Monday, July 25, 2011

Let the Wild Rumpus Begin!

The stars and planets are aligning this week, folks!  Not only is this my birthday week but this post right here is my 300th and I say it is time to celebrate!  Beginning tomorrow and continuing through Friday, look for a giveaway every day here at Lost Coast Post, the little blog that could.

It has taken me a bit over five years to hit 300 posts (and maybe, just maybe, I'll hit 100 followers this week.)  There have been a lot of ups & downs and I still face obstacles to blogging every single day.  Yet this small corner of the vast Internet that I claim as my own has grown on me and I am more excited each and every day by the potential of this space.

Thank you to everyone who takes the time to stop in, even when it seems like I've pulled up stakes.  Thank you for your sweet support and racuous cheering section; I couldn't have done it without you.  I sincerely hope that you all will join me for 300 more! 

Now will someone please toss the virtual confetti so we can get this party started!?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lost Coast Studio Saturday: The Eye of a Brainstorm

Approximately a decade ago, one of my brothers gifted me with several rolls of scrap sticker stock rescued from the trash of a printing company.  It was used to print indexing stickers for rubber stamps.  There are many different types of finishes such as shiny silver, aluminum silver, gold, kraft paper, vellum, glossy white and so on.  There are yards and yards of this stuff, each roll a little over 12 inches wide.  I was delighted to receive it but of course, I just stored it away in a closet as I had no clue what to do with it.  Ten years (maybe more), I've held onto these cumbersome rolls of sticker paper and they've been good for nothing more than homes for some seriously creepy spiders.

And then this morning, like a lightning bolt, it hit me:  I could make my own decorative tape!!!!!  OMG!  How awesome would that be!?  Some of the rolls have a sort of frosty opacity and when I decorated little pieces and peeled off the paper backing, I was delighted to be able to see the text underneath.  Just like washi tape!!
I can't see to move fast enough.  I'm in the process of painting and decorating a much larger sample.  I cannot wait until it is dry and I can cut it into strips!  Voila!  Serendipity tape!!!  And I now know exactly what I am going to do with my stash of wooden pins and spools... 

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Artist's Hand: Lettering Part 5

The following continues where this post left off as I finish this exploration of lettering for my blog series "The Artist's Hand."  

Once you've gotten to the point where you can comfortably and quickly write out the alphabet in your regular handwriting, you have an excellent starting point for developing your own fonts.  By beginning with your own handwriting (I call this your "Personal Baseline Alphabet" or "PBA"), you are already starting with structures that you know backwards and forwards.  Now it's time to find your inner font.

To create simple line fonts, the things you can do to your PBA fall into a couple of categories: Alterations or Additions.

Alterations include changes to the basic shape of the letterform, spacing, and/or structure of your PBA.  These alterations are generally done as you are writing out the letters.

For example, you can make your letters extra straight and tall or conversely, make them short and fat.  Or try making your letters extra-rounded.  Alternately, try to create an extra-angular alphabet.  Another idea is to alter the placement of the letters' midline.  The dotted line on these children's lettering pads shows you where the midline normally falls.  As an experiment, raise or lower the midline and see how it changes the look of the letters.

Another method of altering letters is to simply change the spacing.  Note in my sample how cramming the letters together or spacing them out changes the mood the letters convey.  Jumbling up the letters by using different heights and positioning creates a playful, energetic look.

Finally, you can also alter the case: write in all lowercase, all uppercase, or use a bit of both.  Again, all these options for altering your PBA generally happen as you are writing out the letters so at first it may feel a bit awkward.  If you develop something you like, practice it until it becomes more comfortable.

Additions are the second way of changing your PBA.  These are embellishments to your letters that are most often added after you print out the letters.

Serifs are the little flourishes at the ends of letters.  Try adding simple dots, stars, hearts, flowers, buttons, loops or dashes.  Serifs, depending on how they are used, can make letters more playful or more formal.  Another idea for additions is to include simple structures such as stitches, wiggles, dots, shadows, thick or thin lines and so on.  Play attention to how each alteration and addition changes the emotion of your alphabet.  If you figure out what makes the letters silly, girly, busy, or serious, you will be able to match your titles and small bits of journaling to the mood of your content.

I hope all my readers are exploring their handwriting with a little more confidence and a broader sense of adventure!  As an extra little treat (it is my birthday month after all), I'll mail out 4 copies (winners chosen at random) of the little pamphlet I wrote for my follow-up lettering class called "Find Your Inner Fancy Font."  * Thank you for your comments; all pamphlets are spoken for. * Once I got students through the creation of simple line lettering, we would move on to block letters.  The handout just served to provide a printed supplement to the things I demo'd in class.

Happy lettering!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hand & Soul Studio News

My Etsy shop, Hand & Soul Studios, is once again full up with hand carved goodness for art journalists.  This now includes a set of weather icons which I created because I love to record the daily weather conditions in my journal but I don't want every entry to feature a repetitive synopsis of what it looks like outside.  Now I can stamp the appropriate icon on some aged sticker paper or vintage ledger paper, cut it out, and add it alongside my other (more interesting) thoughts.

And coming soon (probably in a day or so), four different sets of "prompt" stamps: little words to help title and describe particular types of journal entries.  They are completely carved but I still need to take pictures and upload all the information to Etsy. Edit:  These are now available in the shop!  After these, I'll probably take a break from carving partly because my hands need it but also because the carving material I use is out of stock.  A big thank you to everyone who has stopped by my shop to take a peek!

I'm slowly expanding the offerings at Hand & Soul Studios.  In early August, look for creativity kits filled with my hand painted papers.  And I'm contemplating adding background stamps to my stamp line (still in search for the perfect name!)  The big news is that I may be leaping back into the world of zine-making.  I'm not going to jump until I'm 100% percent sure I'm able to tackle such a project but the idea of a paper companion to Lost Coast Post has been percolating for a while.  I'll definitely be adding some original art for sale at the shop but I'll post more on that once the details settle in my consciousness.

Tomorrow, I'm finishing up my lettering segment for my July post series called "The Artist's Hand" AND next week is my birthday week so I'll be planning and scheming all weekend, trying to cook up a little celebration.  Sooo hopeful you'll join me!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Artist's Hand: Lettering Part 4

Before we dive into the actual creation of personal fonts from our handwriting on Friday, I wanted to offer up some basic tips to keep in mind when you sit down to either practice or add stuff for real in your journal.

Slow Down!  
There's no rush.  Set aside time to letter just as you do would journaling. 

Don't worry about creating perfectly formed, spaced, and straight lettering!  It's not natural (excepting professional calligraphers) and sucks all the fun out of it.  To this end, be careful about overusing your pencil eraser.

Practice, practice, practice!
This cliché has been drilled into us since elementary school but it still holds true: the more you letter, the better.  In my experience, students' two biggest obstacles are lack of self-confidence and lack of practice, NOT a lack of innate skill.  Practicing helps ease the inner critic.

Play, play, play!
Create your very own collection of fonts unique to your personality and lettering needs.  Have fun!  Letter a favorite saying or silly newspaper titles.  Pick a holiday randomly and develop a font for it.  Make up a holiday for that matter...

Note:  When I say "font," I mean a set of letters that has a consistent style and form.  Your natural handwriting is your base "font."  On Friday, we'll start manipulating that handwriting to develop new permutations of your basic letterforms.  These new fonts will be useful for adding quotes, titles, and even short paragraphs in your journals.  (For longer passages, I recommend just using your regular handwriting as the words will flow much better if you're not trying to make your letters fancy whilst thinking.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I Know Not What Direction I Boogie

Work continues in my Full Tilt Boogie journal, sometimes frantically and sometimes leisurely.  This type of journal is very easy to work on in five to ten minute increments and I have only skipped days altogether when my migraine brain is in high gear for the majority of the day.  And even on those days, I sit and sift through my scrap box, grabbing things that tickle my fancy and trying them out on various pages.
I've mostly been using this as my "daily diary," squeezing my mundane ramblings in between all the collaged images that inspire me.  I've been doing a lot of thinking though about how my journals can function as more than just a container for the everyday.  I want my journals to help illuminate my hopes, dreams, personality quirks, and interests.  Of course, journals do that indirectly through the visual content I choose and create but I feel as though my writing could get a little deeper.
I've never really been one for using prompts although I love collecting them and certainly use them with my middle school art students.  I'm not sure why that is but I've been rethinking the use of prompts to help me focus and generate content that moves beyond weather observations and the daily pain assessment.  Recording and unloading, as journaling styles, serve a purpose but so does list-making and daydreaming.  I want to do more of the latter.
I'm also feeling twinges of guilt over all the collage in this journal.  I am adding a lot of handwriting and hand carved images (find them here!) but not as much original art as I would like.  In the past, collage work was agonizing and since this breakthrough of sorts, it goes much pleasantly.  I wonder if all this second-guessing is common or if I'm just overanalytical.  (Don't everyone chime in at once! lol)  I'm deeply happy working in this manner so why all the doubts?  It is super helpful to remind myself that art journals are akin to living creatures and they evolve as influenced by their creator.  I am free to push and pull in any direction I see fit and there are no missteps or dead ends, only new paths that miraculously appear to take me places I could never imagine or plan.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Artist's Hand: Lettering Part 3

Happy Monday!  My July blogging series, "The Artist's Hand," continues today with more on lettering.  I began with ideas for adapting and altering lettering "products" such as foam stamps & stencil templates and continued with some ideas on how to use rubber stamp fonts.  Today we are going to venture into something that can be scarier territory: your own handwriting.  The following post is adapted from class materials I developed back in 2002.

"I hate my handwriting:" This is a common refrain in art classes and I've read that phrase over and over again on blogs.  It seems that for many, the art of lettering is frighteningly close to the seemingly impossible art of drawing.  There are many lettering books on the market that give you lots of ideas for fonts to "draw."  This scares off many people right from the beginning.  So I decided to develop a way to teach lettering using an individual's own handwriting as the starting point.  Thus, each and every one of us has a ready-made font "skeleton" immediately at hand!  By making simple changes to your existing handwriting, you can confidently create beautiful lettering for any project.

One of the best things for practicing your handwriting are children's lettering pads.  Remember those from way back?  They come in different line thicknesses, depending on the grade level they target: little ones just learning to create letter forms use pads with really wide lines and as kids get older, the lines get closer together.  All of these pads feature a dotted center line and that's useful when you start transforming your letters into unique fonts.

As far as other tools are concerned, I encourage you to practice in pen because many times a pencil (and its tempting eraser) causes students to spend more time editing and criticizing their creativity than actually lettering.  However, as long as you can keep a muzzle on your inner critic, by all means use a pencil.

Begin by writing out the alphabet (upper and lowercase) in your neatest printed handwriting just like you did in grade school.  DO NOT make this an exercise in agony.  Lettering that takes you ten hours to print out is neither useful nor fun.  Get used to smoothly but quickly printing out the alphabet.

This is what I call your "PBA" (Personal Baseline Alphabet) or your personal starting point for developing fonts.  With this method, you will always begin with your PBA.  Practice just writing the alphabet so you don't stress over your handwriting.  You just need the letter forms to play with. 

On Wednesday, I'll continue this post with ways you can alter and add to your PBA.  For now, make friends with your handwriting; it is a deeply unique and personal part of you that your heirs will treasure.

Note:  I always hope this goes without saying but unfortunately, I sometimes discover it is necessary to throw out this reminder: Any written & visual material here at Lost Coast Post AND at my Etsy shop, Hand & Soul Studios, is copyright-protected and is for your personal use only.  Links are warmly welcomed but please don't copy my posts to your own blog or take my images and copy them line for line in your own work.  Many heartfelt thanks to all who work to respect and protect artists' copyrights...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lost Coast Studio Saturday: Organizing Part 2

Today's Lost Coast Studio Saturday continues the organizing theme that I began in this post.  Here's some more ideas:
Since space is at a premium, I don't save any magazines.  Instead, I tear out the articles I think would be good to hang onto for future reference and then file those articles away in the appropriate binder.  I go through these binder periodically to purge stuff that I no longer want and to get fresh inspiration if I'm in a creative rut.  Images that I wish to save get stored in one of various morgue files scattered throughout the house.  (Remember - the most used stuff gets stored closest to me.)
I love collecting tins and storing supplies in them but as I acquired more and more tins, I found it hard to remember what was in each one.  So I used an awl and these metal frames from the scrapbooking department to label each tin.  Viola!  A pretty way to store things and no more having to take the tin down to find out what is tucked away inside.
I hang my large decorative paper in the hallway leading to the upstairs bathroom.  I just stack them and hang by bulldog clips.  This allows me to easily rifle htrough my collection to see what I have and the papers get to lie flat.
For the smaller pieces of handmade and decorative paper, I roll them and store in cans hung on the wall.  This makes another cool and practical display.
And one last tip...I have a lot of black spiral bound sketchbooks.  So that I can see which volume I want at a glance, I hang decorated round tags off the spiral.  This might seem like a small detail but it is an amazing time saver.

For a full tour of my upstairs work space, I've added a new set of pictures to my Flickr account.  Go here to check them out!  Happy organizing!

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Artist's Hand: Lettering Part 2

I was rummaging through my lettering binder (I'll talk more about my binder organizing system in tomorrow's Lost Coast Studio Saturday) and rediscovered materials from lettering classes I taught back in 2004 (so glad I archive everything!.)  The following is a scan of a sampler I helped students create during a class all about using rubber stamp letters.  I thought that it fit perfectly with our current discussion of ways to get text onto your journal pages.  The scan's a little wonky in the upper right corner due to some thick embellishments but I think you get the idea.

The lettering theme will continue in next week's "The Artist's Hand" post series so stay tuned...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

In Blank Canvas Hell

As productive and enthusiastic as I have been with my journals lately, I have been the exact opposite with the mountain of blank canvases that has been staring me in the face for...dare I say last year.  Yikes!  I am supposed to hang a large show in October and what you see here is the sum total of my progress on this project.  And I still don't have a clue what I'm going to do.  This canvas is only collaged because I felt compelled to do something and I had hopes that if I just got my fingers moving, my brain would follow.  It was a nice theory while it lasted.

Today I decided that I was going to make a concerted effort to carve my show theme and technique in stone.  That vow fizzled out somewhere between the third and fourth cup of coffee.  I have plenty of notes and research, oodles of supplies...what I am lacking in spades is confidence - confidence in my technical abilities and confidence that I am doing something fresh and interesting that people will want to see and if I'm lucky, buy.  I struggle mightily with that age-old artists' dilemna: make what sells or make what my heart desires.  Unfortunately, it isn't always the same thing.  I want to be adventurous but I don't want to end up with fifty canvases that are only good for cutting off the frame and lining the birdcage.  Arrgh!  And now, I have the addition of time pressure to freak out my already doubtful brain.  So fun... 

Long story short, I figure I have until Monday to make a decision and start cranking out work or I have officially crossed into "The Land of Embarrassing Phone Calls to Cancel a Rarely Available Show Slot that I Booked Far Enough in Advance To Have Figured Something Out."  I'll let you know how this story ends....

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Artist's Hand: Lettering Part 1

My July blog series, "The Artist's Hand," continues and today, I'm going to move into the heart of the topic: ways to make your mark on your work for greater interest, authenticity, energy, and originality.  One of my favorite methods of doing this is through hand lettering.  A lot of people seem afraid to do this or claim they don't like their handwriting.  I've got answers for both dilemnas but we'll ease into that.  For right now, let's look at ideas for adding text to a page without utilizing your own writing.

The key to making all of the following products "read" as your voice (as opposed to just pre-fab product slapped on a page) is to alter the letters by hand.  Don't just stick or stamp or stencil; go a little further, grab a pen and interact!.  The results are much more personal.

Doodle around sticker letters.  I like to use sticker fonts that are very neutral and simple so that I can make them my own.  You can see that I also used a white paint pen to add a tiny hightlight to each letter.  You can also doodle around the stickers and then remove them!  Presto! Instant hand lettering!

When using stencil templates, don't just trace and call it a day.  Fill it in with colored pencil or marker (white looks very cool on a dark background) and attack it it with a loose doodle outline.  (Can you tell I'm fond of that technique?)

Stamped letters are also fantastic for adding text.  It may seem tedious to "write" this way but it actually gets a little meditative as you concentrate on spelling things right and finding each letter.  Again, use a pen to fancy up the stamped letters and make them your own.

Using the "ransom note" technique always seem to read as playful and original.  Cutting, choosing and placing all those little words and/or letters requires a lot of hand work.  But don't just glue them down.  Get busy doodling little frames around the paste-ups to integrate them into your page.

I also love using foam stamp letters!  Remember the sets from Making Memories?  I rarely leave them alone once I stamp with them but instead, I choose to add doodle and paint accentsGive the letters a shadow.  This also serves to integrate the product into your page.
I hope you find some ideas here that inspire you to make things your own.  As I've said, this isn't an anti-product rant fest.  It's about being brave and bold and creative and finding ways to make sure that your personal voice shines out of your work like a beacon.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

More Hand Carved Journaling Stamps in Stock

I've been a mad stamp carver lately, trying to get my little Etsy shop, Hand & Soul Studios, restocked with some more of my hand carved journaling stamps.  These stamps have been a labor of love...a bit of labor and a whole lotta love as I adore how these stamps look in my journal!  They are perfectly imperfect.  I have tried to make them work together as a cohesive set and I've had a lot of fun doodling in my sketchbook, developing new designs. 
This time around, I added a set of alphabet stamps, a fancy marquee frame, and a set of frame stamps that can be used for page titles or small bits of journaling.  

I'm trying to come up with a name for this line of stamps and so far I'm striking out...anybody have any ideas?  My secret working title was "Vintage Smintage" since these were born following a particularly annoying online session searching for reasonably priced vintage labels to use in my journals.  However, I don't really want to slam anybody that collects and uses vintage ephemera in their art.  This is just an alternative...if you brainstorm any good names, let me know in the comments...

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Artist's Hand: Critical Shopping

Happy Monday!  Lost Coast Post went on holiday this weekend as I took time to trapse around ancient redwoods, chase my darling nephew, and sit in the sun with my parents.  Sweet!  I needed a little recharge time and now, I think I'm ready to face a crazy busy week, full of doctors' appointments, errands, show planning, and Etsy shop business....

I'm also ready to leap back into my July post series celebrating "The Artist's Hand."  As you can see from this shot of my studio, I am surrounded by supplies (and there's a bunch I wasn't able to capture in this single picture as well as another room downstairs devoted to art stuff.)  I keep things super organized and clean but even so, I often feel overwhelmed.  About a year ago, I realized that I had reached my "stuff" saturation point.  Enough is enough; I was ready to prioritize creating over collecting.

It is tough.  The industry is constantly releasing new and tempting goodies.  And let's face it: sometimes it's just a lot easy to shop than to actually make art.  I still buy things from time to time but in order to stay on track, I've become extremely critical about what I bring into the studio.  Here are some questions I ask myself before I make a purchase:
  • Is it essential?  These are supplies that I use up frequently such as adhesives, brushes and most commonly used paint colors.  I keep a master list as I run out of something so that in the store, i can focus on what I really need and not what I want on impulse.
  • Is it a duplicate?  I keep a swatch book of the paints, markers, pencils, and inks I own so I don't buy something I already have.  And if I already have plenty of a particular supply (i.e. brads), I don't buy any more even if I see it presented in a brand new way.  I have learned to make what I have work.  (This is sooo important!)
  • Is it a neutral/universal product or is it pre-determined?  Will it support my creativity or stifle it?  (See last Friday's post for more on this.)
  • Is it a one-shot item?  I no longer buy project-specific supplies.  If I can't use something across a variety of projects, then it doesn't come home with me.
  • In regards to books, does it provide new information?  Books are deliciously tempting but I realized that a lot of the art books out there are repeating the same basic material.  I love to shop on Amazon but I browse the books in the bookstore first to see if the book I'm drooling over online is really worth the cover price.
By getting tough and critically evaluating every potential purchase, I've been able to cut my art supply buying habit by about 90 percent.  Honestly, I have enough stuff to last me years and years.  (What about you?)  I want to my family to inherit finished products, NOT box upon box of raw materials.  When I pass on, I want my heirs to gather 'round my work and laugh and read and remember; I don't want them to have to gather with strangers at a mega garage sale of all my unused supplies....just something to think about. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Artist's Hand: Go Neutral!

My personal strategies for bringing my personal artistic voice to bear, front and center, in my work are still evolving but there's one thing I've been doing for years: carefully considering the type of imagery I shop for.

I avoid images and supplies that are overly pre-determined.  By this I mean that I don't buy stuff that already has a strong narrative or style that tells its own story.  For example, I try not to purchase rubber stamps that are connected with a specific artist's name.  I'd rather not have someone look at my art and squeal "Oooh! I just love that Tim Holtz stamp!"  If you think I'm going to slam Mr. Holtz and the supply empire he's built, you'd be wrong.  There's a ton of stuff in the Holtz line-up that I adore.  Do I own some of his stamps?  You bet.  Some of his older clear stamp sets are awesome for journaling.  But I use those images super sparingly and I don't make them the focal point.  Generally speaking,  I stick with neutral, universal imagery like non-descript text, basic shapes, things that can blend into my work and help tell my story.  And by sticking with a narrow range of imagery, I increase the odds that my work will feel like a cohesive whole.  (Remember: Repetition is one of your best friends.)

The picture above shows the rubber stamps I keep in my immediate studio space and I think you can see this principle in practice.  (And you can see that I keep those overly determined images tucked away out of sight.)  I use this same strategy when considering stencil and paper designs.  I also consider the depth of use I'd get out of a particular supply.  I no longer purchase anything that has a project-specific purpose.

Of the best way to have tools and images that serve your narrative needs is to make your own: cut your own stencils, carve your own stamps, draw (or digitally create) your own images...the less you can rely on commercial imagery, the more your art shines with your personal voice.  However, it isn't always practical or possible to make it yourself and let's face it, there's some cool stuff out there!  But by choosing carefully, you can save some money and build a stash that doesn't simply sit around and dominate your mental and physical space.  

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Caution! Mini Rant Ahead!

Although my day started with another migraine at 3am, I was able to get ahead of it very early and knock it out before it got a real foothold.  Love it when it works out like that!  Until now, I haven't really had a chance to sit down at the computer and so I sit here without a plan for this post, no picture and a bunch of random thoughts.  Look out!

I think a lot about product and how it helps or hurts me as an artist.  There is so much I love (and have collected) and yet so much frustration as I see what the industry thinks I need now.  And what really blows my mind (or maybe just saddens me) is that the "latest and greatest" in "you too can be an artist" stuff is on a three month back order at the local scrapbook store because of its wild popularity.  Sigh.  If, for whatever reason you can't or don't make your own journals, no problem:  Go to Etsy and browse through the hundreds available there.  You're sure to find one that suits your needs (hell, there are people who make custom journals exactly to your specifications!) AND you will be supporting a fellow artist - someone's mother, daughter, sister, wife (or, of course, father, son, brother, husband) - who is trying to make their way in this lousy economy with his or her head held high.  When do the corporate pockets fill up?  When do they say "Wow! I think we made enough off of people's insecurities and ignorance."  Now someone is sure to say "This is America! Go capitalism!"  Blah blah blah...I'm tired of hearing that.  Making a quick buck is making a quick buck: let's just call it what it is and move forward and really dig deep, not into our pocketbooks, but into our souls and the huge stashes we already have.  I think when we get there, we'll find we're capable of much more that the industry thinks.
For me, the bottom line is this: art-making is very similiar to eating well.  The farther I get from the Source (in the case of art - my hands, head, and heart), the less genuine the experience.  In the supermarket, the real food is on the outside aisles and the deeper you go into the store, the more fake the food.  Can you have treats once in a while?  Sure.  But indulge in a steady diet of heavily processed foods (or heavily processed, pre-fabricated art supplies) and you are likely to lose yourself.

If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you'll know I'm not prone to rants.  I keep stuff like religion & politics very close to the vest; it's deeply personal and not what this blog is about.  But today, my soapbox is showing.  Ooops!  I am not condemning the scrapbook industry; there just has to be balance in all things.  There have to be people who stand up and say "That stuff does look cool but you know what?  You, little old you, who's afraid of art unless it comes pre-packaged with pretty logos and pre-planned systems, you are capable of creating things SO MUCH MORE beautiful if you would just trust yourself and your own two hands."  There.  I said it.  Now would you all please just give yourself a chance to see how brilliant you are without using every frickin' product the industry can cram down your throats?
I'm stepping down now and going off to soothe my hot-headed self with a cup of cocoa.  Tomorrow, Lost Coast Post gets back to focusing on positive ways to help yourself shine.  Be well, be happy, and please, oh please, be you! 'Night!

The Artist's Hand: Begin Here

Every Monday, Wednesday & Friday, all throughout July, I'm going to be celebrating "The Artist's Hand," the most important tool you have at your disposal for creating work that is energetic, full of personality, and genuine.  The art and craft industry is right in your face every day, bursting with new and exciting product that they and their peddlers say is "must have."  Some of that product can amplify self-expression (and we'll celebrate that this month as well) but there's A LOT of "stuff" that at best, muffles your personal voice, and at worst, sucks your soul (and your wallet) dry.  Ahem...I'll do my best to keep my soapbox tucked away out of sight; my passion for this issue has only intensified over the years.

Like so many artists, I've spent a lot of time wondering and worrying about whether or not I had a unique style.  Am I whispering in my work or does it scream my name when someone looks at it?  For a while, I thought maybe, I was never going to be able to answer that question with certainity.  And then I realized that my fear of being heard was increasing in direct proportion with the amount of stuff I was accumulating.  Hmmm...So I brought the impulse buying to a halt and and I began to focus on skills, tools, and techniques that yielded more personal results.

So what does "the artist's hand" encompass? Here's what it means to me:
  • Doodling, drawing, painting, lettering...
  • Stencilling & Stamping with an emphasis on handmade tools or neutral, universal imagery...
  • Techniques/Tools with heavy hand/artist involvement: for example, ink jet transfers, sewing/stitching (either by hand or machine), photography, bookbinding, creative writing, altering and so on...
And here's the really exciting (and scary) part:  All of the above, things that make your work unmistakably yours, have one thing in common: imperfection!!  If you want to make authentic work, you have to embrace imperfection.  All the wobbly lines, stray paint splatters, bad rhymes, the out-of-focus, the off-balance or out of proportion - learn to love it all! 

On Friday, July 8, I'll talk about neutral/universal versus the pre-determined and on Monday, July 11, I'll write about my strategies for supply shopping that honor your voice (and your budget.)  And by the middle of next week, we'll start putting our hands all over our work with a short primer on lettering!  Hope to see you here!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Holding My Head but Still Dancing in My Journal

Spread from July 2 and 3
July 4 spread
I had a bad run of migraines last week (four in a row!) and consequently, most of my art-making gave way to pain management.  I discovered though that this style of journaling is actually very welcoming in times of ill health.  It doesn't take a bunch of mental effort to dig through my bulging scrap box, choose something that pleases me and then glue it down.  If I was really suffering (migraines have a way of shutting down daily life if they get out of control), I saved my journaling and decisions about focal images until I had a bit more energy and tolerance of light.

I'm really having a grand time in this journal and as a result, I'm now behind in Mary Ann's class; she just posted the instructions for our third & fourth binding style and I haven't even attempted the journal from week 2.  However, the journaling is just pouring out of me right now and I feel I need to give that energy the proper attention.  I want to make sure I capture every bit of my renewed enthusiasm while it is flowing so freely.

If you want to see more from my Boogie journal, check out this set at Flickr.  Every page is shown there in order as it occurs in the journal... 

PS...My hand carved stamps for journaling are back in stock at my Etsy shop...thank you to everyone who popped in to take a peek!                         

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Taking a Teeny Tiny Break

After yesterday's monster of a migraine, I've decided to take the smallest of blogging breaks to catch my breath, recoup my energy, take care of Etsy shop business (my stamps blew out the door in a whirlwind - thank you!) and enjoy the holiday weekend.  It doesn't make much sense to push until I break so instead, I'm going to bend a little. 

Lost Coast Post will resume regular posting on July 5th.  Hope you'll join me then for my month-long celebration of "The Artist's Hand!"   

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Celebration is Brewing!

It is almost unbelievable that it is now July and even more amazing, I blogged 28 days in June!!!  If you've followed this blog for any length of time or even if you've just arrived and skimmed through old posts, you'll notice that I've often been an inconsistent blogger.  However, I'm working to change that and the grand experiment will continue through July (with the shortest of holidays for Independence Day festivities).

I'll admit that some days, I have a hard time deciding what to write about but after much thought, I realized that there is one particular subject that I've always been passionate about and here at Lost Coast Post, all this month, that topic is going to become the center of attention.  It's going to be all about...

The key to creating unique, authentic art is retention of the mark of the artist in the work.  The marketplace is brimming (no, overflowing) with pre-fabricated supplies.  Turn right this minute and look at your own stash.  Yep. There it all is.  And there's nothing wrong with using any of it as long as you don't sacrifice your own voice in the process.  So in July, we're going to shake off our fears and play!  I'm developing this as I go along but there's a few things I know for sure:  We'll work on developing our lettering skills and we'll celebrate supplies and techniques that amplify our voice rather than muffle it.  And there will be giveaways since July also happens to be my birthday month!  What a co-inkydink!

I hope you'll join me here, beginning July 5th, for this mini blog event!  (On that day, I'll have more specifics about content and the posting schedule for "Artist's Hand" topics.)  Tell your friends! It would be great to have a bunch of people play along!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...