You can read more about the book and process on Liz's website. P.S. this lady is AH-Mazing!!!
When I first started reading "Inner Excavation," I was intrigued by the components she used to explore who we are as individuals. Not what our bodies are, not what we have as a title, but what really makes us each tick and where our inspiration comes from.
One form is through photography, and not your photoshopped magazine grade photos, true, realistic, every day life photos. Do I love photography? Why yes, yes I do. Check. The second form or exploration is through poetry. Writing words and finding meaning from different places where you don't just look at a blank page and try to wordsmith some Shakespeare or Cat in the Hat rhyming piece. Do I love writing? Why yes, yes I do. I've been writing since I was young, I write journals, I write stories, I write feelings, I doodle whenever I have a pen in my hand. So, Check. There's that.
The third component is putting you into your mixed media work. How do you do that? You don't follow specific prompts, you find what themes and ideas you are naturally drawn to and explore that through mixed media.
Before I began reading, I had to have a journal to work on the prompts in..and I had to make it. That was just my take on this fun adventure. I cut manilla file folders in half and punched holes near the spine. That amazing crazy ribbon is actually a really skinny scarf thing I picked up at a thrift shop and I loved using it here.
I ended up not using the journal for completing the prompts, but I did use it for writing down notes and ideas from the book so I could have it with me wherever I went and to apply the things that really stood out to me. I treated the note taking as a fun journaling idea, writing in fun fonts, no particular order.
I decorated the journal with some painted color just to keep it interesting.
I am writing about things in here that I really have to think about. Who are you and what inspires you? Who am I? I'm a mom, I am an artist, I am a...wait. I do those things but they aren't really WHO I am. At the core I am a creative thinker, I am curious, I am the lens that are my eyes into the world which I see full of color and inspiration. What inspires me? Good question. A prompt, sometimes but that is so specific and really just someone else's idea. What inspires me in life to be who I am? Color is a huge one, nature of course, water and the ocean, and I am always inspired by something that challenges me to learn. Notice random notes and doodling. All a process to think about things in a different way.
Again with the fun colors and doodles. No order just a bunch of ideas all together written in a favorite pen that just magically flows onto the page.
Collaborative Art. Do I even do that? I should, we should.
I was mainly reading this book for 2 weeks at the 35 min a time while my son was at a swimming lesson. Hard to put down. I have to confess I don't really "read" art books. I paruse the pages and only look at what I see visually interesting. A lot of intros are the same and they are filled with projects. I ACTUALLY word for word read this entire book. Inspiration and examples from lots of different artists. References to music and and books and things I'd never heard of but are amazingly inspiring and fun because they are all new to me!
And this is the last doodled page in this little journal of fun.
This is my art mess. I work in mess and chaos. I organize to look nice, but that lasts all of 2 minutes and I'm back to this look. I prefer it I suppose!
Some of my very first inner excavation involves a technique I've been attached to now for many a journal pages. At first it was just paint smeared with my finger in many bright colors to achieve the above effect. After that, I started adding texture underneath the color. I haven't been to an art store in over a month, because I have plenty of supplies on hand and it allows me to use my happy mail and things I've collected. I then started to add tissue paper as my first layer and I would used mod podge to glue it to the page. As I laid it down, I wanted the crinkled effect so I just glued over wherever it placed itself allowing for folds and all sorts of textural effects. As for the self exploration, the wings are personal to me and they are a print of of the 5 ft paper mache wings I have on my wall. It's not a self portrait, but it is me. It signifies a personal life situation as well as the hours of cutting thick cardboard to accomplish this project.
This was the happy accident on the left that led me to adding the tissue paper.
Liz's book couldn't have appeared in my life at a better time as you can see by the message of this page. Again loving the finger painting smearing of colors for the backgrounds.
This piece I did awhile ago, but it ties in nicely as the smeared gesso on the left has become the image of a ghost person the more I look at it, (unintentional) and then the erased face and finally finding myself. It's been a long process but the more art I do the more I really accept who I am, that I am truly an artist and not just a hobbyist.
For the Self portrait, I did print out this picture to use as a picture, but then added the ephemera and words that describes what and where I am in my life right now. The really inner workings of this book.
Finally as the photography self portrait suggests, one would think of a face shot or whole body. A self portrait is not only about the physical but the experience being shown so that you and others really know you you are inside. What makes you tick, what inspires you. True authentic you.
This is what I accomplish here. I took this picture on July 19, 2015 at the beach around 7 pm at night and it was still near 90 + degrees, which is not typical for this girl or State. It does combine who I am in photography, as well as the water and somewhat symbolic (although I wasn't going for this at the time) of "just getting my toes wet." Being a better version of myself. A happy version.
I am learning to let go of my own expectations of myself. The way I should be or look. I would not have ever posted this picture below..Nothing is "wrong with it," it is just me anyways. I don't always love my hair back looking short like that but who cares. What you don't know about this photo is it is a visual capture of being able to step out of my comfort zone. To not take the easy way out, to be the mom who will do anything for her son, even in freezing cold ocean water. Long story short, he got a new fishing pole and was practicing casting. The 2 pieces of the pole don't lock together so one time he cast and the top of his pole flew out in the water about 30-40 feet. Now, he's already in the water up to his waist and has been in for a long time. He tries to swim to it, but he's not a strong swimmer yet and he's shivering. After he at least tried I had him come in. In my mind I debate...new fishing pole, or I swim. I had swim appropriate clothes on. After a few minutes I just went for it. No boundaries, no excuses for water too cold. I swam out to that pole and brought it back. That water was FREEZING! This picture symbolizes me lifting my boundaries and living a more free and happy life.