Stopping by the Newsstand before leaving Park Royal South and leafing through some Women’s Magazines:
“As we age we fall apart.” – Bullsh_t!! As we age we stop learning at school, stop working out or playing sports. We keep eating out… and drinking beer, wine, juice, and lattes, all laden with calories. The preservatives laced into conventional foods bulge the middle outward. No exercise leaves the muscles painful and the bones in poor condition. No new ideas result in a flabby brain and slowed thinking or forgetfulness.
Stop believing the bull in women’s magazines about aging; the mags with the ads for all your body, mind, and spirit pains. The articles are written primarily to promote the advertisements that fill you with unnecessary fears and tell you you need manufactured pills, medications or surgery. Take action!! Keep your mind, body, and spirit healthy by avoiding the behaviors that harm them. Take responsibility for your life by following nature and nurture. Avoid conventional stores and commercial products and tune out old wives tales… enjoy the freedom of being your own boss and running your own life. I dare you to throw out your television and newspapers if you will. I overhear more people talking about these as an absolute waste of time and invasion into their free time to think, read, paint, socialize, walk/run… take photographs, choose a new pet, phone a friend. Your choices are unlimited… try some new ones.
I shake off the negativity from the “media salad” and start across the tiny bridge that connects the parking lot with the playing fields. Walking home past the fields with a view to the ocean, I like seeing the beaver’s bare-stick igloo, and the way it displaces the water, causing new patterns of mud to form along the edge of the creek.
While visiting the mall I was keen to study a young Iranian woman in Artigiano early today. She had it!! Voice, power, posture, flash, tan, probably much cash; and she had only a few accessories that differed from mine. Lime green richly hued T-shirt, white leather belt, her shirt was tucked in; hot heels, jeans, wavy, glossy black hair, attitude, cellular, dazzling teeth! We both had designer sunglasses and my jeans are the cool Acne brand. I could try a colored T-shirt, white belt (later I bought a red patent one made in Germany), high heels, and better handbag. My hair is dramatic in the opposite way and I’m fine with it. I don’t like cell phones and don’t use one. I could be taller with heels but she’s taller than my 5’6″. Stunning woman teaches me a lesson: Shut up and Show Off !!
I had caught sight of myself in a plate glass window with a mean-spirit behind it and it threw me a reflection of my expression sagging. I fell into disbelief and hurriedly turned my head and thoughts back to the soft pink lighting of the powder room at home and the mercifully flattering reflections emitted from a 1960’s mirror. The mirrors in the make-up and clothing departments in stores are cuttingly cruel; a tired, worn, dark, expressionless face appears out of my stare and I’m forced to try on new colors and styles to become the mannequins and the women on posters surrounding me. Once in the door at home, I tried on the black capri-length tights and top I bought… up-to-date and sexy. I needed these.
Grateful for hairpins to keep my hair out of my face, off the back of my neck, and above the bathwater.
I consider my journals a collection of me! – in a visual and voiced format. A formation of me; a framework generating a material composition of my days.
Working my way through fashion magazines reminds me of my teens when I reverted into them for place and inspiration. Each glossy page announced the promise of a beautiful future. I spotted people I needed to adopt as role models. The pages whispered of excitement and destinations like Paris and New York.
If you see something in a magazine that makes you think of a friend, clip it out for them, and send it off with a hand-written card or note. My friend Sonny always reaches into her handbag as soon as we sit down together for coffee out, and produces a small sheaf of magazine clips for me, to inspire me. I rework hand-me-down jewelry into new designs by re-assembling elements from multiple pieces. Sonny’s thoughtfulness has led me to new ways of seeing and inventing.
My friend Elaine provides me with three huge shopping bags of fashion mags and one of Vanity Fair annually. She passes them along to me because she knows I need them for collage, and subsequently, I pass them along down the line to friends who are also artists. I keep beautiful floral file folders available for the parts of mags I’m saving. One for articles, one for writing prompts, and one for design tips and ideas. Oops… there’s more: one for creative ideas for paintings and the fifth one is for photographs I admire for their lighting, composition, or novelty subjects. Magazines make excellent reference tools when you slip a piece of silk ribbon or a lovely bookmark into the pages you’re interested in re-visiting.
Begin this art exercise by cutting out things you are attracted to for just twenty minutes. Don’t think about it. Pretend you’ve won a shopping spree and you’re just grabbing everything you can and throwing it into your basket. Have a pretty basket beside you and drop your clippings into it.
These will be, what I call your ipages, or your VIP’s: Very Important Pages. Spend ten or fifteen minutes arranging these on a few large pieces of paper. Choose any background to attach them to. I like pure white or lined, but you decide on the color that best resonates for you and then take a gluestick and secure them neatly to the papers.
Now lay them out and contemplate what you’re seeing. How do you like this glimpse of your inner workings?? What shapes repeat themselves? What colors dominate your collages? Are there ways for you to make changes in your wardrobe or environment using these ideas and objects. A new tabletop display perhaps or outrageous accessories to liven a conservative outfit. Take time; sit down and record your thoughts and feelings about the work you just accomplished.
Flower and garden magazines offer beauty in landscape that can be cut out and pasted over a nondescript book or journal to enhance the cover. Used bookstores have so many bargains jumbled on shelves or tables you might want to pick up a good solid one. When you get home with it you can paste or staple a fresh sheet of paper over a page and make it presentable for attaching particles of fabric, color swatches, ribbon, stamps, photographs; the choices are unlimited. As an alternative, gesso can be brushed over the page and left to dry, and now you have a plain white sheet to work on. Yes, it may be a little imperfect, but in art that’s all the better to show life in matter.
Go inside your ‘new’ journal, your source and improv book, your altered book, and live between the pages for awhile. Photograph some of your results and post the pictures inside. Send me images to post here and we can all be inspired. Failing that show them to your friends and help them try something new; bring them to my blog to view these examples. I remember when I bought my first journal; I could hardly think of what to do, or write down in it, or even what to collect in it. Now the family is horrified wondering how many truckloads it will take to clean out my studio when I… well, you know when. How many trucks it’ll take is open for debate.