Putting the Pieces Together

Today is my third day as an art journalist. Hurray! That’s a bit of a milestone for me. I usually become discouraged and disillusioned with art journaling even before I reach Day 3, so I’m delighted that I’m finding ways to truly put the pieces together and make this project into an on-going part of my art.

I’m especially pleased with today’s page.

August 12 2020 - Nostalgia
Nostalgia – Art Journal Page

What I like most about this journal page is that it’s a page that was planned. Even before I came down to my art studio this morning, I knew what I was going to do. I knew how I was going to do it, and I knew why I was going to do it.

Does that mean this journal page turned out exactly the way I envisioned? No, not at all. It is, in fact, a far cry from what I’d put together in my head, but that’s all right. It’s a completed page, and I like what it says.

The concept I was working with was NOSTALGIA, thoughts of childhood, times past, memories of growing up. I didn’t do any “word play” as I’ve done on previous days. I didn’t need to, because this time, images came quickly to mind.

The image I most strongly associate with childhood is Mary Cassatt’s painting, The Child’s Bath. I’ve shared it in this blog several times. I’ve used it as a basis for my own playful watercolor paintings. I love this quiet, gentle image of a mother and child.

Mary_Cassatt_-_The_Child's_Bath_-_Google_Art_ProjectThis painting was my first introduction to art. When I was a tiny girl — no more than three or four — we had a small puzzle of this painting. Oh, how I loved it! It was part of a nightly routine. After my bath, I could wrap myself up in my jammies and robe, step into my little house slippers, and put together all the pieces of this puzzle. There were perhaps 18-20 pieces. Child’s play. It was my favorite time of the day, those quiet, peaceful, serene moments before bedtime when I could take all the pieces that had been scattered about and put them in place. It was, I suppose, my way of making sense of the world, my assurance that all was well as I put my head on my pillow and fell asleep.

Growing up, I also came to love Age of Innocence by Joshua Reynolds. We had a reproduction of this painting hanging on my bedroom wall. I was awed by it even then.

Another favorite was Andrew Wyeth’s painting, Christina’s WorldThe painting was mysterious in so many ways — a scene of longing, a scene of loneliness, a scene that reflected many of my own feelings in childhood. At the time, I knew nothing of Anna Christina Olson, the inspiration for this painting. It wasn’t until much later that I learned her story. I came to love the painting then even more.

For my nostalgic journal page, I wanted to bring these paintings together, and what better way to bring back all those memories than by making them into puzzle pieces?

First, I prepared a background with three shades of blue watercolor. Blue has always been my favorite color. Next I found my images and then… oops! I forgot. My printer is all but out of ink. Never mind. I printed the images out anyway. Since recycle is the overall theme word for August — in the Artful Academy Course I’m following — what could be more perfect that using an ink cartridge that’s already been used up!

It’s part of my philosophy of doing the best I can with what I have. So, my images came out in shade of soft pinks. Not what I had in mind, but the more I looked at them, the more I liked them.

I cut them into puzzle pieces, arranged them on the page, and then decided to grab a bit of the washi tape I have in my craft box. My initial thought had been to maybe outline the jigsaw pieces with thick black ink lines, but I changed my mind about that. I considered outlining with washi tape, but discarded that idea quickly. In the end, I just made diagonal stripes with the tape, and I’m happy with it.

As I look at this page, I can see lots of interesting things, the sort of things a psychologist might have a field day with. I could interpret the various positions of the pieces as sub-conscious reflections perhaps, but I don’t need to do that. Whatever deeper meanings this little art journal page might hold would have meaning only for me. Maybe I see them when I look at it, and maybe that’s another reason why I like this page.

Maybe I’m feeling that I’m once again putting the pieces together. In this crazy, jumbled world, that’s a good feeling. My pieces don’t fit together perfectly, and maybe that, too, says something about life. But the simple truth that this page shows is that we can take different pieces, even pieces that are worn and “used-up”, and we can still create something beautiful from them. At least, I find this page beautiful. I hope you like it, too.



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