Wednesday, May 15, 2013

An Exercise in Reflection

I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I think the last time I shared a card from my art challenge prompt decks was early March (Week Nine:  new to me art supply and fire). At that time, the last page I had created in my journal was Week Five (explore a question and smile). I got stuck on Week Six (behind the fence and date night), and then my laptop gave out and I haven't been able to get a new one yet. The one I'm using now is old and crabby but works, so I'm hoping to get back into the groove of posting regularly. In my absence I continued to create, to work on my goal of making art every day, and I have much to share.

First of all, as of tonight, I am basically caught up on all pages through Week Nineteen (there are a few I'm not sure about yet but they all have at least the background layer). In addition, I've taken pictures of all cards from both decks through Week Twenty-One (I haven't finished making the decks beyond that point, but plan to finish those before I need more), and have also taken pictures of the pages I'm working on in my new art journal - I recently got a Moleskine Watercolor Album and used it to start over at Week One.

Next steps are to post photos - of both cards for each week along with my corresponding page-in-progress and some thoughts - once per day. This will include the cards I missed posting as well as the first nine weeks and the new pages I'm working on for them. I'm going to start with the first card for Week Twenty, which starts today:

This is an idea that can be looked at in several ways. The dictionary says: 1) the act of reflecting or the state of being reflected; 2) an image, representation, or counterpart; 3) a fixing of the thoughts on something, careful consideration; and 4) an unfavorable remark or observation. Any of these would make for a great journal page.

For a challenge, try to use them together. Choose an image. Decide if that image will be reflected, or reflect something. Does it relate to careful consideration? Is there a quote that goes with it? On the card I put a photo that shows a mirror reflecting my little sister, but there are other things that reflect - windows or water.

This reminds me of a question I used to ask my friends when I was in high school:  "When you look in a mirror, do you see your self?" Notice the emphasis on the word "self". I never did get an answer from anyone. At first it seems like one of those weird riddles you find on popsicle sticks; then you take a few minutes to step back and really think about the words and their meaning - to reflect, if you will - and you realize that it's actually a frightening question, the answer to which may be painful or uncomfortable.

Sound like something you could journal about? I suggested using these prompts for art journaling just for that purpose - to explore self through art. Thomas Merton said, "Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time." The act of creating can be as meditative as writing your thoughts; I look forward to adding the words, too.

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