What makes a gator a gypsy?

teacher, traveler, photographer, political junky, smash and bash artist, grandmimi, mom, canine companion

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mixed Media Mayhem - #The Documented Life - Surviving the Elements

March Theme
Making Your Mark (Doodles & Mark Making)
March 7
Art Challenge:  As A Layer Element

Journal Prompt:  Surviving the Elements

Thinking about mark making, I was reminded of my efforts to learn Chinese calligraphy.  In a cold classroom in Yangshou I used a traditional brush and black ink to make swooping gestures that in no way looked like those of my master teacher.  After buying stencils and stamps, I was still not satisfied.  My solution was to actually trace characters from a  book and cut them into my own stamps.  I choose words like patience and compassion that were useful in conveying a message. None of my stamps worked for this project based on Elements. I remembered my first day in my 2003 trip to China where Beijing was blanketed with white snow and the sky was actually blue....so unusual.   I asked several people how to say "snow" and "sunny."  Some people wrote it down for me.  I dug these papers out of my travel stash(did I tell you I never throw anything away)  and committed to writing these characters on my page.  Serendipitously, I received a set of Chinese flash cards from Etys' Key Lime Supplies just this week and at the art show last weekend,  a vendor gave me a Chinese umbrella in my drink. All coming together.

I always begin with a nice coat of gesso and notes about the prompt.  

Along with my commitment to use it up...all the good stuff in my stash which would actually take about 50 years and I am 70...I pulled out some precious Japanese paper to tear and paste to the page to give a loose background.

I used a calligraphy brush to write xui, snow, and sunny in  my best interpretation of the actual calligraphy.

Next I looked in my huge collection of Chinese art postcards and museum catalogues to pick out an image that reflected the elements.  I chose a wintry scene, "The Rising Sun" by Zhang Lin.   I liked the lines of the whit trees and the round orange circle.  I tore the sides to blend it better and glued it with matte medium.

I choose several of my flash cards, "sunny," "warm," "conditions," "thunder." and 'snow" and glued them in a rhythmic pattern. Here is one detail...

I wanted to balance the sun on the right so I used the small drink umbrella on the left.  I added my journaling to talk about how the elements I survived in my Florida garden compared to surviving in the environment of my former home state, Massachusetts.

Here is the whole spread put together.


  1. Lovely spread - those Asian elements are tied so beautifully together that the whole is unified with a white winter feel!

  2. Love your journal pages!!! All the elements came together beautifully!