Every autumn SEVEN gets back to (art) school with a fresh theme to take us through to our collective goal that is the Leigh Art Trail. And, for 2023 the theme is — yes! — The Seasons.
Beginning back in October with a small concertina sketchbook each and a jumble-sale meets-nature-table crammed with leaves, branches, and even an owl pellet, to get the juices flowing, we began our art journal adventures.
Wondering how we did that? Read on…
Make Your Mark
Making marks inspired by an object, feeling, or even music, can be a great way to overcome overthinking when it comes to beginning a project. Paint or ink are a good choice to get you going — no temptation to erase so-called mistakes, you see. Then, simply let your hand lead the way.
The next step is to play with those marks. Will they become a backdrop? Will the shapes or lines inspire a certain exploration? Will most of it be concealed with collage, drawing, more paint? Or revealed? Emphasised? And on…
Another way to get your creative juices flowing is to play with words. We often look at poetry or fiction writing for inspiration because the metaphors are so meaty. When Faith Baldwin writes this, for example, it evokes all sorts of images:
“Autumn burned brightly, a running flame through the mountains, a torch flung to the trees.”
But don’t just look to the words of others for our inspiration. We’ll also dabble in a bit of expressive poetry or wordplay crafted from a random selection of words snipped from magazines or old books. That way you create unexpected connections which are yet another source of arty fuel.
The cut-up method has long-been used by creatives like David Bowie for its unexpected juxtapositions and memorable images — so you’re in good company if you choose to embrace it.
As SEVEN always emphasise, playing in a creative sketchbook or art journal doesn’t require artistic prowess.
Believe you can’t draw? Then how about playing with printing? That’s what we did in the initial weeks of this Leigh Art Trail project, and the results are usually pretty effective, providing plenty of collage fodder to play with.
No printing equipment? Hate the mess? Then a box of crayons could be your best friend. Frottage, as it’s known, has been used by everyone from school kids to the Surrealist Max Ernst to create intriguing images. No drawing required. Unless you want to of course!
Springing into Action
So, those are some of the prompts and processes we’ve been playing with for our current Leigh Art Trail project. What’s always so fascinating about working in a group like SEVEN is the multitude of ways a single theme, like The Seasons, can be interpreted on the page.
Be sure to follow our creative concertina books as they unfold from autumn, through winter, spring and summer, over on Instagram.