Tuesday, January 30, 2007

All Caught Up on Inchies Posting

Jan 23rd - Jan 29th
The beginning of this week in Inchies found me still strugging with feelings of disquiet; Hence "Awaken from sadness and live." On the 24th, a thick, pea soup fog snuck in off Humboldt Bay and so I documented this event. The 25th was just a playday Inchies-style as I freehand cut some baby birdies to skitter through my squares. January 26th marked the first time I've used a photograph as a background. This row illustrates something I actually saw on the morning drive to my son's school (the raven is painted onto squares from a photo I took). On the 27th, I wanted to honor my artist friends, near and far, who provide me with so much support and friendship and lastly, on the 29th, I created a set of squares to remember the racehorse Barbaro who had to be euthanized after a long, brave battle to try and recover from a devasting accident at the track. For some reason, his story deeply affected me and I felt compelled to mark this moment in time.

Inching Along

Jan 16th - 22nd
I'm a little behind in posting the weekly pages for my Inchies project due to the predictable variety of distractions. However, I am managing to complete squares each day. There are days where the process flows freely and is actually quite fun and days where I moan and groan my way through the task. On most days, I have a good idea of what my subject matter will be; The greatest challenge has been in finding images to match that are scaled small enough to suit such a tiny canvas.

On January 17 (second row from top), Northern California was hit by yet another hard freeze (bye, bye to citrus for a while). The squares for this day illustrate the soft stillness that descends when all is covered in a light dusting of white. On the 18th, my migraines finally eased after a solid week of torture; On the 20th, I simply played with some symbols omnipresent in my artistic lexicon. January 21 (second row from the bottom) was a particularly trying day as a parent and finally, January 23 found me battling some sadness as I realized how incredibly behind I am in all things due to my health. Using my experiences, observations, events, and/or emotions as subject matter for each day's Inchies makes this endeavor more and more like a journal project as I progress. Not every day is remarkable or worth documenting, of course, so on those "uninteresting" days, I am filling in with little visual explorations and exercises.

Monday, January 15, 2007

2007 Inch by Inch Continues

January 9th through the 15th

Well, two weeks into January '07 and I'm still committed to my resolution to create five, 1-inch squares of art (aka "Inchies") every day for the entire year. Yes, it has occurred to me that I just might be crazy. Yes, I have spent time trying to weasel my way out of a day's squares...it is going to be a long year, folks. But I did them anyway and that has to count for something. There were some tough days this week too.

On the 9th (first row), I did a huge load of laundry in the morning and hurt my back in the process. I proceeded to hobble around my studio for the rest of the day, preparing for an altered book class I was teaching that night. My son was sick with a fever and a bad cough...just an "anything that could go wrong" sort of day. I didn't get home from my class until about 9:30pm so five stars were all I could muster. On the 10th, I had an unenlightening visit to my neurologist regarding my migraines; hence, "Doctors study and probe the depths of my interior." I rebounded on January 11th with "your soul can travel far" accompanied by some divine angels painted by Giotto. We had another hard freeze in Northern California on the 12th and on the 13th, I was poking fun at my own project with "Be not little; Be bold." I continued the playful trend yesterday with some fanciful headgear in a set of squares I lovingly call "Old Dead White Men." Hmmm...there's Robert Frost...and oh, look! Our own Mr. Freud front and center...a little artistic wink goes out to my art partner, Ellen, who is a Jungian gal herself. (I actually did 15 in this series as I am in a swap, exchanging, of all things, 10 inchies.) Today, I simply tried to remind myself that I could draw on my squares as well (collage is so addicting!). And the project moves forward...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

"Handy" Belief

As an artist, my hands are my life and livelihood, the key to unlocking my inner thoughts and emotions, experiences and memories. However, my hands have often failed me due to several different types of hand diseases, disorders, and subsequent "salvage" surgeries. Consequently, hand imagery is a huge component of my artistic lexicon. Perhaps by celebrating the hand in my art, I can will my own hands back to health. From a cold, analytical medical standpoint, I will forever have difficulties with my hands. If I am to press forward with my dream of having a self-sustaining art career, I must believe that the hands I now have will be enough. The repetition of the hand in my work represents a visual affirmation of this belief.

I created this canvas for a one-on-one mini canvas swap with Kari Gibson. Shhh! Don't let the surprise out of the bag!

Monday, January 8, 2007

5 Inches a Day Underway

Art Squares for January 1st, 2007
As I posted previously, I have vowed to create five, 1-inch squares of art every day throughout 2007. I have set a few parameters for this project:

1) The squares must work together; in other words, they should function as a series rather than individual pieces.
2) The pieces should reflect an experience, event, thought, or emotion I have during the day in question. Thus, the squares will serve as mini journal entries. There is no written component to this project so any explanations of the squares' significance will be known only to me unless I elaborate on it here at my blog.
3) As much as I might want to, I am limiting myself to just the five a day. It is easy to get caught up in these fun little creations but I have a million other things to do and I can't get overly sidetracked with this undertaking. Plus, I don't want to tempt myself into cheating by creating squares for than one day at a time. 5 squares a day...that's it...period.
4) I am putting no pressure on myself to create "perfect" art each time. The point of this exercise is to ingrain a habit of daily artmaking no matter the obstacles that arise.
5) Whenever possible, I am trying to sit down and create these at approximately the same time each day. Early mornings are best and this daily dose of dainty art helps warm me up for larger projects.
6) I am gluing each day's set of squares into an altered daily calendar so I can see a week's worth of art at a time. If I manage to see this endeavor through to the end, I will have created 1,825 squares total.

January 2nd through January 8th:
The squares for January 3rd (2nd from top) didn't turn out quite right as I attempted tiny transfers that were too light. However, they do sort of convey the idea of "Alice Through the Looking-Glass." On the 5th, we had an extremely hard freeze here in Northern California so that day's set of blue squares reads "I See Specters in the Snow." On the 6th, the text reads "All sought refuge in the beauty of artistic dreams." On January 7th, I used a small picture of Saint Stephen, who (unbeknownst to me at the time) is invoked against migraines. Love that serendipity! Lastly, the text on January 8th reads "No dream is ever too big."
I am experimenting with allowable image size on Blogger so hopefully, I'll be able to post scans that reveal all the tiny details. As I complete seven days' worth of squares, I will post them and offer a few notes on my reasons or inspiration for their creation.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

I Resolve To...

"Escape cold museum art with a warm renaissance in journal experience & explore the journey of my zero-gravity soul."

I created this journal entry waaay back in February 2004 but I find it extremely relevant this new year...wow! 2007! Here I come! It is very intriguing to look back at past entries and see where my head and heart were at days, months, and even years ago. Wonder what it means if I'm in the same place I was three years ago? On the right path? Or in a rut?
Whatever the case, I love this time of year as everything seems infused with hope and possibilities. I am a huge fan of making and trying to keep resolutions, both artistically and personally. My track record isn't too bad but there are always a few that fall by the wayside. Those "failed" resolutions I carry over into the next year...and the next...and the next...until I manage to see them through. The resolution list is getting long but I have not lost faith in seeing those self-promises fulfilled. Here are some of my artistic resolutions for 2007:

1) I have decided to create 5, 1-inch art squares every day for a year. I know, I know...what was I thinking?? Actually, I was thinking that it is essential for serious, committed artists to create art every day and that an art career must be tackled as any job. I have many obstacles to the daily practice of art and it is easy for me to trip up and not do art for days at a time. But if I have any hope of becoming a working (and well-nourished) artist, I have to be in habit of art each day. I chose 1-inch art squares because they are a manageable size to tackle in a short amount of time but also challenging as the smaller you work, the more concentration and creativity it requires to produce a successful piece. I'll post these little exercises a week at a time as the year progresses.

2) I resolve to play the part of an artist more. I am sort of a wallflower, extremely self-conscious and worried about what other people will think of me. I have almost a phobia of people looking at me and tend to wear dark colors, no jewelry...nothing that will seemingly draw attention to my existence. But artists succeed when there is a certain freedom of thought and emotion, a willingness to "live out loud" as Emile Zola declares. Only by fully embracing the wild experience of living can I fully explore and express my experiences in this life. This is probably my most terrifying resolution so I'm going to take it a little bit at a time.

3) I want to develop my own stylized faces for use in my journals, art dolls, and other mediums. I've written before about my fear of figures/faces but this is the year to overcome that and see what I can create if I will only practice.

4) I vow to treat myself to 2 to 3 "art dates" per month. Julia Cameron writes about this concept in her classic "The Artist's Way" and suggests that when artists work they pull from deep inside and that the "well" of experience needs to be refilled on a regular basis. I do journal on the town about once a month with a dear friend and this time is a powerful and enriching art date that I find to be irreplaceable for regenerating my enthusiasm and creativity. And as a single mom, time out in the world may be the singlemost important key to sanity!

5) I want to continue teaching art at a local scrapbook store and offer classes again at my little apartment/studio. I did that for a couple of years and it was a wonderful experience. I just need to be a little bolder about advertising and self-promotion so I can broaden my student base.. (Maybe it will help if I'm wearing brighter colors! lol)

There's lots more smaller resolutions related to my artistic life and more than a few personal resolutions that I won't elaborate on here. As I said, the list is long but here, on the 6th day of the new year, I am filled with positive thoughts and excitement for what I can make come to pass! (We'll see where I'm at three months from now...)
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