Wednesday, October 31, 2012

List Journal Project: This One Thing I Know

As announced previously, I am following along with iHanna and Daisy Yellow's List Journal Project and this past Saturday's prompt was "Things I Know."  My "list" response would perhaps be more appropriately titled "The Singlemost Important Concept I Live By."  Who's to say a list has to contain more than one item? 

"However long the night, the dawn will break" is an African proverb that is probably my favorite quote ever and it has been a guiding philosophy for me for many years and through many trials.  No matter how bad things get, there will always be an opportunity to start again, get a fresh perspective, and discover one's second wind.  Hope is always as close as the next morning.  
I have used these words repeatedly in my work over the years.  Here's a journal page from April 2006...
...and here again, I used this proverb when embellishing my splint following the full fusion of my right wrist in 2008.  (And yes, I painted that with my left hand and my casted right arm!  My doctors were furious - I used my newly fused wrist waaay more than I was supposed to post-surgery - but an artist's gotta do what an artist's gotta do!)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Revisiting My World Within

This particular journal, titled "My World Within" and housed as individual pages in a three-ring binder, is one I return to periodically.  In essence, the characters found on these pages act as visual stand-ins for some emotion, thought, or event I am processing internally.  The lengthy process of creating these pages (sometimes as long as two weeks) is one I find soothing and invigorating all at once.  You can find other pages from this journal here at my Flickr photostream.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Book Review: Alternative Art Journals

A few weeks ago, I received a complimentary copy of the new book, Alternative Art Journals by Margaret Peot and I was fully prepared to write a carefully measured and objective review but let me just say that I love this book! I also need to say that even in the glut of art technique books on the market, I think there are few geared towards advanced art journalers.  Personally, I'm not interested in shallow eye candy books or books that trudge through oft-trudged material (i.e. how to use an old credit card to create backgrounds.) I am looking for books that challenge me, that offer a different approach.

Now that my bias is out of the way, let's take a look at what this book is about and what you can find within its pages. 

Theme:

In short, Alternative Art Journals is all about creating new formats and containers for your journaling.  In Ms. Peot's words: 
This book will show you a wide variety of ways to collect and express your ideas.  You will not learn how to make finished artwork, but rather alternative ways of collecting and storing your creativity and inspirations along your journey to self-expression. 

Contents:

In this book, you'll find inspiration for creating journals that hold a collection of items such as an altered accordion-file folder, shoebox, or a bound envelopes journal.  Chapter Three discusses ideas for journals made up of individual cards and Chapter Four is all about journals that roll out, fan out or fold out.  I love Chapter Five, "Correspondence Art Journals" because it gives lots of ideas for collecting old-school correspondence like letters and postcards.   Subsequent chapters discuss journals housed in boxes or tins, faux scrapbooks that tell the story of a fictional family, and journals made up of tags or charms.

Techniques:  

Scattered throughout the book are a variety of techniques for creating journal structures (i.e. scrolls, Tibetan books, or simple boxes.)  You'll also find some instructions for creating images that can become the beginning of a journal.  I played around with one such activity "Creating Appaloosa Stone Tags."  In addition, inspired by one of the author's creations, I created some watercolor "eyes," swirling pigment and water around in quiet bliss.  I'm not sure yet what I'll do with the end results but the process was fun & fulfilling.  


Additional Notes:

I also have to say that the writing prompts and journal content suggestions (provided in words or via photos) in Alternative Art Journals are superb!  Ms. Peot works in New York as a costume painter for Broadway, dance companies, television, film and the circus.  Her imagination shines through in the prompts and projects she showcases, challenging readers to flex their creative writing muscles.  In my opinion, this is the book's primary strength and definitely something I've been looking for in a journaling technique book.

Criticisms:

At times, I felt the organization of this book was confusing, largely a result of some of the chapter headings.  For example, Chapter One is titled "Traditional Sketchbooks" but all it really contains is two demonstrations of background techniques that can be used in any journal, traditional or alternative.  Chapter Two, titled "Shoebox Weeks: Collections Art Journals" is different from Chapter 6, "Box Art Journals."  I'm sure that continued perusal will build familiarity with the format and resolve any lingering confusion.  However, I did want to note any negative impressions of this book.

In Sum:

All in all, I feel my journaling practice will benefit from having Alternative Art Journals in what I call "My Essential Library."  I've been ready for a while to take my journaling to the next level and this book will be accompanying me on that journey.

Giveaway:  ENTRIES ARE CLOSED!

If you made it through this lengthy review, congratulations!  Now, if you reside in the United States or Canada, leave a comment on this post and you'll be entered to win a copy of Alternative Art Journals provided by the author's publicity agency.  A winner will be chosen at random on Friday, November 2 at which point you'll have 48 hours to provide me with your name and mailing address.

Note:  Although the book giveaway is only available to residents of the U.S. and Canada, I don't want to leave out my international readers so if you live overseas, please feel free to add a comment and I'll put together a wee goodie bundle for an international reader chosen at random on Friday as well!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

New Additions to the LCP Shop

I've added two new art pendant necklaces to my Etsy shop.  Both of these pendants are large ovals (approximately 1-1/2 inches tall and 1-1/4 inches at their widest) and feature tiny original paintings.  Each lead & nickel-free pendant has a glass dome and comes with a 24-inch ball chain in a matching finish.



Friday, October 26, 2012

The List Journal Project: Part 2 Catch-up

Here's the last of my catch-up pages for the List Journal Project created as a collaborative event between Tammy of Daisy Yellow and Hanna of iHanna.  I'm up-to-date now and will be continuing onward from this point, tackling the prompts released each Saturday and posting my results during the following week.






Prompt: Favorite Fruit
Prompt: Favorite Washi Tapes
Prompt: Favorite (Neo) Colors

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Catching Up with the List Journal Project: Part 1

When I read that the incomparable Tammy from Daisy Yellow and the uber-inspiring Hanna from iHanna (what a super duo!) were collaborating on list journals, I had to play along!  The set-up is simple: each Saturday these two ladies post a list prompt on their respective blogs and show how they responded to the prompt.  Today and tomorrow, I'll be posting the pages I've made in response to the prompts so far.  Now that I'm all caught up, I'll be able to post one new page a week as the prompts are revealed on Saturdays.  Please note that the prompts are just suggestions; I twisted a few of them to suit my personal interests... 

My "List Journal" cover



Prompt: Favorite Things About a Season of My Choosing
Prompt: Books I've Read
Prompt: Places I'd Like to Travel to



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Love Letters to Myself

Since I assessed the state of my numerous journals-in-progress, I've decided to revisit ones that have been neglected for longer than desired.  The first one I chose to work in is a little 6 by 6-inch journal I call "Love Letters to Myself" (all my journals have titles.)  Each page in this journal features a quick little affirmation and/or reminder that I need to live a happier, more fulfilled life.  I keep the collages in this journal extremely simple, just enough to illustrate the message.  I also do not date this journal as I want the pages to have a sense of timelessness.

I collage some sort of text for the background in advance and then, when inspiration for a new page hits, I can jump right in and start playing.  I prep backgrounds in advance a lot; often I will prepare an entire journal before I ever work in it.  There is an intial time investment but later, it means that I am rarely confronted by a white page when sitting down to work.  Plus, background prep work is the perfect studio activity when I'm having a lousy health day.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How I Spent a Rainy Day

Yesterday, as the first real autumn rain pitter-pattered on my roof, I worked on creating an updated swatch card for my collection of Prismacolor pencils.  I know this looks a wee bit obsessive but sample sheets are one of my go-to tools when sitting down to work in my sketchbooks & journals.  This technique saves tons of time when it comes to choosing the perfect color.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sketchbook Peek: Monster Mash

Here's a quick peek into one of my sketchbooks: these little monsters were all drawn with a black Micron and colored with Letraset's AquaMarkers with the exception of the undead football fan.  He was colored with Pitt pens; note the difference in luminosity.  AquaMarkers take a bit of practice to use but in my opinion, the results are worth the initial learning curve.

For the curious, I work on my sketchbook pages bit by bit, sketching here and there, coloring things in over a period of days.  Sometimes the pages have a unifying theme (like the one above) and other pages are just a compilation of random doodles that need to jump from my brain to paper.  I compartmentalize my sketchbook needs just like my journals but unlike my journals, I get around to all 17 at least once a week.  (I work A LOT in my sketchbooks...perhaps more than my journals.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Notebooks & Sketchbooks & Journals...Oh My!

I love getting questions from readers!  So a while back, Trece asked why I have so many journals, what kinds are they and how often do I work in them.  This particular question took a bit of thought and counting because as of today, I have 28 journals in progress and 17 sketchbooks.  And true confession time: since I began journaling in 2000, I have amassed a pathetic grand total of 6 finished journals.  What can I say?  I am a consummate starter and often not the greatest finisher.

I tried to get a bit of all 28 journals in the shot...
So why so damn many journals?  The short & sweet answer is that I obsessively compartmentalize much like the person who doesn't doesn't like different foods to touch on her dinner plate.  Specific color schemes, themes, and technical styles are all kept separate.

Let's look at a binding breakdown of the 28 journals currently weighing down my bookshelves:
  • 9 handmade by me
  • 6 commercial/pre-made (spiral bound)
  • 5 altered books
  • 2 commercial/pre-made (sewn binding)
  • 2 loose leaf collections
  • 2 ring binders
  • 1 Moleskine
Of the 28, only one (that lone Moleskine) is composed entirely of my drawing & painting and contains zero collage.  The other 27 are mixed media journals to varying degrees.

In the last week, I worked in 6 of the 28 journals and of that 6, there are only two that I work in every single day.  The vast majority of the remaining journals are only opened every few months and yes, there are a couple that I haven't visited in over a year (or two).  Still, one of my life goals is to see all of these journals through to the end.  Is that possible?  Yes.  Probable?  ummm....

In addition to my journals, I have 20 sketchbooks currently in progress.  The stats on these are far different.  15 are commercial spiral-bound sketchbooks (most with black hard covers).  4 are altered books and 1 is a commercial -made, sewn bound notebook.  I use my sketchbooks to plan big projects, drawing, cartooning, brainstorming, testing products & techniques, and taking notes on classes, business, or supplies.  A little over half are filled only with my drawing and doodling.  In the others, collage is only used to add in notes or inspiring images.  Otherwise, most of the content is by my own hand.  I work in many of these  every day.

I also have dozens of blank journals waiting in the wings for the perfect project, too many to count.  In fact, I think you could safely label me a "blank journal hoarder."  Oh well...as I often tell my son, there are far worse things to collect.

So there you have it...hope that answered your question Trece and now that you all think I'm crazy, I'm off to work in one of those journals...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Happy 400th!

Can't think of a better way to celebrate my 400th post than by sending out a little
to all my patient readers!  Thank you for continuing to stop by this space, however long it may stay quiet between postings.  Here's hoping my next 400 entries don't take another six years to achieve!

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Motley Menagerie: Waiting for Lunch

Another peek at work from my show: this is a detail shot of a piece I call "Waiting for Lunch to Blunder By."  It's actually 16x24 inches and is rendered in acrylics with a dash of other media (pencil) thrown in for good measure...love how this one turned out!  I definitely see more chameleon paintings in my future.  They are very comical-looking critters!


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Peek at Recent Journaling

It occurred to me that I haven't shown any journal work in a long while so I thought I'd post a few spreads from my current "Daily Diary" journal.  This is my third Full Tilt Boogie journal and I think that this particular volume will last me through the end of December.  I work in this book every day, sometimes setting up many days in advance so I can just open it up in the morning and start writing.

For the month of October, I'm trying to use up (or at least dent) all the uber-cool Halloween papers and goodies I've collected over the years.  Ironically, I've actually been trying to use less scrapbooking papers and ready-made embellishments in my journals but I have amassed quite a stash and frankly, some of it is sooo adorable, I just can't resist!

However, I have been attempting to add in more of my own lettering and illustrations and you can see evidence of that in these pages: hand-drawn numbers & frames, a carved stamp, and a doodled Frankenstein.  In this particular journal, I end up trying to strike a balance between pre-made additions and imagery generated by my own hand. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Featured in Featuring!

I've been quietly sitting on a little secret for the last four months and it's time for the big reveal....TA DAA!  I'm the "Artist in the Spotlight" for issue 2 of Featuring magazine!!!  Featuring is a brand new art magazine based in the Netherlands, a glossy, full color, professionally-printed brain child of artist Marit Barentsen.

Here's what I love about Featuring in a nutshell: it has depth.  It isn't a mash-up of endless ads and beautiful fluff nor is it a clique-y forum for well-established artists to show off their latest products.  Featuring magazine lets the artists' voices shout from the rooftops.  The "spotlight" article is entirely in my own words; after reading my blog, the editors sent me about a million questions and then used my answers word for word - no paraphrasing, no standard interview questions.  I am so proud that my very first publication in a magazine ended up on the pages of Featuring, a much-needed breath of fresh air for the art magazine world.

As an aside, you'll see that I used my maiden name "Reuss" rather than "Remy" for this article.  Both last names are me!  For a little while now, I've been using my maiden name as a sort of pen name on the web.  I felt that since this was such a big step in my art career, it would be only right to honor my roots.  In short, I wanted my relatives to see the family name in print rather than my ex-husband's surname.  All my writings and photos continue to carry "Remy" on the copyright until I can go through the process of officially changing my name...

Additional Note:  Featuring is available to purchase online only (no subscriptions) so to get your hands on a copy, click on over to the Featuring website!

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Motley Menagerie is Released into the Wild!

Hip, hip HOORAY!  The Motley Menagerie has officially made its way from my studio to the walls of Arcata Exchange, a lovely business that participates in the monthly Arts! Arcata.  I'm not sure how many "locals" read this blog (*waving to Connie*) but I would be tickled pink, yellow & orange to meet you in person at the "opening," Friday evening October 12th.  The work is up the entire month of October so if you can't make the Friday night event, wander into the store any time and take a peek!

Given everything that happened to me the last part of August/first couple weeks of September, I was convinced that I wouldn't have enough work but I went into crazy painting lady mode and cranked out 13 pieces in 14 days.  All together, there's 26 new works up on the wall shown and 7 older pieces up on other walls.  I have until the 11th to add more work if I wish and after a couple days break to catch my breath and reenergize, I'll probably dive back in and try to complete a few more small pieces.


"Denizens of the Deep"; 4x12-inches each
Here's another peek at some work from this show.  This set is called "Denizens of the Deep" and these were fun, fun, fun to paint!  Once I got started, I didn't want to stop!  In fact, my use of sea life as painting subjects came relatively late in the game so I definitely want to investigate this subject matter some more.  As I've said, I'm using the Menagerie theme through my next show at this venue in October 2013 so I have plenty of time to do some deep sea exploration...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Motley Menagerie: Heaven is High & Earth Wide

"Heaven is High & Earth Wide"; mixed media
Here's another sneak peek at work for The Motley Menagerie.  This is the largest piece in the show at 2x3 feet.  I have a hard time working any larger that that which means I have to make a lot to fill the space available.  (The particular venue for this show is huge and I never have enough!  Someday though, someday...)

I love & hate this canvas.  As often happens, parts of this really work for me and others not so much.  I understand though that I am my own worst critic so I've learned to do what I can until I no longer feel an overwhelming pull to make revisions and then I stop and walk away.  Traditionally, pieces I'm not in love with seem to sell first.  Let's hope that's the case here...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Motley Menagerie: Baby Octopus Love

as yet untitled; mixed media on 8x24-inch stretched canvas
Throughout October, I'll be sprinkling this space with peeks at the work for my show The Motley Menagerie and what better way to begin than with a baby octopus!

Back in late May, I completed a much larger octopus painting, a canvas I'm not crazy about but a phenomenal amount of work went into that piece so I decided against an impulsive cleansing with gesso.  Instead, I decided to give painting octopi another go in a different size, format, and pose.  This little guy is the result.  Painting & shading each individual sucker is tedious but I think worth the effort.









Monday, October 1, 2012

The Motley Menagerie is Almost Here!

I got out of the hospital on September 11 and it took a solid week to get my feet back underneath me.  (I'm not yet healed but I am healing.  Thank you for all the well wishes!!)
Finally, on the 18th, I started painting again.  The last three or four days, I've been painting from 2 to 3am all the way through to 8 to 10 at night!  It's the last, frenzied push to get work done for my show which hangs on October 4th. 

Last night, I gave myself permission to step away from the palette and into a construction zone so I could craft the sign for my show.  I'm using this particular theme through at least the end of next year so I wanted something sturdy, whimsical, and bold.  A bit of this sign has traveled full circle as I created the polymer clay "Menagerie" for my first solo show back in 2001.

I think I'm actually going to have enough work finished in time to hang (*gasp*) and I can take in more work through the 11th so whoohoo!  The unofficial "opening" is the night of October 12th.  It will feel tremendous to be done with show stuff for a little while; my next show date isn't until May 2013....
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