Thursday, January 31, 2008

Today I go to PLAY: the retreat

Today I am leaving for Port Townsend, one of my favorite places in the world, for a new Teesha and Tracy Moore production. It is a small art journaling retreat, only 35 people, to be held at Fort Worden, a state park on Puget Sound and the Straits of Juan de Fuca. It is a beautiful and magical setting, and magic is sure to happen.

I am bringing about 3 different journals, and we are going to make a journal tonight, with instruction from Teesha, using a very nice watercolor paper for the pages. I will probably end up using that one the most, but I want to have plenty to work with. Other than the journal making, the weekend is supposed to be very unstructured, just time to play in our journals. It will be heaven!!

I am sharing a room with Paula, a woman I met at ArtFest last year who is also in the photoart journal group. I am looking forward to getting to know her, and everyone else who will be there.

There will be lots of pictures next week...

If you are interested in seeing some amazing work from the TIF challenge, check out http://takeitfurtherchallenge.blogspot.com. There are many amazing artists taking part in this. I will have to wait until I return on Monday to see what February's challenge will be, I can hardly wait!

Monday, January 28, 2008

January TIF challenge, complete

I finished my collage for this month's challenge last night. I am happy with it, but also feel that it is more representational than I had intended. However, it is true to the idea I had, which was to portray the admiration I feel for several young artists who bravely continue on in pursuit of their dreams, despite the challenges everyone feels. The challenges are there, but one has to stay focussed on the goal, and not keep looking down.

I used paper, acrylic paint, gel medium, caran d'ache, clip art and rubber stamping.


Below is a close-up of the artist and her goal.
I found this project to be a wonderful challenge, I enjoyed it very much, and I have really enjoyed seeing the other participant's interpretations. My husband and I had several discussions of the theme, and he was very helpful. When I said that I planned to have the artist be a tight-rope walker, he found the following quote in an old Parabola magazine. I think that it adds a lot to the symbolism and the meaning of my piece.

"The whole process is part of the hero's journey: the false move is nonetheless a crucial bend along the path. To elaborate on von Franz's metaphor, in life's circus, the bumbling clown often precedes the death-defying high-wire act."

One other quote I found helpful, also found by my husband from the book Tracking the Gods: The Place of Myth in Modern Life by James Hollis:

"...the paradox Nietzsche described when he said we are both the abyss and the tightrope
across the abyss. We are the open emptiness, to be filled by courage and by choice, and
we are the fragile thread by which to traverse the abysmal terrors."


Friday, January 25, 2008

doll project for charity

I have joined the community art doll project, see button in sidebar! It is a great project, and thanks to Debra and Monica for helping me figure out how to add the button!

Anyway, click the link above and sign-up, as well. I will making a fabric backed 2" square to contribute to the art doll. That is pretty easy, and all proceeds will go to breast cancer research! I promised myself that I would only do the TIF challenge, and the things for ArtFest this year, so I can concentrate on doing my own art, but anyone can do a 2" square for a good cause!

I am suddenly very energized about my massage practice. Lately all I have wanted to do is make art, and I have rejoiced when I didn't have clients. I will definitely have to "work from my stash" if this continues, unfortunately, there is not a "stash" of rent money or food money, so I need to do both art and massage. The art supply stash is seemingly endless, however!

So. I am going to do some teaching, and I am adding some new features to my practice. I am excited about both of these things, and made myself a long to-do list to move ahead with my ideas. I think once I get some of the key items on the to-do list done, I will have more clients, and be closer (much) to my goal of being fully self-employed by May. I know that this is very vague, but I promise to be more clear once I have gotten things going!

Today I am thinking, Hooray for me!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Nearly done with my first visual journal!

Starting this visual journal back in November was one of the best things I have ever done for my creative soul. I have so enjoyed just putting some things on the pages, color (most of the backgrounds have been Portfolio oil pastels, colored then rubbed off with paper towel) and whatever images come to hand from my table. Now that I have "organized" a bit, I even pull out files of things I have "saved" for collage, like on the page below. I know it is pretty random, but it was fun to stick in some things that I had been saving for "good".

I am going crazy with the quote marks, I will try to stop. Back to playing with graphic elements, below. I really have a thing for grids, like this bingo paper. I like lining up patterns and design, and straight lines, and using text for background.
This one is silly, I used some photobooth photos left over from last year's ArtFest yearbook. This journal is a little like having a scrapbook, I have decided, I am adding things I have saved, and now they have a place, and I no longer have to keep track of them!

Maybe some day I will be able to think that way about all the DECADES of family photos I have?

More random below. The heads were cut out and auditioned for my TIF collage, but were too big. I had to do something with them...
Next to last spread in the journal. More magazine fodder, and I had a lot of fun with this one!

I am having an art date with my friend, Margot, today. We are going to see an exhibit at the Edmonds Community Center of art by students of the EDGE program at Edmonds Community College. It is a program for artists to learn how to make their art a business. We haven't had an art date in quite a while, and it will be fun.

I did a little more on the TIF collage this morning, I don't know why I am dragging it out for so long, but I am enjoying it. I will definitely finish it this weekend.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Take It Further Challenge (TIF)

To refresh your memory, I am doing the Take it Further challenge from Sharonb's website, http://www.inaminuteago.wordpress.com/. The January concept challenge is to somehow illustrate a person or quality you admire. I am working on the concept of bravery which is the quality I admire in young artists who continue on with their dreams despite the inner critic and other inner (and outer) voices who may say they are crazy or impractical.

Below is a sketch of the collage I am working on to illustrate this concept. I envisioned a person on a tightrope, bravely continuing on toward their dreams, with the "critics" below them and the mountain of a LARGER life before them as their goal.

I found the drawing to be way too literal, but it gave me an idea of how to begin the collage, so here it is.
My next step was to cover the paper with scrap paper, just a background to begin on.
Below is the collage with a couple of layers of thin paint added, and partially rubbed off. I have laid on some of the foreground collage pieces, as well.
There will be more to come, and I am very happy with how it is developing.

I have 3 more page spreads to go in my visual journal. I will finish it this week, and I am using my husband's discarded 2007 calendar for my next one. The pages are larger (yeah!) and I will probably only do one page a day, rather than a spread--who knows?

I am so glad that I started a visual journal, and am looking forward to starting another one!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Super-toy, continued...

I should have waited to post my last entry until I had tried more stuff with my wonderful new printer! Below is my first inkjet transfer, done on the ultra cheap (as in quality) photo paper from Walmart, as recommended by LK Ludwig. I am thrilled with how it came out. Next, a journal page with transfers:
The one on the left is a black and white photo of a photo, and the right is an image from the web of an equation for "strange attractors". I have no idea what that means, but I liked the name and the image. The transfers weren't as successful, because the paper in my visual journal is pretty thin, so water media makes a big mess.
Another page, using a photo taken in Pioneer Square in Seattle, looking up toward downtown. I think that it looks like Gotham City. The other page has a collection of ephemera I picked up at Floating World Books and Comics in Portland last year.
More things from Floating World, and some helpful advice from Homeland (In)Security, found in the middle of the phone book (!??) for what to do in a "situation". If we were in a "situation", would you turn to the middle of the phonebook for advice? I don't think so. I use my phonebook for cheap paper to do gluing on, and that is how I found this...

I have begun working on my collage for the TIF challenge, more later, and some preliminary photos.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A brand-new super toy!

My journal page for yesterday. I included a packing tape transfer, the baby, and I like how it came out. I love packing tape transfers, they are SO EASY, they are like magic! It is the only transfer technique that works everytime for me. We just got a new all-in-one printer, that means it does printing, copying, scanning and fax. It was a bear to install, I had to try the install CD four times before it finally installed, but I really love the new printer. It is a new one by Kodak, the EasyShare5500, Kodak's ink is pigment ink, but at least half as expensive as other printer ink, and it reportedly lasts much longer.

That was a powerful incentive, I would love to be able to print photos quickly, and with this I can. The quality is astonishing, and it is instantly dry!! I may not be able to do inkjet transfers with this, because the ink is permanent, but I was never very successful with those anyway. I haven't tried it with super cheap photo paper, yet.

I also want to print onto fabric, and I will probably have to go to Joann's today and buy some inkjet fabric so I can try it out! I am hyperventilating with all of the possibilities!

I will keep you updated with all of my experiments!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Moving right along...

I have been having a lot of fun working in my visual journal. I am really enamored with the look of black ink on bright backgrounds. This page is about as random as they get, but I like the look of the tree stamp and the penny stamp that my husband found for me at a thrift store (along the right edge). The oblong stamp is supposed to be used horizontally as a braided rug, but DH got that one for me, also, and thought it would make a good form for poplar trees! I love it. Have I mentioned how good my hubby is at finding things for me in thrift shops??

The next page uses some artwork from the Sunday editorial page in November, illustrating an article about impeachment for the prez and v.p. I am totally in favor, and added a little more to the illustration.
Another thing making me happy these days, is beautiful scrapbook paper, of which I have collected LOTS. I have been going through my stash and using it. I love the colors in these papers, and feel like it isn't really my work, because all of the design and color coordination was done by the paper designer. But, I am in love with the combination of purple and orange, and couldn't resist using all of the combinations. I also dug out some stamps I hadn't used, and worked them in, as well.
Another random page, the two sides don't go together at all, but I kind of like each of them, the one on the right a little more.
More scrapbook paper love. I need to tear into my "good stuff" and not hoard it, so expect to see more scrapbook combinations here. I am such a geek, it makes me feel so good to just play with the paper, not to mention the stamps.

Today I am going to start in on the Take it Further challenge (TIF from here on out), and start constucting. I am going to do a layered collage, somewhat along the lines of the collages we did in Anahata's Symbolic Icons at ArtFest last year. I haven't used that technique since that class, and I loved it so much. I think that the process will work very well for me to illustrate the concept of bravery, the concept that I admire...

Monday, January 7, 2008

It is Monday...

Saturday was a fun day, I always look forward to the monthly meeting of local ArtFest people at Third Place Commons. This Saturday there were seven of us, the most that have been there when I have gone! I included one photo of part of the group. We all bring things to work on, but I usually end up talking, it is hard to start something new when there are so many interesting people to talk to! It is always very inspiring to see what others are working on. I brought my visual journal to show Celeste, when I first met her, looking at her journal helped me to get started on mine, and I was able to share that with her.
Two new pages, so far one a day since last Friday. I am enjoying it! I started to say that I am determined, but that makes it sound like it is a duty, and it should be a joy--and it is! I may start a journal for the Take it Further Challenge, too. I haven't decided yet. I know that I want to do some of the challenges in fiber, so I am not sure what kind of journal will accomodate paper and cloth.
I like this page, and I will probably go back and stamp or write on it. I am using the insides of security envelopes, inspired by Mary Ann of http://dispatchfromla.typepad.com/, one of my favorite blogs! As she says, it makes going for the mail like a treasure hunt. There are a surprising number of different patterns.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Take it Further Challenge

I am going to do the monthly Take it Further challenge with SharonB of In a minute ago. See Jan. 1st for a link to the blog. This month's challenge is to think about someone one admires and do an interpretation of the theme in fiber or paper. There is always a second challenge which will involve a color scheme.

I like the color scheme well enough, but I am going to go with the admiration challenge. I want to do some of the challenges in fiber, but I think that this one will be using paper and other things. I have been thinking of who I admire, and the ones who come most readily to mind are artists I have met in the last 4 or 5 years.

The central characteristic is bravery, it seems to me, they all pursue their dreams and really work at them. In other words, they take themselves seriously! They love what they do, and they allow themselves to do what they love. I am thinking of one person in particular, who has taken GIANT steps, and only occasionally scares herself by looking down. She doesn't let that stop her, though, she gets her balance and continues on.

I am starting to get an idea for what I want to do in writing this. Check back for more progress...

Friday, January 4, 2008

House-cleaning (one room, at least...)


Yeah, I made it! This will be my second post this week. I haven't been working on my visual journal because (in part) I no longer had a tiny space on my art table to do anything! I have spent several days, little by little, cleaning up and re-organizing all of my art stuff. I am filling a lot of boxes for the Art Asylum at this year's ArtFest, I have made lots of trips to the recycle bin with unwanted stuff, and for the first time since we moved here, making some sense out of the bins I keep my stuff in.


I have most of the top of the table open to work now, and happily did a page today! I like just coloring the background, just putting some bright color on the page!

I have many projects to do before Feb. 15, I am doing a Fatbook, an altered trading card fatbook, and a fabric fatbook--all for ArtFest. I know what I am doing, but need to get started. I am excited to do all of it.

I will show pictures of my space in a few days. I didn't take any pictures of the disaster that was my studio before I started, but you won't believe it when I show the photos I took when I was about half done!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year, new post

I know, I know, no posts for a solid month. But, it was December, and I took on too much. I didn't even do one page in my visual journal, and I swear that I was a lot more scattered because I didn't have that discipline.

I am ready to start fresh. My goal is at least two posts a week in 2008. I have a lot of goals for the year, one of them being to journal as close to daily as possible, to not spend so much time reading other people's blogs and more time working my own art work!

One of my goals for the last two years is to get my private massage practice to the point that I don't have to work part-time anywhere else, and I have written May 8 in my planner as the day I make this happen. I want to keep this promise to myself, and I know that I can do it.

Once I am fully self-employed, I want to use the extra time (when I won't be working as an employee) to figure out my next step. I want to expand my employment options by teaching more classes, one I will be doing this month is a couples massage class.

I want to take myself seriously as a person who makes art. I want to be as kind to myself as I am to others who express a desire to create, I will take the time each day to nurture my soul by drawing, journaling, collaging, taking artist dates. I will put in the time, I will do the work, and I will write about it and show it to you.

I am taking part in SharonB's Take it Further Challenge, see http://www.sharonb.wordpress.com. This month's challenge can be found under Jan. 1. I haven't decided which one I will do, or if I will do both, but I will be recording my progress here.

This is also the one year anniversary of my blog, though it has had such enormous gaps that I should call THIS my beginning. Everything is a process, and you have to just keep coming back to the things that you want to do.

Let's go!