Sunday 8 October 2017

Media Journal: "Fear" (mixed media on gessoed paper)

This piece is my October entry to Dina Wakley's awesome #showusyourmedia challenge done with #rangerink, and this month we have to cover "Fear". I've put it on Instagram as we have to, but I wanted to be able to show the whole process here. To me, it is a man living in darkness looking out of a window at a world being masked by the encroaching darkness spilling from Fear which floats overhead. The colours and beauty of the world are being destroyed by Fear.

What does fear mean to me? I'm very open about my past bouts of clinical depression - I've had two in my lifetime. One hit during my Ph.D and I spent 1 month on Valium hoping it would pass, and then 18 months on Prozac when it didn't pass. I've since been in remission but I have had a few small relapses - the most recent one being around Christmas of 2016, but thankfully it only lasted a week or so and was caused by a pain drug I was trialing. Depression robs of you of so many things and for me, it robbed me of the ability to relax as I was paralysed with fear 24/7 - not the slight nervousness or worrying about finances that most people (irritatingly) call "anxiety" - I mean full blown unrelenting 24/7 clinical anxiety where your heart is racing all the day long and your adrenaline is at maximal levels and your body is ready to fight-or-flight...except you're just trying to sleep or watch TV. It's hell. It really is. NEVER dismiss someone who talks about depression or anxiety - not until you experience them can you really know what it feels like. I felt during both bouts that I'd become a shadow and that all the colour had been robbed from my life and the world. That was the basis of this work. Fear hangs over the man in the picture's world and spills out darkness. The world inside of his window is already just shadow and the world outside of his window is slowly being destroyed too. He has copper to his left, which is associated with beauty and creativity - things fear rapidly destroys.

If any of my readers think that they or someone they know is suffering with clinical anxiety or clinical depression, speak to a medical professional - don't leave it to chance. If you're unsure, you can self-test online for free, and if you live in the UK you can get free online cognitive behavioural therapy - I used that very website over 10 years ago and believe me - it works. You are not alone - but never try to ignore it. Depression is a fatal illness if not treated - you would not ignore cancer, don't ignore depression.

Ranger Dina Wakley Media Journal [BUY NOW: USAUK]
(I used a "watercolour paper" page)

Daler and Rowney Simply White Acrylic Gesso [BUY NOW: UK]
(this is not available in the USA so I recommend this instead)

Old credit card for applying gesso

Ranger Dina Wakley Media Acrylic Paints in:
   Lemon [BUY NOW: USA, UK]
   Lime [BUY NOW: USA, UK]
   Tangerine [BUY NOW: USA, UK]
   Sky [BUY NOW: USA, UK]
   Night [BUY NOW: USA, UK]

Ranger Dina Wakley Media 1" Flat Brush
(this is from the 4-pack of short-handled brushes [BUY NOW: USA, UK])

Dictionary definition of "Fear" 
(mine is from a 1951 Oxford English Dictionary from a second hand book shop)

Paper scraps - mine are from:
   Idea-ology Tim Holtz Correspondance 12" paper stash [BUY NOW: USA, UK]
   Idea-ology Tim Holtz Tissue Wrap Melange [BUY NOW: USA, UK]

Copper foil tape [BUY NOW: USA, UK]

Ranger Dylusions ink sprays in:
   Black Marble [BUY NOW: USA, UK]
   After Midnight [BUY NOW: USA, UK]
   London Blue [BUY NOW: USA, UK]

Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Matte Collage Medium [BUY NOW: USA, UK]

Foam brush for applying Collage Medium

Pipette for dispensing ink

Winsor and Newton ProMarker in:
   030 Black [BUY NOW: USA, UK]

Idea-ology Big Chat stickers [BUY NOW: USA, UK]

Idea-ology Small Talk stickers [BUY NOW: USA, UK]

Ranger Dylusions White Linen acrylic paint pen
(this is from the 2-pack of paint pens [BUY NOW: USA, UK])

Ranger Dina Wakley Media Scribble Sticks [BUY NOW: USA, UK]

STEP 1: I used an old credit card to apply gesso to the page in the journal and left it to dry for a few hours - this is a great way to get a really thin, even coat that is just enough to paint on.

STEP 2: I wanted the idea of colour being masked by shadow but still very much being there, just hidden, as that's what fear really does to you - it makes you forget the colour of yourself and the world, but the colour is still there. I selected Night (of course) as the shadow, and I wanted Lime, Lemon, Tangerine and Sky as my colours of the world.

STEP 3: I also wanted some collage elements and in my scraps bag, I had some strips of tissue wrap torn from the edges of a recent project and an off-cut of paper from a paper stash that had some orange on it and would match the theme. I cut a dictionary definition of "Fear" too, and I arranged the elements on the page to work out how they should go. I wanted to have the paint under them so that they were a window the viewer is looking out of, seeing fear out there, spreading shadow over the world.

STEP 4: I added paint to the page and made some bold strokes, leaving some paint thick and textural.

STEP 5: I applied Collage Medium to the elements and added them directly into the wet paint - I did not worry about ensuring every edge was stuck down. I added a few little bits of Collage Medium over the paper so that it would act as a resist in later steps, but only in a few spots.

STEP 6: Whilst it dried, I was working on another project and went to look for something I needed and I found a role of adhesive copper tape that I'd forgotten and I decided to use some, so I applied it here to add to that abstract "window" concept. The outermost layer of the rape roll had oxidised a bit which made it even better. Once I'd put it on, I added Black ProMarker down one edge and blurred it with my finger whilst wet, so that the copper hardly showed on the one side - it just needed muting a tad!

STEP 7: With the paint almost dry, I used a pipette to apply 1mL London Blue, 0.5mL After Midnight and 0.5mL Black Marble along the top of the page and in a few other places, in separate spots - the ratios were important as I wanted the lighter blue to mix into the darker colours but still be visible. I held the page vertical and let it fall, catching the ink on a paper towel at the bottom of the page.

STEP 8: One spot of the ink looked like a head, so I used Night paint and some rough brushwork (the brush was wet) to apply some shadow and to turn that head into a person in darkness looking out of the abstract window and seeing fear.

STEP 9: With the Night Scribble Stick slightly damp, I 'edged' the whole page with it. I then used Night and Black very wet to border the dictionary cut-out and to add some spatters.

STEP 10: Using the stickers and a white paint pen, I added a phrase at the bottom of the page: "Fear is when no beauty shines and darkness robs the world of life and colour". DONE!

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