Art Journals – personal journeys

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Lino prints series in progress, ink drying… many stages all at once. 

I have always kept a journal. Sometimes lists, events, feelings… sometimes doodles, scraps and ephemera. Over the last few years I have gradually been making an art journal a new personal habit. For me it is a place to play, to emote, to work through things… and maybe never to share with another set of eyes. Its a place to work in art mediums that aren’t my day to day work as a full time artist. Its a chance to create with no pressure, no deadlines, no gallery or show inventory lists to check off.

Last year and this year I have signed up for Journal 52 hosted by Canadian artist and journal keeper Effy Wild. On her inspirational mailing list – one received a prompt each week. This has kept me motivated, helps me stay accountable to myself ( and sharing as I choose in the online FB group) and helps me get out of my own way. I dont need to plan – I can respond. I can think it through or go intuitive. And as the 3rd month draws to a close I am up to date. I will be gentle with myself as the show schedule ramps up for the season – but it has become a habit, and some “me” time I relish.

I wanted to share a few images with you:

“Portal” – carat d’ache crayon, watercolor, wax crayon, ink, marker, salt. Quote paraphrased from Joseph Campbell.

At the Art Elements blog we started a weekly challenge – to contribute as you can – no pressure. Themes range form color to concept to object. You can see the weekly round up of offerings each Sunday on the blog. Here are: “Red, Spiral, and Serenity”  This series has made me start thinking of small prints that echo my Mythic Nature tiles. Perhaps coming to a show this Spring?

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Week 5: Anticipation. collage, gel medium, marker, interference paint, watercolor

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Week 8: Stillness. Acrylic paint.  

 

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Collage, paint, ink, piles of work in progress.

 

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Week 10: Truth. collage, linoleum prints, marker

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Week 9: Emerge. This coincided with St Davids Day – honoring my Welsh heritage. And allowing the errors to show… ( Materials – Tombow markers, carat d’ache crayons, watercolors. )

I will keep updating here periodically through the year – to share and keep myself accountable. I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you keep an art journal?

New Year’s Rejuvenations

 Resolution: :  the act or process of resolving: as 
:  the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones 
:  the act of answering :  solving
:  the act of determining
 
Rejuvenate: 
:  to make young or youthful again :  give new vigor to 
:  to restore to an original or new state <rejuvenate old cars>
 

I would rather rejuvenate than resolve. I would rather breathe new vigor into a habit or pursuit than solve a problem. And so this year, I have made some changes for the better, a fresh start with the New Year… but I am reframing it all in a more positive fashion. Resolutions are notoriously short lived. And to me the term implies that something is broken and needs repair. It doesnt resonate in a positive way… 

With the New Year, I have rejuvenated some practices in my life, things that I (for the most part) enjoy, and that are good for me – body and soul. January usually is a slower month for me as to work/production/teaching so I am prioritizing these parts of my day, these aspects of my life I want to become firmly entrenched habits. 

art journal Jan1

The daily art journal. 

Doodles, sketches, for me, not for an audience, nothing official. A record of my day, thoughts, actions, ideas. No goals other than to draw something. I will be posting here occassionally, but many may be private. Today is the 12th. As I write this there are eleven entries in my journal. So I will draw tonight, cuppa tea, TV on… because I havent missed a day yet. I signed up for a class “Sketching and Watercolor in the mixed media journal” with the incomparable Jane LaFazio – it starts Feb 1. My goal is to make it a habit, and then class will further encourage and challenge me! 

art journal in progress

Vision Board

This you only get a sneak peak – I know the premise, and I collage in my journal all the time. But this time its made real, manifesting my intentions for the year. On foam core, tacked up on my wall. I do think that seeing it will be a motivating visual reminder. 

vision board detail WIP

Reading. Research. 

I have books everywhere. I love books. One thing I have struggled with for years as a self employed/work-from-home artist is reading. I feel like reading during the day is tabu. Daytime is for working. Well – the honest truth is that many of the titles pictured here will influence my work. So I devote more time to reading, and give myself permission! I am in 2 book groups – one virtual, one local – so there will be additional novels. But I know that my Muse will blossom when I feed her words, ideas, theories, history… 

Fiction book list

Book list part 2

And the blog… 

Last year there were more times than I would like to count when I posted only once a month. And that when it was a reveal for Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month! So I will tend to this here blog, and give it more attention. I relish comments; its nice to know yo uare out there… so please comment if you are so inclined. So far we are at one post a week; that will be my minimum! 

Alright – think I’ll read a little before dinner. 

Here’s to a fruitful and creative 2015! 

 

 

Blank slate

The beginning

I find it both exasperating and exhilerating to start a new sketchbook. 

I am aware of the places I will go, the ideas I will have, the inspiration, the magic that will be housed in those pristine uncharted pages. 

But I feel sorrow having to put aside the book currently filled with the same. A chronicle of where I have been, classes taken, ideas hatched, lists made, and sketches… I will miss the former book as an old friend that has moved away. 

the canines

collections

sketches notes

Here’s to odeas and inspiration. And thoughtful musings on this grey autumn day. 

BTW and The Sketchbook Challenge

I was listening to a podcast recently, and I am sorry to not give credit, but I forget which one… ( Craftypod? Craftcast? Art and Soul Radio? ) But the artist was musing on electronic social networking. For an artist working in solitude in the studio, chat groups, discussion boards and the like are a great way to combat the alone-ness. Sharing ideas, posting pictures, discussing materials and techniques all feed and fuel the creative machine. I do a bit of this. Facebook is my social network of choice, I dont tweet often… but  I love Flickr. And this year I have become involved in 2 Flickr groups that I find highly satisfying, keeping me linked to my colleagues, and seeing what else is going on out there…

The first is BTW – Bead Table Wednesday. Created by Heather Powers of Humblebeads, it is a peek into your space, on your table, that day. No tidying, no glam shots, just “What are you working on today? ” Over a hundred members, crafters, professionals, glass, polymer, wire, clay… a diverse group. Here is my BTW shot this week: ( Yup, a day late. )

BTW waiting for resin

Miscellaneous pieces waiting for resin. The lockets are almost done – The outsides have elements added, the insides were resined with items, and the inside cover has vintage dictionary text, the last element. The deep open bezels  – I won them at Art Bliss  last Sept. I have found shells that fit inside…

This picture is tough to see, I know. Some of the stamped copper components have been antiqued and not polished, making them dark and moody. These pieces will all be pendants with gemstones and charms, ready for RenConII: THe Mythic Faire in a few weeks. 

copper components

 

The other group, I found in January, a wee bit late. Called the Sketchbook Challenge – its so simple it is brilliant… A group of collage and mixed media artists decided to create a group. Each month a theme is posted, work in your sketchbook as inspired by that theme, and share your pages via the Flickr group. Each month there are posts by the host artists, and a give away of materials from the sponsors. And it is free. For me it is the perfect mix of incentive and relaxed schedule, of freedom, personal interpretation, and community. Again – it is a group ranging from novices to professionals, with support not competition. A few years ago I was working on an artist’s journal – and by that I mean a journal of art, collage, doodles, paintings not my normal journal of reference notes, planning sketched, project ideas, article snippets… That artist’s journal – I was doing a 2 page spread weekly, and it was a very rewarding experience. When it ended I attempted another, but the spark was gone. I think the Sketchbook challenge is rekindling that spark nicely…

February’s theme was “Opposites”. I was thinking large/small and one/many. 

Feb sketchbook  FEB detail

Is is refreshing to just play. To not wonder if this will turn into an idea worth pursuing, just to make marks and use materials, and play. It actually makes my art work time more productive…

Fresh start…

Resolutions. To do or not to do… Merriam Webster gives this: 

: the act or process of resolving: as a : the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones b : the act of answering : solving c : the act of determining 

as well as the more traditional New Years application: 
a : something that is resolved <made a resolution to mend my ways> b : firmness of resolve
Making a resolution on New Years simply because it is New Years – well, that has no strength behind it, no intention. Hate to break it to you, but that is one resolution that will fail. I like to get a fresh start. Evaluate the old year, and welcome in the new. Clean slate. Clean workspace.  Alyson Stanfield encourages her clients and readers to journal their accomplishments, taking time to reflect and appreciate the results of their labors. I scheduled coffee and journal time yesterday for exactly that!
New year, new sketchbook
Finished my refelections in the last sketchbook, and started the new, with images, quotes, all matter of inspiration. And goals. This fresh start of a year – planning, scheduling in major shows, exhibits… There is always some carry over of projects that have not yet come to be, transfered from the old journal to the new, moved up on the waiting list of creative endeavors. I find it very informative and interesting to look back on a year’s sketchbook entries, doodles, ideas, jagged scraps of thought that have yet to grow into a full piece of art. And there was coffee, and sleeping dogs, and sun streaming inthe window… Yes!
One of my goals for the year – is to catch up a bit on my reading. There are books from last Christmas, this Christmas, and all points in between. Can one ever have too many books? I think not – but they are to be read, and savored; not piled on shelves. I even make notes in margins – scandalous to some purists, I know, but it is MY book…
Berk and FroudFresh from under the tree: “The Runes of Elfland”by Ari Berk and Brian Froud; and the re-release anniversary edition of “Faeries” by Froud and Alan Lee. These are to be savored. My original copy of Faeries in paperback, very dog-eared is years old. I have had the good fortune to meet and chat with both these men, and they continue to be an inspiration to my life and work. 
Gaiman and BernheimerTwo anthologies: Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman and “My mother she killed me, my father he ate me” compiled by Kate Bernheimer. The latter – book club selection at Surlalune Fairy Tales. That will be an interesting discussion!
Fiction 2011
Fiction offerings: 
A.S.Byatt – “The Children’s Book”
David Bajo – “The 351 Books of Irma Acuri”
Paolo Coehlo – “Witch of Portobello”
Bill Willingham – “Peter and Max”
David Mitchell – “Cloud Atlas”

Celtic 2011
The Celtic resource books… ( Note the coffee splatter on the top book. Thanks Zoey!)
Mythy books
And the last pile of mythic/folklore/essays, etc. There may be a series of ceramic tree tiles awaiting me in the pages of that one book…
Where do I begin? Started “Peter and Max” last night. It is a “Fables” book, set in the contemporary fantasy universe I have grown to love in the graphic novels. Excellent so far. Perhaps the Norse mythology. There are some goddesses I want to read up on – inspiration for new collage works for a show in March.