"Facing" My Younger Self

August Theme
Faces, the Human Form & Characters
Week 34 - August 22
Art Challenge: Layered (Using Multiple Mediums)
Journal Prompt:  Speak to your younger self- what advice would you offer?

The photograph below is my favorite picture of me.


I remember everything about it . . .

I was living in San Diego, California.

It was the summer before 7th grade.

I was taking a black and white photography class just for fun.

I was wearing an outfit my mother made me - my favorite.

It was white with black stripes and bright red poppies splashed on it.

I remember the moment the photo was taken.

My teacher shot it with an old Kodak Brownie camera.

I was doodling on my notes when he took the candid picture.

I developed the picture myself in the darkroom.

It was the last picture of me where I remember that I was completely happy.

I hadn't yet noticed boys.

I didn't know what a heartbreak felt like.

I didn't yet understand what "mean girls" were.

I hadn't experienced the death of a loved one.

I was unaware of things like body image and self-esteem.

Currency consisted of trading what I had in my lunch box.

I played hard all day and slept solid every night.

I didn't know about world events: politics, crime, disease or war.

I had never even heard the word "stress."

I was going to glue this photograph in my art journal, but as I was thinking about this moment, I was subconsciously scribbling my own version on a scrap of paper on my art table. I was using a plain old cheap pencil. I didn't think about the smeared paint and wrinkled paper I was drawing on. If I had grabbed an expensive sketching pencil and a blank sheet of drawing paper, I would have been hung up on creating a "perfect" sketch - I'm so glad I didn't. I decided to use my sketch for the page instead of the photograph.

I slapped some Napthol Red Medium acrylic onto the page and spread it with a credit card.  While the paint was still wet, I used a bamboo etching tool to scratch some thoughts about that little girl into the thick paint.

Using a stamp from the Mixed Media Essentials set from Paperbag Studios, I stamped a few bold flowers, similar to the poppies in my clothing. I dug through my box of painty papers and found a paper towel that I used to blot some wet paint. I always keep things like that - I never know when they might come in handy.

Cutting random shapes from the paper towel, I used gel medium as an adhesive and sealer to attach the pieces to my art journal page.

Next, I ripped out the sketch I made and used gel medium to attach it to the painted page and let it dry well.

I used a Stabilo pencil I dipped in water to emphasize my darker values and make the lighter areas pop.

A touch of red on the poppies and the lower lip helped to connect the sketch to the background.

I used my Dymo Caption Maker to type out the title . . . "little girl self." I think that says it all.  The only advice I could give to that young girl would be to savor that moment. Freeze it in your mind and hold tightly to it. When life is difficult, think back to that time when you were innocent and carefree. And stay there as long as you can, even if its just for a fleeting moment.

If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.
If i had my life to live over,
I would start bare foot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daises.
— Nadine Stair

We are so excited to announce that the FABULOUS Jenny Doh is our featured artist this week!  Find out how Jenny approaches our challenge HERE.

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