About Jan Langford

I've been developing my personal journaling style for a long time.  I started with an old-fashioned children's scrapbook of snippets and later, developed a journal writing voice, discovering how to use it for self-analysis and solving personal problems. In 2006 I started blogging and used it as a combination of the above i.e. a place to gather interesting snippets and a place for working out the personal stuff.  I used it sporadically and on a whim.  I wasn't entirely sure of my motives for blogging and I wasn't concerned whether I had a readership or not. Four years ago I introduced paint to my journals and became enthused with mixed media and visual journaling.  I had no aspiration to call myself an "artist" at that point and was more likely to call myself a witch, or a tarot reader, a back-to-nature smallholder, an ageing hippie, a toker.  One thing is certain. I was then and still am, a retired ex-pat living in central Portugal, struggling with the language and the culture. Things move on, as they do.  I find myself part of a supportive group of developing artists, Art Group D'Acha.  Having dabbled a bit with oils, I've now gone back to basics, learning drawing with Irisha Panteleimonova and leading an enthusiastic art journaling group, which I have wanted to do for some time. If you take the time to read my posts, or to follow our group as we continue to grow, I am very grateful to you.  In return, I will share fragments of myself that I hope will encourage your own inner journeys and help you to develop confidence to be yourself in a society that seems to want bind us in conformity.  

Calling Art Group d’Acha

Let’s see which of you are receiving notifications for this blog and who is then reading it.

Here are some straight-forward questions that demand clear, open and honest answers:

  • do you care about this blog?
  • do you want this group to have internet space; potentially somewhere to market future work?
  • would you like to read posts here written in your native tongue?

You can add your replies to the comments section below or, if you prefer discuss it in the Group, at the end of your next meeting.

The reason for today’s post are two-fold; by way of giving the Journal group something to journal about, seeing as I cancelled today’s session. Secondly, to remind the Drawing group of the homework we agreed upon for Thursday;

  1. Revise the previous lesson on eyes (and prepare the next lesson, if it’s your turn).
  2. Prepare to discuss openly what you are looking for from the group and consider what role you might like to take within in. For some ideas on roles in art groups, check this out (if a Scribd screen comes up instead of the document, you should be able to close it and then proceed.) Alternatively, look at how WordPress divides it’s blogging roles here.
  3. Finally, do a bit of research about what makes a successful group and/or brainstorm the idea.

(The Journal group should also work on Points 2 & 3.)

How to Take the Frustration out of Drawing Practice

Here is an excellent link for the group, especially those, like myself, who struggle to get around to their drawing practice.  Sometimes, knowing that it has to be done is not enough.  Minds play all sorts of dirty tricks to find ways to stop us from doing it, even though we can logically understand that we must practise in order to improve.

Paul Foxton has an interesting take on drawing exercises, that we touched on in our drawing group yesterday – slow down.

Editors at Work

Hard at work for this group doesn’t just mean drawing and painting exercises.  It also means developing this blog and composing our proposal to the Council for studio premises.  The three of us work very well together, bouncing ideas and resolving technical issues.  Here we are yesterday, our heads buried in our computers and the debris of abandoned artwork pushed to one side!

Deolinda, Irisha and Jan hard at work on our computers.

Deolinda, Irisha and Jan hard at work on our computers.

Dare to Dream

Our group is feeling excited.  The prospect of us having our own, dedicated studio space in the centre of our village, came a big step closer tonight.

Since the outset, we have discussed the merits of such a space.  Meeting in one another’s home causes practical difficulties.  It also means that we cannot grow in size, as we want to do.  It would be such a thrill if we could encourage the spread of art activities in our locality.  We would love to be joined by new Portuguese developing artists, which would balance the ex-pat contingent that exists at the moment.

Tonight, we finally plucked up courage to ask our Junta (local Council) for what we wanted.  We were met by the most positive response we could have hoped for and guided to the next step we must take to realise our dream.  A potential building was even discussed – one that appears most suitable.

In return for the generous donation of premises that we are asking for, we have now publicly committed to holding exhibitions of our work, which will attract people into our village.  We have also said that we will give something back to the community, if not in monetary terms, then with our labour, for example, creating decorations for festa time.

Our next step is to put our proposal in writing to the President, who will then mediate on our behalf with the District Council, who owns the building.  Taking the big step of publicly declaring our aims is going to force us to get moving in certain areas where we have been slow.  This blog is one of those things, that now has to be brought up to scratch and be representative of who we are and what we are about.  The other big matter is the lack of any substance for public exhibition!  I think the months ahead will be very busy as we put in the necessary work to make this a successful group.