Thursday, June 23, 2016

Upcoming Workshops

School's out and the Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour is over, so it must be summer time. If you've been looking to take a workshop with us, now's the time. The Journal Fodder Junkies will be returning to teach two workshops at Art Unraveled in Phoenix at the beginning of August. Good friend, Sam Peck will be there as well to teach a workshop.

Dave and I will be teaching an all-day stencil making class on Tuesday and an evening collaborative mixed media class on Wednesday. Sam will be teaching his all-day printmaking class on Wednesday. Click the links below for more info.

August 2-3, 2016 - Art Unraveled, Phoenix, AZ

We were also slated to teach at Art and Soul in Virginia Beach, but unfortunately, the classes had to be cancelled because of very few sign-ups at this time. We are very sorry to anyone who had signed up or was planning on signing up. We'll have to try again in the future.

So, we're focusing on getting as many people to sign up for Art Unraveled. We ask your help in spreading the word. Please post, share, tweet, and get the word out. Thank you so much!

We hope to see you in Phoenix in August, and we'll keep you posted as we add workshops for the fall!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Thank You!

I want to thank everyone who came out this past weekend for the 11th annual Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour. It was an absolutely gorgeous weekend with a lot going on, and I appreciate everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to spend time with me in my studio.

I have always loved connecting to people through my art, and the Studio Tour affords me that opportunity on a large scale. I am so thankful to everyone who came out to support me and the other artists on the tour.

I would say that my monsters were the hit of the weekend in my studio, and many of the polymer clay sculptures found new homes. I'll definitely be making more of them in the near future.

If you couldn't make it because of distance or time, I will be putting some of my artwork for sale on the JFJ website within the next couple of weeks, so that people near and far can take a closer look. So, in the meantime, I thank everyone who has supported my art in anyway. I am very grateful to everyone who I connect to through art! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Monster Selfies

What if monsters took selfies? That's the question I have been exploring with my new series of drawings and paintings. I've been drawing full bodied monsters for a while now, but the compositions always seem so stagnant since I don't put in any background.

So, I began exploring close-up views. I've completed four ink drawings that I have added watercolor paint and colored pencil to, and I've completed four acrylic paintings on panel. They're all 6"x9", but I'm looking to possibly paint larger ones. If you're in the Northern Virginia area, stop by the Studio Tour this weekend from 10-5 both Saturday and Sunday, and check them out!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Letting Go: Part 2

Over the last week, I've been sorting, cleaning, organizing, and purging a lot of stuff in my classroom, and I've been able to let go of a lot things from my 20 years of teaching. That letting go has carried over to my studio as well, as I have been getting the studio ready for next weekend's Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour. I've been sorting and purging a lot of stuff from the studio - old artwork, old supplies, old fodder - as I have been cleaning and organizing. I've worked quite a number of hours, and still have a long way to go. The photo above was taken last night after spending a few hours working. I did even more today, and the studio is a complete shambles. Slowly, though, I am getting it put back together.

Even though the Studio Tour is a great motivation to clean and organize the studio, it goes deeper than just trying to get ready for next weekend. It's about getting ready to make the transition into a new chapter of my life, and I am looking to declutter, to simplify, and to let go. It's a new beginning, and I want to make a fresh start. I don't want to let the things of the past clutter the life that I am living now. So, if I haven't used something in a couple of years, if something doesn't serve a purpose for my life now, I'm letting it go.

I still have a ways to go, but the studio will be ready for next Saturday.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Letting Go

We all carry around so much baggage, both emotional and physical. There comes a point when we must let it go and stop carrying it. In a small way I have started to let go of some things.

For twenty years, I have been an art teacher, and I have filled my classroom with a lot of stuff - books, papers, objects, art, and so much more. But with embarking on a new chapter in my life, I needed to go through all of that stuff and let so much of it go. When I transferred schools four years ago, I sorted and purged. I let go of a lot of stuff then, but I still ended up with forty boxes and bins of stuff. That was four years ago, and I know that I have accumulated even more, but I don’t have the room to keep it all. After a while I just feel like all of these things are just holding me down and holding me back.

I began to sort and purge today with the goal that within a couple of weeks, I’ll just have a few boxes to move from my classroom. I plan on giving away all that I can, and I know that there are some eager teachers in my district that would love to have some of the myriad of things I have accumulated over twenty years, but there’s still a lot to get rid of, to recycle, and to trash. Over the years, my classroom became a place to put much of my old artwork - paintings, sculptures, and experiments from college and my first few years of teaching - things that I didn’t want or need at home, but things I didn’t want to get rid of. Some of these things are more than twenty years old, and I just don’t need them. I don’t have room for them, and they’re not things that I would sell or donate or give away. I no longer wish to hold onto the past, so these things need to go.

I began letting go of some of it today. I quickly filled a recycling bin with old files, miscellaneous papers, and outdated booklets. Those things were easy to part with, but I was surprised at how other things stirred up some emotions. I think it was part nostalgia, part fear, part sadness, and as I dumped some old artwork, notes, and projects into recycling (mostly things from college - things that I do not need and will never use), I felt some powerful emotions. It was hard to let these things go. Maybe part of it was that I spent so much time on these things. Maybe they just symbolized the past that is long in the past, but still some how still with me. But I let these things go, and much more.

I wanted to make the letting go more of a ritual - more symbolic, so I grabbed a few pieces and brought them home. In many ways these three things represent different stages of my past. The large head made of thin plywood was done in college during the spring of my freshmen year - 24 years ago. The red, orange, and yellow 3-D portrait was something I made from colored paper about 10 years ago when I taught high school, and the wooden tower was something that I did about a month ago as my elementary students worked building wooden sculptures. All things from the past - all things that I no longer need - all things I no longer want to hold on to.

I placed them in my fire pit in the back yard, and I set them ablaze. It didn’t take long for them to burn to ash. It was cathartic to see these things disappear - to let them go in such a concrete way.

In the end they were just things, and too often the things we have weigh us down. We all have baggage, and we seem to haul it from place to place. There comes a time when we just get tired of lugging it around and we need to lighten the load and just let go.

Here’s to letting go of the past, focusing on the present, and moving into an unknown future.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Inked Monster #2

Another monster ink drawing. I have started adding watercolor to a few in this series, and I'll share more later. But in the meantime I wanted to offer a resource. Someone on Facebook had suggested that these guys would make for a great coloring book, and hey, if you want to print them out and color them, then be my guest. BUT, what if you made your own monster? That's even more creative and meaningful. So, I'm sharing a link to my Monster Maker PDF. This is a simple resource that I put together for my students to use. Feel free to download it, and use it to make your own monster, and go on over to Facebook, and share! Happy monster making!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Monster Obsession

I must say that my fascination with monsters has turned into a full-blown obsession. I've made a few more polymer clay sculptures (that I still need to bake), and I've been sketching and drawing even more. I started on a series of 6"x9" drawings on Strathmore 400 Mixed Media Paper. I began with a quick sketch in pencil, and then inked it with my Faber Castell Pitt Pens. My plan is to add watercolor paint to them, but I don't know if I'll be deliberate with the color or a bit more free. Since the Pitt Pens are india ink and waterproof, I'm hoping that I can paint over the lines without any bleeding and smearing. Above is one of the first monsters in this series. I'll share more later.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Journal Time

It's been a while since I spent a significant time working in my journal, so last night I pulled out the Inktense pencils and began layering on these two pages.

After the pencil dried, I drew a slew of monsters. I did a few other things in the journal as well, and it felt good to work in it for a bit.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Monster Invasion

Well my first attempts at polymer clay monsters this weekend weren't as successful as I would have liked. Although I've done a lot with ceramic clay and Model Magic over the years, I have never used polymer clay, and it does have a bit of a learning curve. First of all, it took a while to get use to the clay. I first tried Sculpey III, but I felt like it was a little too soft, so I tried Premo Sculpey, and Fimo. Each of these has their own issues, but after a while I began to catch onto the clay, and feel like my later attempts were more successful as I figured out how to best use the clay.

Then there's my attempt at baking the clay. My first attempt at baking ended in three of the four pieces cracking - one had only a slight crack, but the other two had significant cracks. Only the purple guy above survived. But after following some advice someone gave me on Facebook (Thanks, Glaucia), I was more successful. I ended up with six that survived out of ten. I'm thinking that my success rate will go up as I make more. Depending on how many more I make, I might have to put some for sale on the website. I'll share more of the monsters over the next few days.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Little Monsters

Over the past week or so, I've been using Model Magic with my elementary students. I couldn't resist making a few things myself including the three monsters and elephant above (yes, the elephant is wearing a fez). I had kind of forgotten how much I love working in 3D. Although I work primarily with drawing and painting materials, I do find a lot of satisfaction working in three-dimensions. My foray with my students made me want to create some things in a bit more durable material. So, I went out and bought some polymer clay, and made the four monsters below. I've never worked with polymer clay, so there's bit of learning curve, but I'm pretty happy with the results. I'm looking forward to making more.