. I made color copies of some images that evoked the feelings I was feeling when I was thinking about those prompts. I placed the image, ink side down, onto the journaling card, saturated the paper with fingernail polish and then I rubbed to transfer the ink. The result is a very nice, grungy image. I then used a white paint dabber to tone down the colors so that I could add text. I also added distressed stamp ink and alcohol inks to the edges, as well as a few small bits of rub-on numbers for texture. It was a fun way to create some color and indulge in making art.
I also included photos of myself with each of our children.
I found that I was inspired by a few artists. The background on the page where I explain why I picked, "Art" as my word, is from Tony Saladino. If you look closely, you will also find that I have an image by Mae Chevrette, a mixed media artist whose work is super exciting to me. I love her work and the fact that she shares her process and progress on her blog. I knew that I wanted all of my pages to have a similar feel and I was worried that once I wrote on the lovely cards that I made that I might mess up and ruin them so I scanned them into my computer. Next, I imported them into Photoshop and played with them, shifting around colors, enlarging some parts, laying others, etc. That is how I created the background paper for the title page. It is an electronically altered version of the "Letting Go" card. I flipped around some of the texture, "erased" some of the rub-on text and changed the colors using the "exclusion" filter. I am very happy with the end result.
I had time to do this because we are a childless couple this weekend. Ethan is in Thailand and Ellie is in San Diego. I enjoyed having a chance to make art, but I still missed them. When Larr was not home I listed to music he does not like and I sang along. This included the entire, "Mamma Mia" soundtrack. This song made me miss Ellie even more.