It's been six months, and I'm still going strong with the daily journal challenges. I must admit, though, that I haven't been able to consistently work on them each day, and many times I play catch up with two or three at a time, especially come Friday. But I have been pretty consistent each week. Here's what I've been up to this week.
It's been a while since I mentioned anything about the book of daily challenges that I've been writing, so I wanted to take a moment and give a little update.
I have been slowly working on writing the 365 challenges, and I'm up to 223, so I am a little over two thirds of the way through writing it. I haven't gotten very far, though, in designing the book and getting it laid out. The issue has been that there has been a lot going on over the past few months, and I haven't had the time that I would have liked. I was really hoping to have it ready for publication by late summer just in time for teachers to start off the school year with it, but that's not going to happen. Besides, I really wanted to publish it with one challenge per page, and a full-color book with more than 365 pages would be extremely expensive. So, I've come up with an alternative plan.
Here's my plan.
I'm looking at releasing two versions of the book - an ebook version and a physical version. They'll have the same content, but they'll be formatted differently. For the ebook version, I've broken it into 12 parts, one for each month of the year, and my plan is to publish a new part each month that will be sold for download through my online store for $5 a piece. Each part will be just under 40 pages in length with one challenge per page, in full color. That'll be over 400 pages when everything is released! And at some point within the next year, I would like to follow up with a 144 page, physical book with 3 challenges per page that I'll hopefully offer through Amazon's CreateSpace for $25 each.
My thinking was that there are probably teachers out there that would love to use the challenges with their classes at the beginning of a new school year in the fall, as well as artists who just don't want to wait another 7 or 8 months for something to be published. So, come August 1, 2017, I'll release Part 1 of The Journal Fodder Junkies Daily Challenge as an ebook, Part 2 will come September 1, and a new part will be published each month there after. As an ebook, you'll not only be able to view it on your computer or any of your devices, but you'll also be able to print the book in a variety of formats. If you print it with 4 or 6 pages per sheet, you'll be able to create a perfect set of challenge cards for yourself or your students. If you'd like a physical book, you'll have to wait a while longer for it.
Part 1 is almost done, and I can't wait to share it with you in a month and a half!
The spring has been very busy with travel and workshops, so the summer will be a bit less so. I'll be teaching summer camps and a high school gifted and talented program, but the travel and workshops gear up a little bit in the fall. So, if you're looking to take a workshop, the fall will be a perfect time.
At the beginning of October, I'll be teaching three classes at Art and Soul: Virginia Beach. I'm looking forward to teaching a bit closer to home, and invite you to join me in one, two, or all three of the classes. These are the same classes that I taught in the spring at Art and Soul: Portland. Check out the listings below, and I hope to see you there.
Stencils have become increasingly popular over the past few years, and many of us look forward to the latest releases by our favorite mixed-media artists. But what if we could design and make our own? What if we could use our art, our handwriting, and our photographs to make personally meaningful stencils? In this hands-on workshop, you’ll see just how easy it is to create your own distinctive stencils and templates. We’ll start the day by working with simple shapes and designs, and we’ll wrap up with using more complex artwork and photographs. Walk away with a variety of unique stencils and templates ready to be used in all of your mixed-media endeavors.
Who doesn’t love going to the mailbox and discovering a postcard from some exotic destination sent by a friend or relative? Who doesn't love sending postcards in return when they travel? But we don’t have to wait to explore the world in order to document our memories and capture those special moments. We can create our own postcards about our experiences of the past, the current events in our lives, and our dreams of the future. In this mixed media workshop we will use the events of our own lives as inspiration for making art postcards that speak to our memories and to our aspirations. We will explore the milestones and signposts of our experience as the inspiration for small personal works of art that could possibly be mailed to ourselves or to others or simply held and treasured as mementos of our lives.
Come explore the possibilities of a Visual Journal. A Visual Journal is a personal record, a tool for self-exploration and reflection, and an art form for expression. In this mixed-media, hands-on workshop, you will explore the creative possibilities of the Visual Journal as you delve into a variety of activities designed to break your creative blocks. Come see how some simple materials and ephemera can lead to richly layered, and personally meaningful pages.
Focus will be placed on engaging the blank page, using writing and text, layering materials and concepts, and incorporating personal imagery. Join Eric, and stock up on techniques and ideas to add to your creative arsenal.
I tried to keep up with the daily challenges while I was away last week, and I was able to do a few of them, but I didn't have a chance to do all of them or to post them. So, I spent today catching up, and I'll post the ones from last week now, and tomorrow I'll post the ones for this week.
One week ago, I was in the midst of teaching a Summer Institute with David for educators at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kahului, Maui. I must say that it was spectacular to be invited to teach in Hawaii, and I spent part of the trip in disbelief that I was actually there. It was extra special since my wife was able to tag along.
After a rather grueling 16 hr trip from the DC area to Maui and a snafu at our reserved condo that left us locked out for a couple of hours, we settled in for the night so that we could be rested for our Maui adventure. We built in an extra day to acclimate to the time difference and to enjoy ourselves a bit, so we got up early the next day to explore the island.
We headed to Haleakala, the dormant volcanic that dominates east Maui. The peak of Haleakala is just over 10,000 feet, and the 40 mile drive took over an hour and a half from our condo at sea level in Maalaea. But it was well worth the twisting road, the steep climb in elevation, and the dozen or so cyclists who were determined to bike up the mountain. The crater was completely other worldly, and provided a stunning 360 degree view. We didn't go early enough for the sunrise, an activity so popular now that you have to make a reservation with the National Park Service, but we spent a good portion of the morning there taking in the breathtaking views. Later in the day we headed to Lahaina to see the western side of the island and to explore the historic part of the town on Front Street which is lined with a plethora of shops and restaurants. Of course, shave ice was on the agenda!
After our day of play, it was time to get down to business, and David and I spent six days at the center teaching two groups of teachers while the wives got to explore the island and the beaches. Monday through Wednesday was a group of just elementary teachers, and Thursday through Saturday was a group of elementary, middle, and high school teachers.
Both groups were very eager and very open to the process of the visual journal, and everyone seemed comfortable with diving in. We did hear later that some of the teachers were a bit nervous about it being an art professional development class, but hopefully David and I quelled their anxiety as we started. To be honest, no one seemed nervous, and they all took to process quickly.
It seemed that by the end of the first session those nerves and anxieties were gone, and it became difficult to get the participants to stop. Even at the end of the day, many of them just did not want to stop, and would stay until we had to kick them out.
We even heard tales of people spending hours at home or in their hotel rooms working in their journal and staying up too late. It's always nice to hear that people get so into the visual journal. The word "addicting" came up a lot throughout the week, and I think many people came to better understand our name, the Journal Fodder Junkies!
It was an amazing experience to connect with those sixty educators who ventured out to the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, and it just reaffirmed for me the power of the visual journal and the power of art.
Of course, it wasn't all work. For my wife it was a just a vacation, and she hit up the beaches almost every day, but we did get to enjoy the beaches together both in the morning and in the afternoons. We stayed in an ocean front condo that was walking distance to a beach that was perfect for morning walks, and we were able to hit up a few beaches in the afternoon when we were done with class.
Maui was a truly remarkable adventure, and I am full of gratitude to the universe for taking me there. One year ago, when I stepped away from life as a public school teacher, I had no idea where my new adventure would take me. I couldn't image that it would take me to Maui where I could have an impact on thousands and thousands of students through their teachers. It's such a humbling thought.
I am appreciative and truly thankful to Chadwick Pang, the Education Director for the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, for making it all possible by bring us to Maui; to Bianca Rajan, the Exhibits Assistant for the center, for all of her help during our week; and to all of the teachers who came out to explore the journal with us. It was an amazingly remarkable experience.