During a recent afternoon of art journaling, one of my friends kept voicing her frustration over her page. "I don’t see it, I don’t see it" she would lament and I would look over at her frowning face as she stared intently at her page, wishing or daring that image to come forward. Then, when it didn’t, she would cover it with her favorite black gesso and layer on more collage and paint.
I was thinking about her process and thought her “covering” was more of an internal “uncovering”. She would rid herself of the unacceptable layer, re-cover it with more paint and collage and look again. Repeating her process over and over until finally, she got to something she could see. Something she could recognize. It was her.
Why was she doing this? She may inadvertently allow others to cloud her vision of herself. Perhaps she accepts their assumptions and judgments about her because she never fully developed her own sense of herself, who she was, how she wanted to be. Since that part of her was just a blank space (a dark, black gesso’d space), she allowed others to fill it and accepted their opinions about herself as her own. Layer after layer, applied and accepted. Pretty soon that's all there is. In her journal, the layer after layer of dark black gesso are a mirror for her own “uncovering” of layer after layer of herself. The paint goes on faster and faster as she peels away each layer inside until she finds something she can see, something she can recognize. It is her.
Keep journaling dear friend. Keep layering and covering and layering again. Soon you will arrive at your own front door and find what you have been looking for.