Sunday, 13 May 2012

Mud Mud Glorious Mud

Yesterday I was showing my messy output to my partner's 18-year-old son. He was somewhat bemused. The mess didn't faze him, but the concept was slightly out of touch. He already thinks I'm a bit of a loony hippy type and I guess I just added fuel to the fire - though he was very impressed by cress.

I think he was fairly comfortable with the fact that I was enjoying this strange hobby until I confessed that I was also leading a band of merry mess-makers across the globe and that you were painting your car tyres and getting snakes involved. I think I may have opened his eyes to a whole new world of crazy creatives in touch with our right brains.

Frankly he has nothing to talk about - what with his obsessions with his hair, wearing trousers that deliberately show his underpants and hanging smelly deodorisers in his car. Youth today eh?

Anyway, we digress... We've been sharing our family's reactions to our Mess as we've gone through the weeks, but I thought that this week we might be braver. How about taking our challenges further afield. Start gently with friends, colleagues... then maybe push yourself. Ask a stranger to join in. Who dares set up camp on the pavement with a pile of chalk and invite passers-by to add their mark to your sidewalk masterpiece?

I may take a page to the supermarket and leave it on a shelf with a pen and a few instructions, returning later to see if any brave soul has listened to their heart's creative whisperings among the tinned beans and washing powder. It might be a good idea to put it at child height - our younger friends are more tuned in to picking up opportunity than their parents after all.

I leave you with this challenge as a starting point. Make of it what you will or simply continue on your own messy journey though the book. Today the sun has come out for the first time in what seems like two months so I am taking my little boy to some gardens and bluebells woods for adventure. Their website warns to wear wellies - sounds like a mess opportunity if ever I heard one!!

When we're back I'll post some pictures here...

Later.... It turned out not to be so muddy after all - so I went looking more closely for me mess and blogged about what I found...

Saturday, 5 May 2012

How do you like your mess in the morning?

In the flesh this all lumpy and bumpy and full of texture with words jumping out at you. I think it's trying to tell me a story but is struggling to remember the plot

You'll find me saying "that's interesting" a great deal at the moment. I might be observing the effects of acrylics on dried pva glue when sprayed with water... or the intriguing patterns and colour mixes from shaking my camera while taking shots. This is me celebrating the accidents and mistakes.

Pretty shapes that weren't really there captured by a shaking camera. I'm not even going to tell you what this is... just let your imagination come up with the story.

Have you thought about how the work you are doing in your messy journals and the lessons you learn are spilling out in your own lives? Don't you find it's feel very positive to be making mess? I tipped too many herbs in my pasta sauce - it was no longer a dreadful mistake. It was a new taste experience, a different take on a familiar recipe. We're breaking rules that are meant to be broken. We're pushing buttons and trying on outrageous costumes.

I love how the camera blur gives this painting of mine such an angelic feel - another happy accident!

I for one am loving it. I found myself smiling this week when I found myself questioning the instructions in Keri's book. These strips of paper were supposed to be blank... but mine had words on. Also, it's 'interesting' that when she wrote that we should drop them at the same height I assumed it would be from just that...  height. But have you ever tried to drop wispy bits of paper onto a very small book from waist height. They spiral, they curve, they take any direction they wish (except straight down onto the glue covered page). It turns out that 'height' could also be just an inch from the page.

My challenge to you this week is to embrace every mistake outside of your book work as 'interesting' and see where the thought process leads you and within the book, let's see how differently we might be able to interpret a set of instructions by discarding the first thoughts that come to mind - let's see how far we can push ourselves.

Look closely at the picture above. What do you see? I took this photo as a blurry experiment. It wasn't until I saw it on my pc screen that I realised just how fascinating it was. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I found it "very interesting."

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Growing into my mess

Well, I did warn you that I was up to something... Behold the plant life growing from the spine of my book...

Yes, I felt it might be necessary to spice things up a bit, but as I didn't have any cumin seeds to hand, cress was the next best thing. What an experiment! I'm not sure about how I might later use this in my creative endeavours - but it was fun! I've had to leave the book aside all week though, so as not to disturb my tender shoots.

It has been interesting to follow the experiences of the messers through the Facebook Group. Some are reaching a wall of tolerance - where they just don't feel comfortable while others are becoming dangerously addicted. Everyone has their own limits. What this book seems to do is help us discover ours.

I think sometimes that we are worrying that our work is too pretty, but that's not the case. If you create something beautiful while throwing paint (or even food) about, then that's just perfect. What we are doing here is pushing boundaries and seeing both where they take us and what we find when we get there.

I've been playing with macro shots of cress shoots in PhotoShop. Certainly something I would never have thought of doing had I not grown them in the spine of my book!

If the thought of smearing egg over your book really makes you nauseous, then break a few rules. Do something entirely different with that page. Rip it out and make some origami. These rules are definitely made to be broken - so go smash a few with wild abandon!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

In my element

OK, I admit it - I am a rather messy person (understatement of both this century and last). It wasn't always this way. I blame my Muse. Ever since she started showing up on a regular basis, we've lived in a state of perpetual confusion. Believe it or not, there is actually a dining table underneath all that clutter and I did not stage the photograph! The top picture shows the cover of the book slowly disappearing. The page I ripped out is under the glitter.

I have certainly found it easier this week to be much less conservative and possessive over my journal. Working with you all in the Facebook Group and encouraging you to take your expression to the next level has helped with my own - after all, I do have to practice what I preach!

I hope you aren't finding me too bossy and take the suggestions in the spirit with which they are intended! It seems that way ... I have just read that Kristin has been flashing the neighbours while stomping over her book in the mud and rain which is just what I wanted to hear! As I said on Facebook, being labelled the neighbourhood eccentric is a added bonus of this book group. No need to thank me... all part of the service!

I am open to suggestion how we do things each week. Right now it looks as if we're all having fun and beginning to learn to experiment. Would you like to all try a specific exercise together each week? Do feel free to make your own suggestions.

I think this week has been a timely reminder that we are playing and experimenting rather than creating something to hang in a gallery. As we look more closely at our own and each other's mess, we'll start to pick up new techniques to try out on the 'real thing'. Jez's blurry daffodil photo is a great example.

Remember, you don't have to stick to the book (though I appear to have glued myself to it a few times!!). By all means create your own challenges and experiments then stick pictures of them in the book (if they don't fit themselves) and of course, share them with us!

I'm having such fun. I've just drawn this kingfisher with Inktense pencils on a watercolour background. Rain is forecast so it's going out in the garden all night.... Will report back on what happens. Eek!

PS - sorry this post was so late today. Busy with family stuff. Meant to smear BBQ over my journal but forgot - tish!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Can you mess?

It's not easy is it? The temptation to consider and tweak is just too much sometimes. I mean - mixing brown and purple... That's just yuk right? Painting with your eyes shut... Surely not!
Nope. That's mess. I'll be the first to admit that it is so hard to actually do this. Has anyone actually put food in their journal yet?

This evening I determined to bring back by inner toddler and take lessons from my two-year-old twin nieces. Nana gave them some paints, but they got bored of colour and just pulverised the paper with water. It's mess. They know how to do it!

Last week I was far too neat and precise. After all, we're not supposed to be creating works of art. No tutor will criticise our use of perspective and our tonal values. This exercise is about letting go and seeing what happens... And that, my friends, is when it really starts to get interesting!

Please share your week's experiences on your blog then link us to the post using Mr Linky below. I've done a separate post on mine with some proving I could let go a bit more (I'm still getting the crayon shavings out of the carpet).

While, by no means mandatory, there are a few pages you might want to start sooner rather than later as they are about building your mess slowly! There's the mouldy food in a bag (about 3/4 of the way through the book) and around half way there's a task where you create a drawing over the space of a month.

Don't forget the Facebook Group. If you haven't joined already, just friend me and then ask me for an invite.

Friday, 6 April 2012


Herman Schrump

Welcome. This is it! We're about to roll up our sleeves and get lovely and messy.

I am so glad you have decided to join me on this creative adventure as we work together through Mess: The Manual of Accidents and Mistakes. Today will be very much an introduction, so please don't worry if you haven't got hold of your copy of the book yet. This isn't something we're going to work through in a logical fashion, so really you'll just be able to dip in and dip out as time allows - I know how busy we all are.

So, what's the book about and why group up?

Keri Smith wishes to encourage us to see creativity, shape, colour and art in the unexpected. She is pulling us away from clean lines and accurate rendition. She is telling us it's OK to flick our paint about, spill our dinner on our study materials and just generally act a little kooky (I'll be honest... I don't really need much encouragement!).

It's a strange and almost un-natural thing to do. That's why I believe there's fun in numbers and, by sharing our work each week, we will be daring each other to push that much harder at our boundaries and to share our personal experience at doing just that.

What to expect
Given my previous experience in working through Keri's Wreck This Journal: To Create is to Destroy I fully expect us to discover a side to our artistry that we never knew existed. The naughty Muse if you like who hasn't been allowed out to play since we were eight years old.

Working through this book we will encourage each other to think outside the box (you must see my personal post for a good example of this) and to learn from our 'accidents and mistakes'. There is no right or wrong. We are not creating works of art to grace the walls of fancy galleries.


There are no rules.
If you find any sneaking in.... break them!


OK, I had to add these in... but they are definitely not rules!

Really, I just want to encourage you all to blog about your experiences every week and share those posts through Mr Linky below. I've also created a Facebook Group where those that are that way inclined might like to share some chit chat throughout the week. Be honest. Don't be afraid to admit that you feel a fool for painting with spaghetti or that you don't feel you're getting anything from this. I promise you will.

You can do as many pages as you like each week. I'll run the group until the end of May - but of course there won't be anything to stop you carrying on. The Facebook Group will remain open indefinitely too.

Let's get started...

So, this is it. If you've already started making a mess, feel free to share your splatters here and try and visit the others.

My challenge for next week is...

Open the book at a random page and follow the instructions no matter how uncomfortable they make you feel (no cheating and picking another page). Give it your all...


If you would like to join the Facebook Group, obviously you need to be on Facebook... then I think I just need your name, so if you want to friend me (and I would love it if you liked my Wright Brain Stuff page.. plug plug), then I can invite you.

Grab a badge for your blog! Do share the group with your friends and followers - the more the merrier!

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Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Are you ready?

 Just a few more days until we... Mess: The Manual of Accidents and Mistakes. 

I can't wait to get messy with you this weekend. Have you all managed to get hold of a copy of the book yet? If not, don't worry, because it's truly a dip in and dip out project. You won't miss anything if your book hasn't arrived... you just might get a bit jealous though!

 Every Saturday I'll post a weekly review on where my messy play took me and offer some prompts for discussion. It would be lovely if you linked your own blog posts and shared your work and something of the process. It's going to be as simple as that. No real rules. Just relax, have fun and share your experience.

This weekend is just an introduction so you don't have to share just yet. However, if you couldn't resist already and have been throwing your dinner at the book or walking on it... then do let us take a peek!

I'm looking forward to seeing what happens!

Messiest wishes


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