Postcards to Voters (and an update)

Hello! It’s been a long time since I posted on this blog. I have abandoned social media for various reasons and will be attempting to post here at least weekly instead (I’ve said that a million times before, but I’m hoping this time is different).

Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have been feeling really uncomfortable about sharing my journals and art online. I had been dealing with a lot of heavy personal issues prior to California going into lock down, but it felt selfish to broadcast my problems when people around the world were – and still are – facing much greater hardship. When George Floyd was murdered by police in Minneapolis, MN in May and the protests began, I felt even more insensitive and selfish to post personal art. I spent a few weeks wrestling with myself about how to proceed with my Instagram account while continuing to educate myself, share resources in my stories, and doing what I could to support Black Lives Matter.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of the resources mention voting in the US elections in November. I am a British citizen living as a permanent resident in California so, unfortunately, that isn’t an option for me. I was exploring ways that I could help and I stumbled across Postcards to Voters, which is an initiative that sends “friendly, handwritten reminders from volunteers to targeted voters giving Democrats a winning edge in close, key races coast to coast.”

I remembered that my husband got a postcard like that during the mid-terms and I thought it was really cute and thoughtful; much better than an invasive phone call/text or unsolicited email – I even added it to my journal:

A cute postcard with cats on it, sent to my husband from Postcards to Voters in the 2018 mid-terms and stuck in my art journal.
A cute postcard with cats on it, sent to my husband from Postcards to Voters in the 2018 mid-terms and stuck in my art journal.

I thought this was a perfect way to get involved as an artist and awkward introvert! I made sure that I was eligible to take part as a non-citizen of the US, and signed up. In mid-June I was approved by Postcards to Voters and sent these handmade postcards off to Florida to encourage Democrats to register to vote by mail, which is going to be super important in November:

Handmade postcards made for Postcards to Voters with illustrations of cute dogs and a butterfly encouraging Democrats to vote in the US election in November 2020; the postcards were created with ink and acrylic markers.
June 2020

They were so much fun to make and felt like I was doing something to help rather than feeling woe-is-me and unable to contribute. I’m planning to get a couple of the designs printed and be part of more campaigns in the coming months!

I’m still thinking about my art and my journals and how I want to proceed, but I will be sharing more here and probably working through all of that as I go along. I recently finished the journal I’ve been working on since lock down, so that will probably be next week’s blog post.

I’m also planning to add a list of what I’ve been listening to, watching, and reading (and recommend!) each week to keep sharing resources and to hold myself accountable. I have also added a link to a Black Lives Matter resource card at the top of my website.

This week I was…

Listening to

Watching

Reading

Hope you are all staying safe and well. Take care of yourselves.

Making Peace With the Past: First Teen Crush

My main project for 2018 is recycling painful past journal entries to create new art and make peace with the past.

I wasn’t kidding about taking my time with this project, huh? I started this second spread in January and I finished it this morning, but I think during that time I finally figured out the right balance of old versus new that I was trying to achieve. Even though it’s probably going to be my most light-hearted page, I’m glad I took the time to process it and build on it.

The meaning behind this page isn’t very deep. Dexter Holland (The Offspring) was my first teenage crush and 2000 was the peak of my obsession – I don’t think there was a journal entry from this time that didn’t mention him. It was such a pure over-the-top teenage girl crush that I thought it was only right to preserve it and dedicate a spread to him!

As usual with this project, I tore up pages from an old journal (summer of 2000) and painted over them. I left some writing and clipart about Dexter peeking through and added pictures of him and Noodles that I drew in 2000. I added in the drawing/painting of the Smash album art, some doodles based on other Offspring album art, and lyrics. I think I made a page that 13 year old me would be proud of!

Who was your first teenage crush? Do you still like them or do you look back on it with a “what was I thinking?!”? I would love to hear about it!

Making Peace With the Past: Taking My Time

My main project for 2018 is recycling painful past journal entries to create new art and make peace with the past.

I started keeping journals in the summer of 2000, just after turning 13. My first attempt at journaling was quite cute, really. It stemmed from boredom at having to be dragged around the country watching my younger brother play cricket. I was still slightly too young to stay home alone, so 3-4 times during the summer holidays we would stay in hotels for 2 or 3 nights at a time and visit different cricket grounds around Wales and England. To amuse myself, I would provide a running commentary of our travels while writing about my favorite things (namely The Offspring, my cuddly toys, wrestling, and boys – it was a simpler time) and also fill the book with little doodles – I was sort of art journaling before I even knew the term!

July 21, 2000 – An excerpt from the original first entry in my first ever journal

I decided to start this project with the journal from 2000 not only because it made sense chronologically, but because I thought it would be an easy one to deal with. I was barely a teenager and my writing was still very upbeat and optimistic (even though I was bored and hated not being at home on the computer!). However, I still found it difficult to start this process.

July 23, 2000 – A drawing of a school near the cricket ground my brother was playing at

It took me two weeks to finish the first spread, which was frustrating to me. During my Year of Creative Habits project last year, I got in the habit of making journal pages quickly and often. I think this is going to be a good lesson in slowing everything down and taking my time. I will have to keep reminding myself that this isn’t something I can just finish in a day, week, or even a month. Just because I am able to complete pages quickly, it doesn’t mean I necessarily should. I want to make sure I do this right and in a way that I won’t regret later.

I made the decision to do my best to preserve any art I made or ephemera I kept from the time. I am also keeping a note of anything I think might be important for me to remember, with the rest being torn up and covered over. Here is how the first spread turned out:

The page turned out messier and busier than I would have liked, but I think it was because I started pushing paint around in frustration. I wanted to start but I didn’t know how. Slapping paint on haphazardly meant I was at least doing something with it.

I was tempted to update the doodle and make it bolder/better, but ultimately thought it was better to keep it the way it was drawn the first time. I think it gives that part of the page a dreamy, “in the past” look. I also kept the Offspring clip art I was so proud of!

Hopefully now that I’ve made one page, it won’t be so difficult to carry on… but I’m also allowing myself to slow down and take as much time as I need.