I had plenty to work with emotionally for Fire Week in the Elements of Art Journaling Course last week. We were working with fiery feelings, and I was specifically working with rage.
I hesitate to use that word.
It is not an emotion I feel comfortable feeling, expressing or owning. Rage sounds uncontrollable and somewhat dangerous.
So it is not surprising it took me three days and about four or five sittings to complete this art journal spread. My norm is to complete a page in one night or over the course of 24 hours, but this one…not so much.
I didn’t really know where it was going, but I knew I needed to process a particular argument I had with a family member in which I was put down in a very hurtful way. And so there was a lot hesitating, hemming and hawing.
I did the background first, then layered in collage elements, stenciled, then painted over the collage in a darker red, added yellowish, orange streaks to represent fire. I wrote the word fire on one side in big letters. I added in my girl, which is one I drew before, copied on to cardstock, glued on to the page with gel medium. She has a harsh look and I figured she would be perfect for this page.
Then then I painted her face, eyes and hair right on the page. She originally just has a spiky do, but I extended the hair so it is standing up on her head, kind of what my rage felt like.
I did all this over a few days and really let my layers dry and finally I added in the words on the left hand side of the page using a brush nib pen.
Even though I am not comfortable with rage, it was the first word that came to me when I started to write about my feelings. There it was and I think because I had processed some of it in the painting on the page, I was more open to writing about my rage.
And so I let it be on the art page…I let the fire burn on the page instead of inside me. I let myself say what I needed to say to reclaim my power and what I couldn’t say to the person who hurt me and prompted my inner rage. I am very good at denying it and minimizing, but that is the old way of doing things. I am learning to say no, it is not okay… hurtful words will not be tolerated, judgments and criticisms have no place in my life right now. And it is my rage and outrage, which allows me to own that fully and for that I am grateful for it.
This is one of my favorite pages.