Monday, 21 May 2012

Through the windscreen ...

Through a none-too-clean windscreen
With so many days now being spent on our travels, I am embarking on a new 'art' project: taking photographs whilst on a journey THROUGH THE WINDSCREEN. Not when at the wheel! Husband drives, I take shaky photos and write word whispers to accompany a particular scenario. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't, but it's a challenge - for whilst writing, I miss some of the scenery. Now: capture a photo or two, some of which which will make their way into the travel journal, and I can then put pen to paper after I have checked the atmospheric shot I was seeking. (I have the facility on my digital camera for instant 'playback' and for enlarging any section through the 'screen'). 

Leafy Oxfordshire ...and leaves on the dashboard have sat there since last Autumn
ready to be resuscitated for embellishing my journals (I have a method for doing so)
Sweet papers are today's detritus whilst in need of speedy sustenance!
So this today, on the way back from Pangbourne, taken / written in the rush hour on the Oxford bypass:

"The oxeye daisies are in bloom,
and meadow buttercups,
in Oxford lanes;
May blossom in the hedgerows,
campion, vetch, and ribwort plantain.
And in the water-meadows
rushy sedge and golden kingcups,
demure amethystine ladies smock
and the green, green willow."

 October 2011: crossing the
Severn Bridge
taken from our newly
acquired motorhome
and in the rain
This facility, trialled over the last few months, will add a whole new dimension to my travel journals. Ideal for my narrative on the long drive to Dover and the even longer stint across France, Belgium and Luxembourg to Germany on a working assignment, and thereafter a few weeks later, to Ireland. Only problem is that for a part of these journeys, I will be driving! Can't take pics, can't write, can't read the map, eyes on the road ..... 

But I will be one snap-happy lady when I'm the passenger, even though I must map-read for my driver. And I have simplified my techniques for on-the-road travel journals, partly because time is always at a premium, and partly to reclaim the space taken up by too many art materials for other essential items. More to follow (page trials next post).

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Layout page

Oops - taken in less than perfect circumstances (double click to see it more clearly)
Terrible photo, I know - it was taken in the motorhome after dark and nowhere to prop it up other than on the bed. But - if you can see it at all - it is the layout for the first two pages of my concertina Malvern Journal. My experimental technique page was posted a few days ago, and this is my long-established method of producing a layout which I used for so many years as a magazine publisher. It will make the actual production so much quicker, though will still be somewhat experimental as I will be feeling my way. And, believe it or not, I have hit upon a development of what I will be doing here for our forthcoming press trip to Germany. For on these working visits, there is far too little time for creating, though the thought of going without my travel artbox would leave me totally bereft. I just have to have something 'artful' with me.

I cannot post more images tonight , but what I have been able to do is to set down in my notebook the procedures I use when creating a project like this. To end tonight (22.20hrs GMT), I can only apologise for the photo quality; maybe if you click on it, it will be a little clearer. It ends my fours days at the Malvern Spring Gardening Show; a different working experience for me after visiting this Show for the last six years as I branch it onto new publishing genres.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Collecting images ...

In the rain - and through the windscreen
Two days at the Malvern Spring Gardening Show has not left me any time to progress my 'altered pages' - I have had to contend with rain, rain, rain, mud and WiFi problems which delayed the work-process (for which we are actually here!) But that achieved for the opening Press Day, and the sun now shining (19.21hrs British Summer Time), the pages-to-be are falling into place in my mind, if not in actuality. And as yet, I have only covered but a part of this beautiful showground. So much more to see and capture. The rain has cleared and the hills are thrown into sharp relief, as if they had been cut from the sky with a scalpel (unlike the image above, which was taken on the move from the motorhome cab, in the rain, on our way here).

It's been almost too wet and dull to take my usual photos of scenes and objects that will inspire my pages and map trails, but the two posted here will become a part of my library of useful images. Above (left) a blue poppy - which I could never grow for our solid and climate is all wrong, but I can see it as a sketch / painting within the Malvern pages, in miniature (my preferred 'modus operandi' - after a glass of wine!) The words, not the mini sketches. I'm will be trying a new technique for transferring onto the page; but that must follow once attempted.
And so I snapped other images - something I do everywhere I go. Not specific scenes or objects, but pattern and texture - cropped out of the background, they can be printed or transferred onto paper or fabric as page backgrounds, or digitally manipulated with word-whispers superimposed. Can you visualise how the reed-screen and bug-hotel (photographed yesterday in a school garden display) could be used? Abstract images can trigger words, the thought-process is a fascinating one. And so, even though circumstances change and the pen on the altered page has not snail-trailed its way out of the art-bag, I have something to take back with me; something to use in current and future projects.

What is such fun, is that you never know what will suddenly take your fancy, hidden just around a corner.

Monday, 7 May 2012

One and one makes three ...

Last week has been one of continual experimentation! New laptop, new operating system, new software - and all to make work easier when we are travelling. A steep learning curve. And then, I decided that with all this new technology, I would slightly re-vamp this blog (and others in my portfolio) and add 'pages' - sections that contain material extra to the main flow of any post. You can find these by clicking on any of the topics in the top bar, below the 'Journaling the Journal' heading. Each is self-explanatory (I hope), and content will follow; rudimentary for the moment, as I wanted these new sections to be set up before we depart for the 'Malvern Spring Flower Show'  from whence I always blog live (WiFi permitting). Double-click the image if you would like to read the page at full size.

Before any visit to Malvern (a venue we love and to which we return at least three times a year), I start a new creative project. Part-planned before leaving, it usually involves some prepping of pages (or maps) before we leave. And because I am never sure how things will pan out, I all but take the proverbial kitchen sink in the way of equipment and materials. Circumstances now mean I must eliminate boxes and baskets 'just in case'. I've slimmed down but, until I had played with the techniques I want to use, could not decide what I simply COULD NOT DO WITHOUT - and these were predicated on travelling with less. Without my intermittent creative play, truly I would lose my sanity; it is my release, and my way of switching off. So this morning, out with some simple materials, and a little play-time. Colours are necessarily pale to suit this washed out Spring; extra layers need adding. Image shows this experimental page - no proper layout, just repetitive sampling to see what technique works best. Double-click the image to view it at larger size.

An explanation will follow in 'Experimental Work' in the new section; and this I plan to do along with my other blogs when we are actually at the showground, and in the motorhome. Main posts, too of course; the aim is that the main 'JJ' content and the extra topics will weave together in such a way that 'one and one' really will make three. (And from now onwards, wherever you see this 'cartouche' in my main posts, you will know that some content has been added to the material in the top bar; I will tell you in which section. Hope all that makes sense!)

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Something I want to say ....

Time is running out ... If you follow more than one of my blogs (thankyou, I appreciate your interest and kindness), you will see this week that all posts overlap - with virtually similar content. Best, I thought, to make simultaneous announcements. 

With my professional work now crossing several genres, and a necessary change in our lifestyle due to various 'happenings', it seemed sensible to re-evaluate my blogs and the purpose for which each was created - a resume of why they were started and how they have adapted to subsequent factors; which I here share with you, my readers. Although each blog is an entity in itself, they all interlink; the sum of the whole is greater than the constituent parts. Click here for the whole of the story ...