Tuesday, July 5, 2016

sALt wATeR

The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea!

Laurie Sikorowski - Salt Water Mermaid Art Journal Page Detail
Detail from my Art Journal Page "Salt Water" -follow the italic captions for progress comments!
It is sort of set up so you can read my writing on the painting's progress separately from my regular post
(or at the same time) -I hope this makes sense. Well, enjoy y'all!

My thoughts on TEARS, LOVE, & LIVING with progress pics of my latest art journal page.
I spent a wonderful afternoon overlooking the water at the marina on Marathon Key with my travel set of watercolors, pencil, white paint and black pen simply allowing myself to get lost in the moment. My Artful Bliss -no agenda, no timeframe, no pressure!
Laurie's Sketchbook
Here is a page from my sketchbook that I did probably a month or so ago. I've had this one semi-submerged
girl in the back of my mind for quite awhile (even before I drew her in my sketchbook)
There is so much symbolism and emotion that I feel it can convey.
So on Friday morning, I had a work meeting down the Keys and I decided that I would pack a little travel art bag
so that after my meeting I could find a quaint bar or cafe along the water and art journal till my heart's content!
And that, my friends is exactly what I did.

You know, It's funny how often tears show up in my artwork -well more often in sketches than final pieces but still I find it odd because I tend to be a very cheerful person.  In fact, I don't recall crying much at all when I as a child. I was quite stoic. I think I've become more of a softie lately though as age and experience have simultaneously broken me down and wised me up. You see, tears to me represent letting go which in turn means not being in control. Now that's tough as I REALLY like being in control! I mean, I know I'm not actually in control -It's just an illusion. You see, I'm blessed to have a faith were I can trust that my sovereign God ultimately has got it all together and he has all the omnis covered (omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, ...) so I don't need to worry about anything no matter how small or how huge. But knowing and acting on that knowing are two very different things! 
WIP Painting by the water
First I sketched in pencil, then I began using a couple water color crayons and my water colors to paint.
I ended up not really using the crayons much as I prefer them when blended with acrylic paint (which I didn't bring)
I found that when using them with only water, they were a bit too grainy for my tastes.

It can be hard to understand the twists and turns of life from this side of eternity -sort of like standing too close to impressionistic painting. It just looks like a lot of multicolored dots. It takes that distance and perspective to see the complete picture and how each spot of color works into the whole. It can be so easy while in the midst of the black dot to think it's all dark even though its just one speck of your life. I believe that's what makes age and experience such great teachers. For once we've gone through the rainbow (& eventually most of us will spend a little time in all the different hues), we can begin to see others (maybe going through a blue or purple period) with kinder eyes. For without having been there, we may intellectually understand where they're coming from but we can't "feel" it. I love this part of getting older. Honestly, I do!
WIP Laurie Anne Smith Sikorowski Art Journal Page Watercolor Girl
Next I paint the rest of my girl as well as the sky and water. It has been quite a while since I've played
with my watercolors. It was fun changing it up a bit! I also had a couple of copic markers (a blue, pinkish red, and yellow)
 that I also used to amp up the brightness. They are pretty cool -you add some marks then use your water saturated
 brush over them to spread, just like water color. They are intense though, so you have to be careful and
make sure you don't let them dry before you start to swoosh the color around. I  really like the
mood I was able to create this way and if I didn't already have a direction I wanted to take my page, I would have
enjoyed continuing on in this soft, less illustrative, more painterly way.
(Where's Waldo moment -find the little seagull, I caught in the picture as he nose dived down to catch his lunch)
My thinking has always been the core of my identity/my personality. Emotions on the other hand can throw me for a loop! I've never fully understood them properly (yeah, as if there's anything proper about emotions - LOL! They are such messy critters) Outwardly, I tend to remain calm like a glassy lake but below the still surface, storms can brew and I'll have no idea why or for what. It is hard to sort them out, more like an internal whirlpool sucking everything in. Now for those deep, bone-deep emotions like love -oh, I feel them so intensely! I think that's why when life throws a curve ball and dreams are shattered it hurts so much. It's why it is easier to create a protective armor of disassociation than risk the pain of feeling too much, but man that is no way to live. Passion can't fully emerge when bound by fear.
Tears can help dissolve this prickly coating, we have  (or atleast me for sure) built up cocoon-like around our hearts. The tears can wash away the thick layer of debris which clouds our vision so we can see clearly again. I often go to Saturday night church because it has an extended music time at the end. It is less scripted and more impromptu. I find it a meaningful time for both prayers and tears. Beautiful tears, the quiet soft ones that slowly run down my cheeks taking away the sadness and bitterness and making way for joy in that heartbreaking rush of awe at the every day miracles and countless blessings that the dust of the daily grind too often obscures. 

WIP Laurie Anne Smith Sikorowski Art Journal Page Salt Water
Now the scary part, adding blue to my girl's lower face and dripping blue from one eye!
Notice the addition off a cold beer to help me chill and relax -lol!
Seriously, I had a slight panic attack! I just had to take the leap as once I started the blue there was no going back.
When painting I almost always get to a point where a bit of fear comes over me and
I am sure that I am fixing to simply ruin it all. I've learned that this is the time to simply go for it
because if I stop then and come back later, I will inevitably find myself in full blown artist's block.

I know my thoughts are anything but linear -more scattered and tangent (no surprise), kind of like how you go to Google a simple tuna casserole recipe and hour later you are engrossed in an article about DNA enzymes. True story! But now what was I trying to say? -thoughts about tears, aging, living with my whole heart as well as my head or something to that effect. I think Brene Brown sums up so much of what has been swimming around in my head lately in her quote below. (Isn't it amazing how when you are thinking about something, inevitably the perfect song or quote or picture magically pops in to your life?)

WIP Laurie Anne Smith Sikorowski Art Journal Page Salt Water
I added more blue watercolor to darken and white to highlight the tears
and then outlined in back sharpie paint pen above the waterline and painted in the
hair lines, fish, lighthouse, and waves below. I used gauche paint for the white.
"I think midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear:
I’m not screwing around. It’s time. All of this pretending and performing – these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt –has to go.
Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy of love and belonging, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever.
Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through you. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.''

WIP Laurie Anne Smith Sikorowski Art Journal Page Mermaid
I scanned and up the intensity of the blue so I could print and
journal in white once I was back at my little art studio. Once done, I cut away the white edge.

Pretty good stuff, huh? Now the hard part; taking the advise and acting on it! We can do it! I know we can! Curl up, have a good cry and get ready for great things, for they are a'coming!
 Song for Today: (I just love this one)

Laurie Anne Smith Sikorowski Art Journal Page Salt Water Quote
A few more words, lines to the sky, details to the fish and ta-da, here is a
photo of my completed art journal page!

And incase your in the mood for more, here is an additional Trio of Songs to enjoy: 


  1. Wow, that's a very deep page! Love your sketch book too. I always find your posts so meaningful and thought-provoking. It's wonderful that you were able to work on this while out and about - I've never tried that myself!

    1. I've never done it in such a public place before (even though I was in a quiet little out of the way spot of a public place) Honestly not that many folks popped over to see what I was dingne (mostly kids which I actually love to engage with) I really enjoyed the process -I'll definitely do it again some time :)

  2. I can't think of a better place to be doing art than in the Florida Keys!! Beautiful journal page. I feel her!!!

  3. Goodness guys, thank you so much for the sweet comments!

  4. Gorgeous page! And I love the thoughts behind the page.

  5. This is amazing. Beautiful artwork, I enjoyed seeing the process and your comments, as well as the rest of your narrative. I find myself to be very similar to the way you describe yourself.

  6. Deep, deep waters. We sing that song sometime in church. . It describes how you can be so over your head that you have no other choice than to let go and trust Him..............I admire your ability to do that. In the midst of a regular, normal day, just sit down with your paints, shut out all around you and float...............