I found this great project last week on The Wright Brain Stuff. Lisa suggested grouping up and working through Keri Smith's book "Mess - the manual of accidents and mistakes". The book encourages us to play and to be creative by messing around.
My copy of the book very conveniently arrived on Friday, so I had the weekend to start getting messy.
Lisa suggested that we started with opening the book at a random page and do what it says on it. That's what it said:
1. Soak the page with water
2. Try oto write on it. Alternate: Drop ink onto wet page.
I decided to go for the ink dropping, and so dutifully soaked the page and started dropping some of my lovely green "Pascha" ink, followed by some walnut ink on it. And then to brighten it up some bright red ink. Of course it all just got worse and worse, until it definitely turned into a very ugly page indeed. The ink dropping part wasn't very hard to do. In fact, this is how I love to paint. Splattering, and dropping paint on canvas, scratching and scraping around, no problem at all. But. I would never have chosen these colours together. They totally go against my personal colour aesthetics. I admit I have a bit of a "colour harmony obsession", and I found it really very hard not to try to make this page look prettier in some way. But I guess that's the point of it. Make a mess. Make it ugly. Don't try to make it pretty. Just mess around.
I added some random doodling, using a black and a white pen. I have about three different white pens now, but I'm still looking for that "perfect" white pen that everyone else seems to have, as none of mine really is working the way I want to.
Well I most certainly managed to make a big mess of this page. I think my biggest
problem challenge with this book are the thin book pages (yes, I have a thick-paper-obsession too). They are of course not really the most suitable for working with inks, paints, and everything very wet. The water did not only soak the page but also dissolve the glue so that one page has come off complete, and the only will no doubt soon follow. But I guess in this case, this is just perfect.
After my first "success", I tried a second page. The instruction was to fill a five-inch square by using all of the colours I had on hand. As I had just very diligently and neatly sorted all my coloured pencils into two separate tins, one for water-soluble and one for non-water-soluble pencils, those were the ones nearest at hand. I must admit it greatly helped to cheer up my wounded colour sense.
The page looked a bit empty with only the colour square, so I added all the colour/paint/doodle etc. mediums I could think of.
Also on the page was a tip about some further research about an American artist called "Sol LeWitt". must admit I that I was not familiar with his work, so I dutifully looked him up, and added some of the information about him to the page. Apparently, he's considered to be the founder of both conceptual art and minimalism.
This is definitely great fun, and I think that it will be a good experience to just mess about and do all kinds of things into, and eve to the book, that I wouldn't normally want to do do (although I think that I will most certainly NOT bury the book in the garden and dig it out again after two days...).
And I think that this could be just the perfect thing to do after a long day at work and commute home in the evening, when you don't really have the mind to do anything "good". Perfect stress management, so to speak ;).