Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Artist's Way

I've been hearing about The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron for a long time now. Several years ago my friend Cindi Huss told me about the book and about morning pages. I didn't read the book, but I got the gist and started doing them off and on. About a year ago, the book found me at a Barnes and Noble and jumped off the shelf. Literally. I took it home and it stayed on the very shelf I photographed since then. About six weeks ago I started doing morning pages every day and decided to read the book.

Thus started this journey. 

For the Artist Date portion of my assignments I have decided to set down some time each week with one of the books from the overcrowded shelf, find a skill and try it. So far this is leading to some fun creativity. I'm moving into different territory.


I started with the Gelli Plate Printing: Mixed-Media Monoprinting Without a Press by Joan Bess. Quite a lot of paint has been seen flinging about here. Intrigued by the Paper Cloth on page 90, I mixed up some glue, unearthed some muslin and got down to business. What a fun process! Several other techniques await the right tools to make them happen (where is that carpet tape when you need it?)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Women's Day

International Women's Day journal page. The prompt I was working on was "primary". The librarian in automatically thinks of primary documents. So I chose two from the National Archives - one of suffragettes marching on Bastille Day (they ended up in jail) and the amendment to grant women the right to vote. Keep marching. No accepting backsliding. Thanks to the women who came before and paved our way. 

#internationalwomensday #strongwomen#adaywithoutwomen #wearred#wearredforwomen#artmarks30daychallenge #artjournal#artjournaling #artjournaleveryday#artjournalmixedmedia

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Try it or trash it

Yesterday I read a blogpost by Jen Morris on her website Jen Morris Creative entitled What I'm reading this year: 17 books in 2017.  She realized that she has many inspirational books sitting unread on her shelves and she is aiming to do something about that. It inspired me. Thanks, Jen. 

My bookshelf before the challenge

As a librarian I have always said that books need to earn their places on the shelves. They don't get to be there just because they are paper bound together into book form. They don't get to be there because someone sweat over each word, each illustration and some editor pulled out hair trying to convince that author not to use a semicolon 15 times on one page. They don't get to be there because they were donated by the principal's aunt or a favorite of hers from childhood. Even MY favorite childhood books have not been exempt from my scrutiny. 

No, to earn a place, and keep it, a book must be useful, used and relevant. If not, sayonara. Becoming a librarian made me much less romantic about books. I'll guard them from censorship and use my own money to buy them for kids. But, dare I say it, they are not sacred just because they are books. 

Content, my friends. Content keeps them on the shelves. 
My book shelf after turning the books upside down. I hope to be able to turn them right side up again soon. Don't count on it, but I do hope. 

Never more than in my own home must this be true. I look at my shelves of art techniques and shake my head. So many techniques, all untried. So I have declared, rather hastily I might add, that in 2017 I will conquer this shelf. Each book has been taken off the shelf and turned upside down. Each will only earn it's place back on the shelf if I have read a chapter or tried a technique. Going so far as to say they will be thoroughly explored is going a bit overboard. 

I hope to be able to report positively on my progress through this self imposed challenge. 

Do you have a stack of books you need to get through? What kind of books are in your pile? 

Check out Jen's list of books she is going to read this year. There are some that sound very interesting. Now where is that Barnes & Noble gift card? 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Have Journal Will Travel

It seems that the majority of my arting has been done on the go. While I continue to try to get my art desk under control, I haven't spent much time at it. So I'm getting pretty good at creating wherever I am and in mini-bursts. More often than not, time at my art desk is focused on preparing materials to be made on the go.

Last pocketbook buying trip was focused on getting a bag that could not hold the kitchen sink. Naturally, it has become apparent that if it can be stuffed to overflowing it will be. There is space for a sandwich sized zip-lock bag with two mini books and a handful of gel pens. The mini-books have already had a layer of collage or paint and now it is time for embellishment.

Another bag is stuffed with a host of materials for collage, a variety of art pens and water soluble crayons. This bag is taken when there is any suspicion that the day will have down moments or even a visit to a tea or coffee establishment. 

You may have noticed that I have a favorite tea shop to work in. Kung fu Tea in Providence, Rhode Island is my new favorite journaling spot. I go there whenever I have a chance (which isn't nearly often enough.) I love the environment and Oolong Milk Tea is nothing short of ambrosial. 

I still love journaling in Starbucks. I'm plenty happy pasting layers and adding pen in the car. 

Lately I have found that our nearby hospital has a lovely waiting room where I spent some time  while waiting for a family member's tests. Pages were completed there. Callous you say? Art journal pages are a great way to process the feelings you are having whether they are fear, joy or confusion. Art journaling eased my worry and helped me to be more present for others. I'd say that is a win all around. 

I've also discovered over the past few months that I have gravitated to posting on instagram. It suits the out and about nature of my days. Actually it was through instagram that I was inspired to get serious about making art on the go. Jogatheringwild regularly creates art in her car before work. This inspired me to really get started. Check her out. 

What are your favorite tools for art on the go? How do you manage fitting art making into your routine? 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Average No More

Life changing events are not always large. They can be small, seemingly insignificant things that would have no effect on others. They can be something another would forget within the hour. 

In High School I found out that my GPA was in the middle of my class. I don't mean approximately. 

Smack dab in the middle

As in I was the average student. With an odd number of students in my class I could not even cry that it was the other middle who was actually the average one. Add to that blow hearing that the guidance counselors had used my standardized test (was it the Idaho or Iowa back then?) to show all the guidance counselors how to interpret the data. 

The shame. 

I had always been a kid who followed the beat of my own heart. I wasn't following a drummer, after all. A dear friend at the time sighed when she heard this factoid of information. She intimated that my life would be plagued by the need to prove myself NOT AVERAGE. At the time I didn't necessarily agree with her assertion, but reflection does indicate that she was prophetic. 

Haunted by the fear of being average, I have challenged myself, pushed through and done things that looking back, I can't believe were possible for me. Still, the fear remained, always taunting me with the fact that accolades have not been forthcoming and comparing myself to my contemporaries. What in the world do I have to show for myself?

Yesterday in a flash of inspiration I found my answer. I have to change my thinking. No longer will I repeat those words in my head 

"You are average." 

From Yesterday those words have been replace by something so much better. 

"You are archetypal."
"You are the prototype."
"You are universal consciousness."

My daughter's kind voice added:

"You are a classic."

I am not average. Those who know me best would tend to agree, I think. I am wonderfully unique. The word that has plagued me all these years has lost its power. I am archetypal. I will have the last word. 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Art on the Run

On the run. 
All the time. 
Art comes along for the ride now. 

Little books made in coffee shops, 
in the car and 
waiting for something I had to wait for. 
No longer remembered, but taking time.

Bits ready for paint, or glue or stamping
can go with me 
and turn this waiting
into playing. 

The coffee shop was crowded
full of people talking
of themselves and their special knowledge. 
Snippets heard and pondered
like the information about how to outrun an alligator, 
fell upon my ears, 
though I bade them not to come. 

The world of ATCs was fresh
an unknown form
lots of fun to try. 
Discovered I like it.

ATCs, little books, envelopes
small treasures of uncertain worth
easy to carry, compact and succinct. 

Color, color, shapes and color
layers, patterns, expected and unexpected

More to come.
Travel bag of paints, pencils, and ephemera
Now my best friend. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Background Knowledge

I recently came to the conclusion that I need to add more layers to my work...that I just don't push forward as far as I really want to go. I wrote a blog post about it. 

Well, this week I started trying Morning Pages again. It is an exercise that comes from The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. To be completely honest, I have never read the book. Those around me have, however, and I have gained some knowledge symbiotically. (Some day I will read the book.)

But I digress. Writing helped me realize that not only do I not push myself far enough, I haven't finished anything in quite a while. Some time ago I satisfied myself with creating backgrounds as a way of getting some art in during very busy patches. There are many very busy patches. 

The time has come, however to reach beyond and start finishing the beginnings. Taking a good hard look at the journals I have been beginning has been enlightening. Part of this issue is not knowing where I am going with any of them. So I assigned themes to each of the ones I have been working in and found a surge in activity. Even the backgrounds are coming together more fluidly. 

So instead of limiting me in a negative way, the themes are helping me to be free. Before I was hesitant and noncommittal. Now I forge forward adding with abandon. Well, with as much abandon as one can forge with when paint, gesso and gel medium are drying. 

Some of the themes are also demanding that color be evaluated rather than flinging the same bright colors on the pages willy nilly. I loved those vibrant pages, but they will be tamed and toned down and reined in so that they bring more life and illumination to the whole. 

Fun. Fun. Fun. 

Background knowledge informs my work.