Wednesday, May 18, 2016

IFJM 2016 Wrap-up Post

April was such a fun month for me!

Fake author background:  I based my fake author, Lizzie, on an alternate personality of myself:  When I was 10, I wrote a letter to my "future self" and packed it away to be read when I was in my 20's.  In 1992, I wrote another letter to my "future self", which I read a few years ago.  I had been meaning to write another letter to my "future self", but I just hadn't gotten around to doing it.  

This was where Lizzie begins -- to reply back to "her" past "self".   At the end of the month, she DOES get around to writing that letter to her future "self" (which is something that I still need to do!) :-)     Since Lizzie will never be able to actually mail each of the letters to the past or the future, I had decided that each letter in the month would have to be to someone/something that Lizzie would not be able to mail it to: someone from the past, a ghost, someone who died, a stranger, a character from a book, a beloved pet chicken, etc.   This would also explain why Lizzie happened to have all of these letters, and why she used previously canceled postage stamps.

I thought it would be fun to intertwine her story with that of my fake author from 2010, Marie.  Marie was dealing with the loss of her twin sister, ZoĆ«, who died in a fiery car crash in 2009.  The theme of "loss" was prevalent throughout the month and how Lizzie was (and was not) able to deal with it.   

The final letter's envelope is black -- which may (or may not!) be a clue as to how things end with Lizzie. 

Goals:  My goals for the month were to use materials that I had on hand and to try and spend some time working with different mediums and take note on what I liked and disliked.  I have a tendency to bounce around and never really explore a particular medium in depth.  My overall goal for the year is to change this tendency.

The "journal" was made from a large sketchbook that I had.  I cut out the pages to make both the envelopes, and the letters that are inside.  I also had a lot of vintage postage stamps that I had been wanting to use for a very long time -- so I was very excited about the thought of a month of mail art.  

The paper I used was not friendly to some mediums.  For the first letter I used a dip pen and fountain pen ink, and the ink bled and feathered.  Since the envelopes were made from the paper in the sketchbook, it wasn't intended for watercolor --but it did have some decent heft to it (no clue what weight it was).  I was able to use watercolor pencils and Stabilo Tones without much of a problem (no buckling) other than the fact that I could not re-work the paper or make any corrections due to the sizing issue. 

Hand's down, I can say that I really dislike using colored pencils.  I don't know if it has to do with the brand of pencils that I own (Derwent Coloursoft), that I don't know how to use them correctly, that they don't erase well, that they are not as opaque as I like...not sure.  But I really don't like them.

Interestingly, I didn't mind using the Col-Erase pencils to draw Wyatt Earp...

I also was not fond of my watercolor pencils this month.  They just seemed kind of pale, boring and "blah" to me.   I am fond of saturated colors and the transparency of watercolor doesn't always appeal to me. 

Not surprisingly, I liked using the Stabilo Tones (Stabilo Woody).  I like the saturation, the fun pops of color, and that they did NOT smudge on the paper!  Woo Hoo!!  LOVED that!!  (When I use them in my journals, they always smudge on the opposing page and it drives me nuts. )   I don't mind getting messy when I paint and I often use my fingers to smear things around; but, I cannot stand smudging on my paper where I do not want the smudging to be.  (I have this love/hate relationship with graphite as well).

Pigma Micron pens worked great on the paper.  I really like the look of pen and ink drawings (especially those crazy-detailed ones!) but I am quick and impatient by nature and find all that detail to be very tedious.

Future goal:
Based on my likes/dislikes, I hope to pick ONE medium and work exclusively with it for at least a month.   I am currently at a loss as to which one it will be.  Part of me wants to focus on colored pencils to see if I can discover some hidden love for them --- and another part of me wants to toss them in the trash and work with something else... 

(Roz -- I'd appreciate any thoughts you had on this dilemma!)

And I need to bind up Lizzie's Letters --- I will post a picture when I am done!

IFJM -- April 30, 2016

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

IFJM -- April 29, 2016

My darling Martinella,

How do you love a person
who never got to be,
or try to envision a face
you never got to see?
How do you mourn the death of one
who never got to live.
When there's nothing to feel good about
and nothing to forgive?
I love you, my little baby,
my companion of the night.
Wandering through my lonely hours,
beautiful and bright.
What does it mean to die before
you ever were born,
to live the lovely night of life
and never see the dawn?
Ah! My little baby,
you lived like anyone!
Life's a burst of joy and pain.
And then like yours, it's done.
I love you, my little baby,
just as if you'd lived for years.
No more, no less, I think of you,
the Angel of my tears.
   ~Author Unknown

All my love,

Monday, May 16, 2016

IFJM -- April 28, 2016


I remember that day at the soda fountain: me with my cherry phosphate, you with your lime.  You talked of sea air and the thrill of adventure: safari's in India, the pyramids of Egypt, cattle drives in Australia... "No place for a little girl", you said, as you walked out of the shop and out of my life. 

I would imagine you lying by a campfire beneath a star-filled desert sky -- wondering if you were thinking of me as I was thinking of you.  I kept a knapsack on my shelf with essentials (compass, map of the sky, Snicker's bars) hoping that one day you would return and we would set off on your next adventure together.  That day never came.

They tore down the little soda fountain about 10 years ago.  (A cafe was built in it's place.)  I go there sometimes with friends, searching the faces of all those who pass by -- hoping one day I will recognize your dark brown eyes.  

your little girl

Sunday, May 15, 2016

IFJM -- April 27, 2016


It's been 7 years since I've seen you and your blue Peugeot -- an instant when the lives of strangers became forever intertwined.   I have relived that day so many times in my mind, always hoping the end would change.  Sadly, it never does.    I keep thinking that if only we had stayed for one more cup of tea or if I had turned left instead of right, they would still be alive.

Some days I think it should have been me who died instead of a beloved sister in the prime of her life -- my baby with her life yet un-lived.   I aim my anger at you, the wet pavement, the broken stop light, the setting sun, that silly blue car...

They say time heals all wounds (only time will tell if this is true); but, my wounds still seem fresh and I wonder how long it will be until I can smile without feeling the guilt of being alive?


Saturday, May 14, 2016

IFJM - April 26, 2015

Dear Red Gnome,

I had been thinking of you today and figured I'd drop you a line, as you have been so quiet as of late.

Have there been any more attacks by the Goblins on Father Christmas's home?  You and N. P. Bear were so instrumental in helping to vanquish them several times before;  but, Goblins do have a way of sneaking about and rising up when they are least expected...

Father Christmas's visit last December was such a nice surprise for the boys (Thank you SO much for canceling that request for the pony!   Our neighborhood does not allow us to have farm animals).    I hope he has gotten over his cold and that he took my advice about rubbing Vicks on his feet.  (Strange, I know, but it really DOES work!)   Make sure that he wears the socks I knitted him and to get those drafty holes patched up at Cliff House -- I'd hate for him to have pneumonia this year.

Take care, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Love, Lizzy.

P.S. -- for Karhu:

(Images written in the Goblin Alphabet translate to: "Be a good bear and take care of Father!")

Friday, May 13, 2016

IFJM - April 25, 2016

Sweet little Mishka -- 

I was at the zoo today with the children and there you were: gangling legs, you could barely walk, yet you stood taller than I!

What were you thinking when you saw us all pointing as we gaped at you?  You stood leaning quietly against your mama as you took us all in...   I am beginning to wonder which side of the fence was truly on display?   (Perhaps it was us with our silly hats, bright colored shoes, climbing and jumping off benches, shrieking and running around!)

There was something about seeing you today that made me feel at peace knowing that while it does not appear so from our point of view, life truly is just a brief moment in time.  It is delicate and fragile and fleeting, yet could be magnificent if we let it be so.

You won't stay little for long, Mishka (not that 6' tall and 190# is very "little"...), and the next time we meet you will have become so noble that it will be hard to remember that not so long ago you were unsteady and uncertain as you made your way through the world.