Friday, July 31, 2009
I must preface this how-to by saying that I officially have a tinge of Obsessive Complusive Disorder (OCD) in my psychological profile. However, it is quite mild and generally, doesn't interfere with daily life and in fact, I have found that it can come in quite handy. I LOVE to organize; I've been color-coding, labeling, and compartmentalizing my life since grade school. Today, my studios are no exception. I can't function in chaos. So I have developed all sorts of filing and storage solutions that make my art life easier. Just know that you should always do what makes you comfortable in your personal space.
After I have read all my favorite art magazines, I tear out articles to file (that's another post), and then clip letters and words from the remaining magazine carcass. I also find magazines at thrift stores. I clip when I am feeling uninspired. I clip while watching T.V. I clip at the end of a long day of art and my hands are too tired to do anything else. The result is piles and piles of little words and letters. However, I found that when I went to create a ransom note, it took forever to find what I was looking for and I just don't have that much time & energy to spare. So I decided to unleash my formidable organizational skills upon that alphabet confetti and find a way to streamline the process.
My clipped letters are organized in envelopes by letter so when I need an "A," I simply go to that envelope in the file and viola! Give me an "A!" Teesha Moore organizes her clipped letters in a tray with lots of little compartments. Choose a method that works best for you. My clipped words have recently been organized by parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, contractions, helping verbs, commands, and so on. Even I'll admit this is going a bit overboard but it has come in handy when I'm creating a poem and I need a specific type of word to fill in a gap.
As far as found word poetry is concerned, I have organizational schemes for these as well. I dump out a bunch of words, create little phrases and poems and then when I have "written" what I wish, I gather up the words I'm using and put them in a clear plastic ATC or slide page. Each plastic pocket is labeled #1, #2 etc...Then, I write the number of the poem and the word order in a notebook. Yesterday, I "wrote" 20 tiny poems and filled up a slide sleeve. Now, when I'm working on my miniature journal, I can simply refer to my notebook, pick the phrase I'd like to illustrate, go to the corresponding pocket, and there are all the words I need. Well, those are your tips for this fabulous Friday!
I hear the men in white coats coming as I write this so I'd better close for now!
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
There are going to be some changes here at the Lost Coast Post as I move to make this forum more of a tool for my art life and business. Because, the answer to the big question, "What do I want to accomplish in the next ten years?" is quite obvious and simple: Build an artistic career that pays the bills and fills up my soul. Period. No more wallflowering. No more just surviving the days. No more self-doubt. No more putting myself and my dreams second just because I can't see the way clear. My 40th birthday is a blissful ending to a rough patch and the beginning of a whole new outlook. I am excited.
Notes on today's artwork: Illustration created for Vector Rehabilitation's annual Chocolate Gala fundraiser. Vector is the physical therapy office I have been attending since 2000; they have seen me through the aftermath of the last six surgeries. The man's head is a hand-colored image from Dover, the letters are clipped from magazines and the rest is hand drawn.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
I'm also trying to figure out what to do with the Lost Coast Post. I'd like to move a little bit beyond just chattering about my art and daily doings. Now that I'm posting more, I'm finding that I am sometimes running out of things to say. Maybe a challenge day?? I love thinking up challenge topics, especially ones that aren't overused. Perhaps, some more step-by-step posts and more tips and techniques...what do you think, dear readers?
Thursday, July 23, 2009
May 23, 2006 'Tis a Raven, Nothing More...
(with deepest apologies to Edgar Allen...)
I have a strange floor plan in my apartment where the living room & kitchen are upstairs and the bedrooms downstairs. My bedroom has been converted into a small classroom so I sleep upstairs on the couch, right alongside the studio space I have created for stretching my artistic wings. Wings of another sort have been visiting me though and it is a surreal experience born of Hitchcock and Poe.
European starlings are ubiquitious black & iridescent birds with sharp, yellow beaks and a wide variety of warbles, clicks, and whistles in their vocal repertoire. They are a non-native species and as such are held in low regard by local birders. However, I find them entertaining to listen to and almost comical to watch, especially as they come and go in large flocks.
Apparently, the local starlings' union has decided that the rooftop of my apartment is a fantastic morning meet-up point and so they gather there in large numbers to plot their adventures for the day. My upstairs has huge loft ceilings with very little between the redwood planking inside and the shingles outside. Consequently, I wake, just as dawn is breaking, to the rather loud pitter patter of many feet, as the starlings mill around and chatter about whatever starlings have to chat about.
However, as of late, a larger, more annoying visitor has become enamored with the apartment roof for a very different reason. A large raven has decided that the roof contains some very special, edible treat (termites??). This raven must have some sort of woodpecker envy going on because he attacks the roof with gusto, using his large, black beak to drill into the rooftop. The rap, tap, tapping of his efforts are plainly heard inside and it makes for an abrupt wake-up call. I have to admire his enthusiasm but as there seems to be no shortage of treats hidden in the roof, he has become something of a regular. Poe would be proud.
Note: The accompanying journal page reads "Embodied in air: Each time we speak, we give birth and take wing..." It was not created for this blog entry but seemed oddly appropriate.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
In between show stuff, I'm researching artists and creating samples for my classes starting in September when the new school year kicks off. Oh, and I'm hosting two major swaps AND trying to write/produce an online art journaling class that will go live in January! I think I'm going to need stock in a coffee company! How did I ever get this busy?! Thank you for all of your sweet comments and dedicated following of this thing I call my art life! Things are about to get crazy, ladies and gents!
Monday, July 20, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
that knelt down in the hardest winds
but could not be blasted away..."
- Edward Hirsch
Here's another page from my brand-new circle journal (inside front cover). I absolutely love this quote! As my 40th birthday shows itself on the horizon, I have been reflecting on the last decade of my life. It has been intense to say the least: six surgeries (and all the recovery time that has entailed), eight deaths in the family...sigh...the winds have definitely been in my face the last ten years and all along, despite everything negative that I could say, I've been leaning into the storm, and ever so slightly moving forward. Step by step, head down, coat clutched tight about my heart.
And as I ponder what the next ten years will bring, I look forward to trying to document the next year of my life in some special way. Erin at 365 Days of Being 30 decided that when she turned 30, she would create an art piece for each day of that year. I think it is a brilliant concept and I am trying to decide whether or not I'm up to creating a journal page a day (although I'm already damn close to that anyway.) A couple of Januaries back, I resolved to create five inchies (inch-by-inch art) a day for a year and sadly, I only made it to mid-February. Maybe one inchie a day would be more reasonable...or perhaps a twinchie (2 by 2 inches). I've seen other people on the Internet make an art doll or take a photograph a day. A contributor to the magazine Cloth Paper Scissors created a small handmade book every day for a year. Hmmm...any thoughts out there?
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
And this is the part where I impart a little wisdom to beginners, whether you're just starting out in journaling or mixed media in general - LESS IS MORE! Limit your palette, limit the tools, limit the stuff! There is sooo much cool stuff out there but in reality, it will just get in the way of actual art-making, especially at first. Someday, I'll post pictures of my studios (yes, I have more than one!) and you'll see that I am not immune to "too much stuff" disease. Nope, completely and thoroughly afflicted with that...but look what it took to make a successful journal page: some star stickers from the office supply store, magazine clippings and an image. Tools? Scissors and glue. All the "stuff" took a backseat to thought and presentation. Sure, a little serendipity was involved: how perfect that I happened to have the word "journey" in red so it could stand out and how grand that the image I've had for years only now felt right for what I wanted to say. However, if I hadn't collected some stuff together by color scheme, I wouldn't have seen the spot-on combination of word and image lurking in my studio. In the last year or two, as my stuff has ballooned to suffocating levels, I've taken to creating "theme boxes" to hold things related to those "looks" or theme I most often return to...red & black, romantic, Zetti and so forth. When I'm working in the red and black journal, I only look to the red & black box for papers, ribbons, clippings, images, tissues, and embellishments. When I have a special project going on, I create a box for it. When I shop, I limit myself to shopping for "consumables" like paints and inks, information in the form of books and magazines, and then by theme box. It doesn't make any sense to purchase Marie Antoinette stuff when I have no projects ongoing that require that style or theme. This method of limitation and simplification has worked well to stop the stash from further encroachment on my creative process. And that, my friends, is what really should be center stage.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Beginning tomorrow, the theme over at Three Muses is "Word Salad" and I must say that many of my journal entries fit this challenge as I am overly fond of the ransom note look and found word poetry. In fact, I am so enamored (or shall we say obsessed) with using this in my journals, I have organized all my clipped letters in individual envelopes by letter and my clipped words by parts of speech. Crazy, yes, but a tremendous time-saver. Just pop in to the "S" verbs and viola! Text for this page from my red and black journal!
Why, you may ask, a journal completely in red, black, greys, cream, and white? Well, everything I do is typically dripping in color so I thought perhaps it is important to have a place where I couldn't hide behind my palette, a destination where I can lay everything bare, literally and figuratively. It is actually refreshing to work in this journal...no fussy color families to consider...just pure story-telling with image and word. For more from this journal, see my Flickr site.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Anyway, after this piece receives a protective (and yummy-smelling) coat of beeswax, it will be available in my Etsy shop.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
Friday, July 3, 2009
Over at Three Muses, the challenge for the week is "Up, Up, and Away." I haven't had time yet this week to generate a brand-spanking new entry for the challenge so I present a journal page I completed some time ago as a tip of the hat to a great topic. (I love themes that haven't been done a gazillion times.) This particular character is Traveling Tallulah and she appears many times over in this particular journal, always with a odd conveyance of some kind. She represents that part of me who longs to travel beyond my boundaries, both external and internal. I love thinking up new ways for her to get from point A to point B. Come to think of it...I haven't visited Tallulah or this journal in some time (there are so many). I must make an appointment with this particular muse and see what develops.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
In other ramblings, I have jumped on the Twitter bandwagon. You'll find my Twitter feed to right in my blog sidebar. I sort of think it is just one more thing to keep updated but maybe someone out there wants to keep tabs on the life of an artist, teacher, single mom, daughter, sister, overall crazy person. My lone follower at this moment in time is my brother who can call and talk to me any time so go figure! We'll see how long I ride the Tweet train...it is oddly addicting!
And I just came back from random.org where I inputed numbers 1 through 11 to represent the 11 comments I received on my 100th post...and the winner of the mixed media piece is...NUMBER 11! That's Lyn Green (aka Lacy's mom)! Congratulations and thank you so very, very much to everyone who stopped by to celebrate with me! Your sweet comments are deeply appreciated! There's more giveaways in the Post's future so stay tuned!
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
In happy, happy news, I found out that in the fall I will be teaching art three days a week instead of one at my son's school! I've taught at this small charter school for three years now and I am so excited as this spells an expansion of my role as artist-in-residence and since my classes will run the course of the entire school year (instead of a semester at a time,) I will have much more time to help the kids make beautiful messes.
Tuesdays and Thursdays, I will have 15 to 20 high school students for a class exploring Hispanic and Spanish art (Latin American & Spanish art was my emphasis for my art history minor.) I've already worked on the syllabus for this class which will include a brief introduction to an artist and then an art project inspired by that artist's work. In this class, we'll study Mexican graphic artist Jose Posada and carve our own stamps. We'll create fantasy landscapes in water soluble oil pastels using Argentine artist Xul Solar as inspiration, create cubist self-portraits after studying Pablo Picasso, make mini mixed media quilts in honor of Frida Kahlo and finally, complete a paneled mural after studying about Diego Rivera and the Mexican Mural Movement.
On Fridays, I will have 33 middle school students! These guys are studying geography all year so although I have yet to write things in stone, I believe we will study an artist or artistic technique from each of the continents (excepting Antartica). There are so many fabulous artists to choose from and so little time! At the end of the school year, this school always takes a school trip that sums up what they've learned during the year and 2010 will be no exception. The students will be spending a week in San Francisco, practicing their geography and navigating skills throughout the city, eating foods from different cultures, and visiting art museums.
I am so honored to be able to contribute to a school that is refusing to cut their art program in these tough economic times but is, instead, expanding it! Hooray for going against the current!