Friday, March 20, 2015

The JFJ Gear Up for NAEA

We're gearing up for the National Art Education Association's annual convention in New Orleans next week. We're excited to be presenting something each day, so make certain to check out one of our sessions if you're an art educator and will be attending.

We fly in on Tuesday so we can kick the Convention off with two Pre-Convention Workshops on Wednesday, and we present at least one thing each day. And there might be a book signing in there as well. We're also going to have artwork, books, stickers, and CDs for sale!

It's going to be a busy four days, but we are excited!

Here's what's going on, so mark your calendar:

Wednesday, March 25 - Pre-Convention Hands-on Workshop - Hilton Hotel/Elmwood/3rd Floor
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM - Initiating a Successful Visual Journal Practice

1:00 PM - 4:00 PM - Visual Journals: Developing Rich Layers of Meaning

Thursday, March 26 - Presentation - Convention Center Room 223
12:00 PM - 12:50 PM - The Journey to Choice and Authentic Artmaking in the Art Room

Thursday, March 26 - Panel Presentation - Convention Center Room 222
4:00 PM - 4:50 PM - The Visual Journal: Hinge Pin to a Successful Art Curriculum with Michael Bell and Samuel Peck

Friday, March 27 - Presentation - Convention Center Room 206
11:00 AM - 11:50 AM - Visual Journals 101: A Crash Course

Saturday, March 28 - Presentation - Convention Center Room 222
2:00 PM - 2:25 - Building a Creative Community Through Arts-Based Collaborations with Samuel Peck

Saturday, March 28 - Presentation - Convention Center Room 217
5:30 PM - 5:55 PM - International Collaborations: Preparing Visual Arts Teachers Through Shared Art Making with Lexi Cutcher

We can't wait to rock New Orleans!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

And the Winner Is...

First of all, thank you to everyone who entered the JFJ's first materials give away! I loved reading about all of your favorite materials, and I definitely need to try out some of the ones I'm not familiar with.

I went old-school with how I picked a winner. I typed up a list of everyone who entered and printed it out. I cut the list up into strips, and I folded them up and put them in a bowl.

I swirled the names up for a couple of minutes, and drew out one name. And the winner is. . .

Dana of the blog The Daily Dose!!!! Congratulations!

Dana wins the Journal Fodder Junkies basic supplies kit, and it contains some great materials for any journaling practice. Dana please email me, or private message us through the JFJ Facebook page with your contact information, and I'll get you prize shipped out as soon as possible.

Congratulations, Dana!

Friday, March 6, 2015

The JFJ Giveaway!

We had some kits left over from some recent workshops, so we thought that we would give one of them away before putting the rest up for sale. This will be the first of many giveaways to come!

We are often asked what kinds and what brands of materials we like to use, so we put together a basic kit. Now's your chance to enter and win some of our favorite journaling supplies.

The kit includes:

  • a 9.5"x7.5" mesh zipper bag
  • a 12 color set of Prismacolor watercolor pencils
  • an 8 color set of Prang watercolor paint
  • a jumbo UHU glue stick
  • a yellow Crayola marker
  • a black uni-ball Vision pen
  • a silver metallic Sharpie
  • an official JFJ sticker
That's $45 worth of merchandise! And we're giving it away - FREE!

How it works:
We're going to pick one lucky winner from the comments to this blog post, and only this post. To be eligible to win, you must leave a comment below describing your favorite material to use in your art or your journal. You have until midnight Eastern Time on Friday, March 13 to enter. We will randomly select and announce a winner from all eligible entrants on Saturday, March 14. The winner will then have until Wednesday, March 18, to email us with their shipping information, and we'll ship out your prize - FREE! All you have to do is leave a comment. That's it!

Don't need the materials? Enter anyway! The kit makes an awesome gift for a friend or relative.

Enter now by leaving your comment below. You have nothing to lose, and make certain to share with all of your artistic accomplices!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Heroes - Dan Eldon

Dan Eldon was born to an American mother and a British father in 1970, and at an early age he and his family moved to Kenya. Despite his extensive travels, he always considered Kenya home. As a child, Dan received his first camera and developed an interest in photography that he would pursue for the rest of his life becoming one of the youngest photographers for the international news agency, Reuters in 1992.

Moved by stories of famine in Somalia, he travelled to the country to see for himself. He stayed in Somalia as the civil war raged on documenting the strife and the UN’s attempts to manage the situation. His photos find their way into Time and Newsweek. Dan’s life was unfortunately cut short at the age of 22 by a mob that turned on him as he was trying to cover a bombing in Mogadishu.

Dan is probably best known for his 17 volumes of visual journals that he began keeping around the age of 15. He filled his journals with newspaper clippings, photos, labels, writing, and much, much more. He poured his life into the bulging books as he cut, glued, painted, and drew. He included pictures of his family and friends and evidence of the places he travelled and visited. Dan’s mom, Kathy shared a wide selection on Dan’s journal pages in 1997 in the book The Journey is the Destination: The Journals of Dan Eldon published by Chronicle Books. It quickly became a great source of inspiration for many, many people who were moved by Dan’s story and his rich journal pages.

These layered pages hint at a life filled with passion and adventure, and Dan documented the people he met, the places he went, and events that took place in his life. As a photographer, his journals are filled with many of his own photos, contact sheets, and negatives which he often cut apart reimagining the pictures and the stories of his life.

Dan’s journals and his life have inspired me greatly as I have tried to record my life and to think about the kind of legacy that I will leave behind. In many ways, Dan’s short, yet inspiring life makes me wonder about what I have done in my life and the impact that I have had on the world. Dan seemed to have lived life to the fullest, and his journals reflect that packed life in rich, luminous detail. I am constantly amazed that Dan filled 17 volumes of journals in about 7 years. He put so much time and energy not only into his journals, but into the art of living.

It is because of Dan Eldon that I continue to work in my visual journals and that I continue sharing with anyone willing to pay attention. In continuing Dan’s legacy, I hope that in some small way, I am changing and challenging the world.

For more information about Dan, his life, his activism, his art, and his journals, visit

Monday, February 23, 2015


David and I spent the last couple of months working on our part of the 21 SECRETS project for this spring. We are joined by twenty other talented journal artists in this ebook and online workshop by Dirty Footprints Studio. Over the coming weeks we will be giving away two memberships to this awesome venture. Stay tuned.

Our Workshop:
Rethinking the Page: Creating Interaction and Connection Within Your Journal

The Journal Fodder Junkies guide you through an open process that will transform your mundane journal pages into surprising, interacting, and secret filled spaces. Using an arsenal of prompts, techniques, and ideas, David and Eric take you on a journey that will have you delving and discovering, painting and writing, cutting and ripping as you transform the static surface of your pages into dynamic places filled with cut outs, fold outs, flaps, pockets, hidden spaces and secret passages. This workshop focuses on the use of prompts to guide you through a creative process that will have you engaging and transforming your pages in a whole new way.

On April 1, 2015, the 21 SECRETS ebook will be released, but pre-orders are being taken now, and you can even save if you act fast. Order now, and you will receive the following in the spring:

A downloadable 150+ page eBook that contains 21 art journaling workshops packed with videos, full color photos, printouts and instructional content.

Unlimited access to all the workshops at once! You pick and choose which ones you do when and go at your own pace!  There is no time limit--these workshops are yours to keep!

Membership to the private 21 SECRETS Facebook community where you can share your art work, be inspired by others, and receive warm, supportive feedback from your peers.  In the 21 SECRETS community we celebrate everyone's unique expression while supporting each creative spirit to become more confidant as an artist.

The opportunity to learn a variety of art journaling approaches, techniques, and processes that will energize your creativity and touch your Soul while in the comfort of your own home or studio!

To find out more about the artists, their workshops, and general information about 21 Secrets, click here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Art Unraveled 2015

If you missed our latest workshop, don't fret. We have plenty of things coming up in the year, and we keep adding more. Here's one of those things.

Although registration has been opened for a while, we are pleased to announce that we will be returning to Phoenix for Art Unraveled this August, and we're looking forward to teaching three new classes, one of which is a night class - our first time doing a night class at AU.

Sunday, August 9, 2015 - 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Building Layers: A Mixed Media Approach

Monday, August 10, 2015 - 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM
The Journal Stripped Bare

Tuesday, August 11, 2015 - 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Cultivating Creativity: Working with Spontaneity and Wonder

We're planning on participating in the Shopping Extravaganza and Saturday Evening Gala as well. Make your plans now, and we hope to see you in Phoenix.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The JFJ Invade Galax, VA and the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts

Dave and I spent a journal filled weekend in Galax, VA teaching workshops at the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts. The school calls a renovated bank its home in downtown Galax and is a great space for a workshop. The original vault door was very cool.

We were put up for the weekend at Mary Guynn's cabin, and we checked out Creek Bottom Brewing for pizza and good craft beer. Being originally from the Pittsburgh area, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the brewery carried Iron City Beer.

When not teaching at the school or hanging out at the brewery, we enjoyed the fireplace at the cabin as well as playing cribbage and enjoying a beverage or two.

But the highlight definitely was the enthusiasm and energy of the ladies in the classes. We had a great time sharing our ideas with Penney, Kathy, Glenise, Deborah, Debbie, and Kavi. On Saturday, we shared a lot of ideas for working in the journal, and on Sunday, we shared ideas for creating interaction among the pages. The ladies dove into painting, writing, drawing, cutting, and gluing, and was so nice to see them so open to exploring and experimenting.

We thoroughly enjoyed the the weekend, and we are hoping that it will turn into an annual event. We would go back in a heartbeat. Thank you to Penney Klaproth for organizing the weekend, to Mary Guynn for the hospitality of her cabin, and to Debbie, Deborah, Kathy, Glenise, and Kavi for spending time with us.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Staying Engaged

I have been staying engaged with my journal a lot more recently, and I have been pretty good about working in it nearly everyday, even if it's just a few minutes before bed. That engagement has carried over into other areas as well, and I have been posting more here on the blog as well as on the JFJ Facebook page. I have also been more fully engaged with life in general.

This has all been an attempt to stay more connected to myself, to my art, and to others, and I am sustaining the momentum.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Keeping It Simple

There are some who seem to think that being creative is all about expensive materials and complicated techniques, and this becomes an excuse for many people to stay stuck in their creative ruts. When faced with the expense of materials or the intricacies of the process, it’s easy to say, “Why bother!”

Creativity, though, has never been about materials. It’s about ideas - specifically about having new ideas that have value, and we don’t need a special kind of paint, or the latest stencils, or that expensive acrylic medium to have these ideas. Actually, limiting ourselves to simple, inexpensive materials is a great way to push our creativity and develop new ideas.

By keeping it simple and keeping things cheap, we can feel more open to playing, experimenting, and trying new things because we don’t feel like we’re wasting our precious materials, and when we open ourselves to the possibilities of exploration and creative play, we can discover new ideas for how to use these materials.

This type of play and openness are the keys to unlocking creativity, not brand new materials and following someone’s recipe for how to use them. Too often, when we shell out big bucks for new materials or new equipment, we feel too much pressure. We might not want to waste our new paint, or we might feel that we won’t make something worthy. It then becomes too easy to make excuses and not push ourselves or our work, and then we shut down our creativity and close ourselves off to the possibilities.

Creativity is a way of thinking and making connections. By wondering, “What if…?” or “What would happen…?” we begin the process of trying different things. We build off our experiences and construct new ideas. It’s hard to do that when we’re worried about messing up and wasting our supplies.

Of course I’m not saying that we should never buy expensive materials or try those complex techniques, but if we develop our creative confidence first, we might find that we are more prepared to handle these new supplies or we may find that we don’t need them at all.

All of the images in this post have been simple, watercolor layering experiments on 6”x8” mixed media paper just to see what would happen. I have no idea where they're going, but I have been having fun with them.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Accidentally on Purpose

I was once a great, big ol' perfectionist. I would spend hours on my art trying to the get the smallest of details just right causing myself a lot of anxiety and grief, and though I have loosened up over the years, I sometimes feel those perfectionist tendencies creep up. A great way to stay loose, is to embrace the imperfections, and one of my favorite things to do is to use my journal as a means to capture unintentional and accidental marks as I work on other pieces of art.

On the page that I started above, I placed 6"x8" papers on the 11"X14" page as I worked on a multitude of smaller works of art. In essence, my journal became my paint table and collected the marks, spatters, and run off as I painted the small papers. Some of us my lay down a drop cloth or a large scrap of paper to keep the table clean, or we may just wipe up any messy paint that happened to get on the table. Instead of doing either of those, I have started a page in my journal with the random and haphazard marks that happen as result of painting to the edge of those smaller works.

This allows me to start and work on the smaller works that I am fond of, but it also allows me to add to my journal without consciously adding to my journal. This technique is not for everyone because it really does take an openness to the process, but I feel that there is a certain beauty in the imperfections that result.

I will continue to add to this page, both consciously and unconsciously, and I can't wait to see where it will lead.