Sunday, February 22, 2015

Snippets: Weeks 7 and 8

Took an unplanned but necessary break from blogging due to household upset (again!) due to a chronically-leaking upstairs toilet; I'll spare you the dirty details but suffice to say that sometimes apartment living is not for the faint-of-heart. I covet my routine, peace, quiet, cleanliness, and privacy almost obsessively and it is intolerable to have strange people and deafening equipment ripping up my space. In addition, all the resulting stress nullifies my PD meds and as a result, I become a constantly shaking mess. It took all I had to complete my spread for the last two weeks. On really bad days, I did just a little and on other days with a bit more calm, I accomplished a bit more. This journal format really fits the unpredictability of my life and health; I can stick with my "art every day" goal while not getting overwhelmed.

The ceiling in my son's room gets repaired on Monday (again) and ironically, as things settle back down, I think my art-making will gain traction as I have deadlines to meet with several projects in the development/preparation stage. The next few months look like they'll be super busy but it is a happy busy of my own making.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Snippets: Weeks 5 and 6

This process of "a-journal-square-a-day" is working out better than I'd hoped. Sometimes the day's space is all the journaling I have time for and sometimes, once I complete an entry in the Snippets book, I turn to other journals because my interest is sparked and yet unsatisfied by the small portion allotted that day. I think that it is important to note that although the resulting spread probably looks like a disjointed collection of images to outside viewers, I personally can see how each little section relates - directly or indirectly - to something going on in my life at the time. As always, I try to work fast and instinctually, allowing my subconscious to guide my hand. When I work this way, my journal entries almost always speak to underlying thoughts, emotions, or events, even if the connection isn't immediately transparent.

Here's next week's spread prepped and ready to go! This time around, I'm going to be experimenting with a "themed" week of entries in honor of a holiday (in this case the beginning of the Chinese New Year.) I still gather an envelope full of possible images and scraps to use in the two weeks' time; however, when a theme week occurs, I make sure about half of my choices are relevant to the holiday at hand.

Note: If you are curious how this week's spread evolved from the initial background, just pop in to the previous Snippets post; as I post the completed spreads every two weeks, I will also post the prepared spread for the following fortnight.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Decisions, Decisions

6am here at Lost Coast Post and the day is still black, awaiting sunrise. Much-needed rain is steadily tapping out a soothing tune on my roof as I sit here at my Chromebook and create some tap-tap-tapping of my own on the keyboard. As is my custom, I've been up for about three hours now, slowly starting my day in the surrounding softness of the early morning hours. Lots to contemplate as many things seem to be crystallizing all at once in my life, like stars that wink into existence as a cloudy night sky clears.

I had a long interview with a local reporter yesterday about my work (particularly my journals but my paintings and sculptures as well) and it was very enlightening to see my many, bursting-at-the-seams journals processed by a stranger, someone unfamiliar both with myself and the art journaling movement. In the last couple of years, I made a conscious decision to set aside journaling for other things but before that, journaling had been a steady, anchoring practice of my artistic life. I haven't looked through those old journals in a long time so it was illuminating to thumb through them again and to see which pages attracted the reporter's eye. It was interesting to try and articulate what I felt about my journals and how they served me in life. It was even more challenging to speak to where I see myself going in the future.

I don't actively promote my work. It isn't something I'm comfortable with or skilled in and as result, I tend to simply keep my head down and focus on private artistic pursuits like journaling or illustration. I show my work in the community at least once but no more than three times a year. Here and there, via word-of-mouth, opportunities to launch myself beyond my apartment threshold come along. I almost always hesitate to follow those openings for reasons both known and unknown but I sense that the time is coming where I'll need to make a decision one way or the other. I am clinging to the quiet comfort of the status quo, mostly uncertain whether the reality of Parkinson's makes me more or less likely to pursue any fresh paths that appear before me. Sometimes I want to hold onto my quiet existence; sometimes I want to let go and rise up to greet the world knocking at my door: stay in my comfortable, predictable orbit or stretch out into the unknown. The impulse toward one option or the other varies each day. Indeed, I waver between the two choices within the days themselves. All in all, I think perhaps this is a dilemma best explored through art. That being said, I'll hit publish on this post and get to work. I have little time to lose.  

Monday, February 2, 2015

Following the Sparks

Hand-colored Scratch Art Foam Print
I realize that California is in desperate need of rain but today's cold, wet, gray weather is making my legs ache, my mood sour, and my head sluggish. As a counterpoint, I have the heaters running to warm my body and art projects in progress to warm my soul. Aside from consistent work on lesson plans and my new Snippets journal, I'm a bit unfocused, applying a dab of paint here and sculpting a lump of clay there...just following the sparks of inspiration wherever and whenever they flare up. Sooner or later, something specific will grab my undivided attention and the fire of creativity will once again burn brightly in my brain no matter how depressing the weather. 
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