I mentioned in my last post that I would expand on my new art and the process. Well get excited, this is that post! I’ve been sharing some pictures on my Instagram and Facebook that tell a piece of the story, but the art will really have more value if you understand the story in its entirety.
As you know, after Nick gave his life in 2011 I didn’t create art for some time. I was pregnant and had a toddler so art fell to the wayside. Even when I found time to do it, I could not find inspiration. I felt all I “deserved” was a pencil and sketchbook and I’d sit down with it and nothing would happen. Two years later the three of us made our way to CO Springs and I found the art journaling group. Through them I discovered using a gelli plate to make printed papers and I fell in love! But what to do with the papers?
Through the process I have realized that making a gelli plate printed paper (monoprinting) is like building a life. From birth we start creating layer after layer, each new one changing the look of the ones before it. You get educated, maybe go on a big trip, are the star basketball player, get your heart broken, follow your dreams, maybe get married and have children, change careers. As it dries you think you see and understand what the final piece looks like. You think every layer is complete and you can just enjoy the beauty of what you created…
Then, for some of us the final piece is changed when your person dies. You are left with ripped up shreds of what you built. You can see colors and details that look familiar but are completely different. It feels like a pile of garbage and you can’t imagine how to put it back together how it was.
But, you don’t have to. Something new and equally as beautiful can be created from the parts and pieces you have been left with. There is no deadline for this. Once you are ready to actually look at the shreds you may see a new possibility in minutes. Or it might take a long, long time before you see even a glimmer of hope. Eventually you will take the ripped up, cut up layers of your life and create something new to enjoy. It will never be exactly as it was but as you create this new image you will see things you recognize and can take forward with you into a new chapter.
So that is what I have begun doing with my pile of papers. I first spent time cutting shapes exactly into segments. I used the prints to represent spots on a giraffe, shapes in the wings of a butterfly, a seahorse, etc. Then I realized this process could have value to other people who have experienced loss and I began experimenting with landscapes. I didn’t want other people, who don’t consider themselves artistic, to be intimidated by the process. What the final art looks like does not matter, it only matters that you pick up the pieces and create it. Just as there is no wrong way to grieve, there is no wrong way to art.
In March I will begin teaching this method to widowed people in my art studio. It’s my goal that people see it as an experience of hope because it’s not just art.