Tuesday, July 31, 2012

2012 ICAD Mission Accomplished!

I absolutely cannot believe that I managed to complete this challenge!  Two months and 61 pieces of index card art later, I am relieved, proud, and energized.  With all the daily life challenges I already tackle, I am extremely selective about additional projects that I add to my already overflowing schedule.  Tammy's Index-Card-a-Day challenge via her outstanding blog, Daisy Yellow, is something I attempted last summer but failed to complete.  However, in the 20 days of participation I managed for ICAD 2011, a passionate daily drawing habit [re]emerged and it is something that continues to blossom and transform into new, exciting avenues of exploration.

Between my daily sketching and daily journaling, I already have a pretty fierce & consistent art routine.  So why did I join ICAD this summer?  Quite simply, I wanted to finish what I started.  I'm not always very good at doing that, for reasons unavoidable and otherwise.  Sometimes I don't finish something because life gets in the way and I'm forced to ruthlessly prioritize to survive.  Other times, I just lose interest, motivation, or inspiration.  This time around, ICAD 2012 was about reminding myself that I can overcome the obstacles that never seem to quit coming at me. 

I poured my heart into this project, especially when days were tough.  The key to finishing was not getting behind and in fact, staying ahead.  I prepped the card backgrounds in advance and made little piles of inspirational images & scraps.  I wrote down Tammy's prompts every Friday.  Generally speaking, I didn't use the prompts very often but when I did, I mixed & matched to my liking.  I didn't impose any more rules on myself than were already built into the challenge and (*gasp*) I even learned to love making art on flimsy index card paper (especially gridded cards!)

My cards are all over the place in terms of theme but when viewed as a complete set, consistencies in technique and palette become clear.  There were definitely days when I was just trying to get the damn cards finished and days where I played and played, discovering things I'll definitely use in future projects. 

You can view the entire set of my 2012 index cards at my Flickr photostream.  I want to thank Tammy of Daisy Yellow for all the time, organization, energy, encouragement, and inspiration she put into this challenge.  What an amazing amount of work!  Bravo!  Thank you to everyone who commented on my cards here & at Flickr and thank you to all who played along with ICAD and shared their incredible cards.  Your perserverance and creativity inspired me!

Believe it or not, tomorrow I'm moving on to another challenge!  Check back for all the details!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mid-Week Check-In: ICAD #53-55

Here's my index card art for Monday through today, Wednesday July 25 (aka challenge cards #53-55).  I enjoy working in small series; the work seems to go much quicker and I can switch up ideas immediately after three or four cards are completed with a single theme or technique.

I felt the backgrounds of these cards were already interesting and detailed so I finished them off with the simple addition of foreign postage.  I used to collect postage stamps for use in my artwork but once again, I haven't even looked through the collection in years.  I [re]discovered all sorts of cool images!

As a head's up:  I'm going to skip the upcoming Sunday ICAD check-in and post the last six cards on Tuesday, July 31.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Short & Sweet

Journal page from June 19, 2012
My 43rd birthday is less than a week away and this is the time of year that I review my New Year's resolutions, assess how I'm progressing and make any necessary adjustments or additions.  It can all get very serious and analytical but really, everything can be boiled down to a few simple declarations.  This journal page features one of those short and sweet statements I'm trying to live by...

[Journal page created with acrylic layers, copy of previous journal page, stamping, rub-ons...]

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday Check-In: ICAD #49-52

Here's my latest batch of index cards as this challenge moves into its final days.  I continue to rely heavily on rubber stamps images to get me through the last few cards.  I haven't used these stamps in years so digging through my stash is like going shopping in my own studio and I sort of like that!  Just nine more days!  Unbelievable!

I'll probably take a big break from index cards after July 31 simply because I need to lean into the last month of summer vacation and get a ton of work done.  I have another art show to hang in October and lesson plans to develop for the new school year.  If I thought I was going to be able to take a breather this summer, I was sorely mistaken...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Beginning Something New

After much contemplation, I've decided to start a new blog devoted solely to my drawing and illustration work.  This particular part of my artistic practice feels unique and separate from what I share here at Lost Coast Post; in fact, I've always kept my sketchbook work and my journal/painting work separate anyway so I've given in to that urge to compartmentalize by creating a new online space to fill with my all my doodled notions: Fiddlestick Hollow.  I would be absolutely tickled pink if you clicked on over to this new endeavor!  The first post is up and it will provide much more detail about this decision.  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mid-Week Check-In: ICAD #46-48

Not too many more of these Index-Card-a-Day check-ins to go!  Here's my cards for Monday July 16 through Wednesday July 18 (aka cards #46-48).  After a bit of a inspiration slump and a few icky health days, the cards are coming easier and I think I'll be able to finish strong.

I've been digging through my collection of unused rubber stamps and that's helping to generate new ideas for cards.  I have index card backgrounds prepped for the remainder of the challenge so I'll be able to just pull a card and begin working.  It is quite nice to see (finally) that my stack of finished cards is larger than that of my unfinished cards!

I also wanted to say thank you again for all the lovely comments, both here at LCP and over at my Flickr gallery!  Couldn't have made it this far without you!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday Check-In: ICAD #42-45

This post is going live a bit late this Sunday, July 15, because this morning I was four cards behind.  I've been losing a lot of time to migraines; that's nothing new so I just resume art-making when the headache storm abates.  To make catching up a bit easier, I worked in a series and in assembly line fashion.  I unearthed these rubber stamp sayings in a quest for stuff to destash and sell in my online shop.  I haven't used these particular stamps in years but as soon as I found them, I wanted to use them a couple more times before I sell them.  Viola! Since these stamps look like they belong together, I instantly envisioned an index card set.

After this challenge concludes, I'll use these index cards on journal pages for an instant visual element.  I can further embellish these cards or leave them as is; I can use them whole or in pieces.  However I utilize them, it will be nice to have these cards handy on a future day when I want to journal but I'm not up to an intense & lengthy studio session.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Follow That Flame

Many...perhaps most...of my journals are full to bursting with pages in which every square inch is filled with something: writing, collage, pattern, doodling, photo snippets.  I think that in this journal of handmade paper it is fitting that I often take a more simplified approach and let my pages breathe a bit.  Since the pages take multiple layers of paint so beautifully, I often concentrate on creating a subtle but intricate background and keep other imagery to a minimum.  Sometimes I work for days, even weeks on a background, waiting for inspiration to strike as to the ultimate theme or focus of the page.  The pages are naturally textured so I play around with color blending and pattern, letting process take the lead over product.  Push, pull, push, pull...in that quiet artistic rhythm, much can be learned.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Notes to Self

Index-Card-a-Day posts have unintentionally dominated my blog this summer so as promised, I'm beginning a review of recent journal pages.  My journaling has gone through definite stages in terms of content.  When I was in the midst of all the drama and surgical trauma surrounding my hands & feet, I journaled a lot about overcoming obstacles to make my way back to art.  I spent many, many pages talking myself through the seemingly endless years of physical therapy.  I poured my heart out about depression and anxiety, simultaneously unloading and uplifting myself.  I use my journals as sounding board whenever I needed to talk things out and think things through.

Lately, as my health stabilizes in some areas, I've turned my journaing towards two main mental conversations: self-care and building an art career.  Sometimes those two goals are diametrically opposed: sustaining any gains in my health battles really requires slowing down and learning not to push myself so hard.  In contrast, sustaining any momentum towards self-employment requires a certain "never give up, never surrender" approach.  So, in my journals, I converse with myself in words and images about these topics, recording inspiring quotes, issuing commandments, roughing out ideas for art show material, and recording pep talks to be read when things feel bleak.

I'm not sure if I've gained any clarity on either issue but I've definitely built up my courage for both battles.  Journals are a wonderous tool!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Strata of My Life

Just in case everyone is getting weary of index card art (what an absurd notion! lol), I'm switching gears for a few days and featuring some recent journal pages.  I think most of my initial following arrived here at Lost Coast Post because of my journal page postings but it dawned on me that I haven't shown any journaling work in quite a while.  I journal every day so it isn't that I don't have stuff to share.  In reality, I was feeling tired of sharing my pages.  When I began this blog, I posted virtually every single page I completed.  However, I journal for me and I began to feel like sharing absolutely every thing I created took a bit of power away from the finished product.  I take time now to live with my creations, to appreciate the messages they reveal, to reflect on lessons learned, and to let the work evolve as it desires without the added pressure of wondering whether the Internet world will like it, judge it, copy it, pin it, comment on it and so on.  The minute I give any of those thoughts the time of day, I lose sight of why I journal in the first place.

Anyway, inspired by this post over at Daisy Yellow, I begin my recent journaling-in-review with this photo of the edges of a journal I'm very close to completing.  I was instantly attracted to this journal's rough deckle pages but was concerned that the paper wouldn't hold up under rigorous painting.  In fact, quite the opposite happened as this is probably one of my all-time favorite journals for heavily painted pages.  Once a coat of acrylic is applied to these heavyweight handmade pages, the page seems practically bulletproof.  And of course, the edges become even more yummy as a rainbow of color is added!  This photo reveals the strata of my life as captured in a journal.  Tomorrow we'll begin a wee peek at the layers I've added most recently.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mid-Week Check-In: ICAD 39-41

For the first time in the course of the Index-Card-a-Day challenge, I got behind as a perfect storm of obstacles to art-making swirled through the studio.  Four days of migraines, a strained back, household chores, and foggy fibro brain slammed me from last Saturday onward and I simply had no fuel in the tank for anything but survival.  However, I've dug in my heels for this challenge and the end (and victory) is in sight, so whenever I had a moment of clear thought and burst of energy, I sat down with my shrinking stack of unfinished index cards.

Due to my cranky back, I wasn't too keen on moving around much so as I worked to catch up on my cards, I used only what I could reach on my studio table.  The first card utilized handmade paper scraps left over from a journal-making session, the middle card features a quote currently hanging in the studio, and the last card was inspired by some Pam Garrison wrapping paper that is occupying about three-quarters of my work space (also due to journal construction.)

These aren't my most composed or artistic cards but they represent a triumph over the adversity that visits on a regular basis and because of that, I think they're pretty grand.  Just 20 cards to go! 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Check-In: ICAD 35-38

I cannot believe I am still doing this challenge!  It feels like it has been going on forever!  However, I love the look of my growning stack of arted-up index cards so no matter how weary I feel, I want to try and see this through to the end of July.

I do find as the challenge wears on that I am simplifing my cards a bit more and experimenting with geometric shapes and abstraction, especially if I have a day of "OMG! What am I going to do with this #%$! index card?!"   

Regardless of the subject matter, everything still seems to be drenched in color.  What can I say?  After spending most of the 1990s coveting pastels & neutrals, I busted out of my sepia-colored world at the turn of the new century and began throwing rainbows at anything I could find. Twelve years later and I still can't enough fuchsia, pumpkin orange, aqua, and lemon yellow!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Mid-Week Check-In: ICAD 32-34

Quickie post on this Independence Day 2012 with my index card art for the last three days.  Hope everyone has a safe & happy holiday!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sunday Check-In: ICAD 28-31

Here's my index card art to finish up the month of June and begin July.  Just 30 more cards to go!  This quartet of cards is all over the map in terms of subject and technique.  Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier to work with some sort of central theme.  However, there are plenty of days when I am thankful I am allowing myself to play & experiment with whatever inspiration strikes each time I begin a new card.

I contemplated ending my participation in this challenge with the conclusion of June (among other things I have a huge show to prepare for before the chaos of a new school year begins) but I am plunging ahead, hoping that I'll reach July 31 with a nice little stack of 61 artful index cards.  I survived the first 31; how hard can 30 more be?! 

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