Monday, December 29, 2008
It has been a strange and wondrous few weeks since NCCAT, and my head still seems to be spinning. The idea of connection has been on my mind lately - for the last few months, and with some time off away from teaching school, I have been thinking even more about it as I have been working in the journal and on my own art more this last week. Art is an amazing way to connect with others, and I am a firm believer that anyone has the capacity and the creativity to create visual art. Too often I hear people spout off about not having talent. But I believe that "talent" is just an excuse not to try. "I don't have the talent, so why bother even trying," these people seem to tell themselves. But that's another topic for another post.
But it seems that more and more, we are coming into contact with people who simply have not created in a long time, and the visual journal has allowed them to reconnect with the creator within. It seems all too easy for people to lose touch with their inner artist, crafter, or creator. Inertia has them running here and there or simply vegging in front of the tv or simply neglecting that part of themselves. It has always been a great gift to have Dave as an Artistic Accomplice - to keep each other motivated - to urge on the creator - to help each other stay moving artistically. The above two-page spread in one of my small Moleskine was a collaborative piece between Dave and myself. It was probably started at some restaurant with being passed back and forth while waiting for food to arrive. It's nothing grand, but it is a way to stay connected with each other and with art.
Finding artistic accomplices and creative collaborators is a key component of the Journal Fodder Junkies, and this, in part, drives this blog. Unfortunately, I don't post as often as I wish I could, but inertia is difficult to overcome whether it's working in the journal or posting to the blog. But it is my sincerest wish as 2008 winds down, that I can be an Artistic Accomplice to others out there, and urge on the artist within. We do not create art in a vacuum. We create art as a way to connect to ourselves and our humanity.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
As is usually the norm with the NCCAT experience, we had many epiphanies and cathartic moments during the five days. Tears were shed as these teachers got back in touch with the most important things to them. It is an amazing and emotional experience with many finally getting much needed time to find themselves. And this past week was exceptionally powerful - for some it was a life altering experience, and many strong connections and friendships were forged.
The above photo is from the last day as participants spend a few last minutes looking through each other journals.
Another important aspect of NCCAT is not so much the content, but the time to be with one another, and it has become our tradition to indoctrinate willing participants in the game of Farkle (also spelled farkel). It is a dice game played with 6 dice that Dave learned, and we have played it for years. It can only be described as Yahtzee "on crack." There seem to be different versions out there, and we have set rules that we play by. The strange rules, the fun, and the laughter, are all a good compliment to the emotional days, and Farkle becomes an important aspect for some participants. Above is Bean's beautiful six-dice Farkle - when no dice score - and the first of the evening.
We are grateful to the center for allowing us the opportunity. We are gratefully to Center Fellow Donna Glee Williams for bringing us there and Program Associate Tootie Watson for all of her work throughout the week. We are also grateful to the 22 courageous individuals who now share the visual journal journey. More info on NCCAT can be found at http://www.nccat.org/.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
It is only $15.00 plus S&H and is available on our website here along with other prints and merchandise. Using Paypal, we are able to accept PayPal as well as all major credit and debit cards.
Friday, December 5, 2008
This page was started with some watercolor pencil, and I then did some stream of consciousness writing about how many people want to be the same or similar to others. I mentioned how many identify with a group collective like a university, a place of work, or a sports team. For many people being a part of this collective is key to their own personal identity. I have always had trouble identifying with the group and have always preferred to identify with the individual.
For example, I am a devoted Pittsburgh Steelers fan with growing up in the Pittsburgh area during their first 4 Super Bowl wins. But I own one t-shirt, one novelty sign, and one button, and I don't say, "We won" or "We lost". I'm not on the team. I don't receive a check from the Steelers.
But many people do identify strongly with these groups. And advertisers and big business try all they can to get people to buy and consume the same things. Think about the iPods dominance on the digital music device market.
Conform and Consume became words that I was attracted to and I stenciled them in. I then built up several layers of watercolor and watercolor pencil, as well as ink and collage. The packaging tape transfer of the Dalai Lama came next, and it created a strange juxtaposition next to the words "conform" and "consume". But then I turned each into a phrase - "Consume experiences" and "Conform to your own principles". The blue ink lines were really the last big things I added. They remind me of rivers or blood vessels or even roads. But they represent the connections that we have with others.
We need to celebrate our differences and our uniquenesses while understanding that our similarities are much more general and basic - our humanity, our compassion, our desire to be happy, our resilience, and our ability to overcome our differences. We cannot break into factions and groups with an us versus them mentality.
This page is unfinished, but I wanted to post it before I left for the weekend. I'm sure it will evolve.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Sometimes it's just a matter of being around new and different people. And Dave and I will have the chance to do all of these when we travel to Cullowhee, North Carolina to teach for a week at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT). This will be our fourth year to teach a visual journaling seminar there. It is always a great experience, and we are looking forward to it.
So, even though you may not have an NCCAT to go to and recharge and overcome creative stagnation, break out, dive in, dig deep, and search for new ideas. Look online, join a group, splatter paint, and have fun.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
After a couple of busy weeks, I was able to work on an IF topic. This two-page spread began with some brainstorming on the word "opinion" which led me to reflect on beliefs. After writing about connection (a topic that has much been on my mind lately), I began working on these pages that already had some map-like imagery. Slowly I built up layers of watercolor pencil, graphite, acrylic paint, and paint marker. I even traced several of my students' hands.
Like many of my IF pages, this one bears little resemblance to the topic. But as I reflected, I wrote about how many people do not believe that we are all connected. They feel that they are truly individuals isolated from others and that actions have little bearing on others. Many people in essence are rather egocentric and find it difficult to empathize with others.
We, as a human race, at times find it much easier to fall in on ourselves rather than to reveal ourselves to others. What a sad world when we cannot feel that connection to others - when we are so scared, even when surrounded by people, that we cannot and will not reach out to others.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The above page was started during the conference, and I worked on it a bit over the last three days. It is still a work in progress and will certainly undergo further transformation. But it's about the connections that we continue to make and the growth we continue to see in ourselves and the people we meet.
Thank you to all the folks who paid us a visit the last two weekends. We appreciate the support. And thank you to all the folks who are not art educators, but feel a connection with what we do. The visual journal is much larger than art education, and we are always looking to connect to people from all walks of life.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Each time we do these conferences and seminars, the power of the journal and its life transforming nature get brought home. Dave and I know what the visual journal means to us, but to hear so many folks come up and say how much the journal has changed their teaching and changed their lives, leaves me speechless.
I thank everyone that was a part of our weekend. Dave and I are grateful to old friends and new ones, and we see the ripples in the pond expanding outward.
The above image is from one of the collaboration sessions over the weekend. See, we have a habit of pulling out our mini journals and pocket sketchbooks and passing them around at lunch and dinner. There are always some interesting things that get thrown into these collaborative pieces.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
This is the piece that I sold. It was a piece that I had forgotten about, and as I was rummaging through my studio, I found it and decided to include it in the show. It's a mixed-media piece on a 12"x12" canvas.
This is the section where I hung my ten pieces - all the colorful pieces in the center of the photo.
So, we hung out the night at the exhibition, talked to a lot of people, and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. So, if you are ever passing through Staunton, Virginia, and you like contemporary, cutting-edge art check out Kevin and Kronos.
Monday, November 3, 2008
So this week's entry was topped off with some colored pencil and some ramblings highlighted with some metallic gold paint pen. And it is a call for all of us to face our fears, dream big, and follow that dream instead of being mindless sheep following the herds of consumerism and celebrity.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
The stream of consciousness wrtiting is a great creative writing technique, and it is a good way to "brain dump" all the stuff that floats around in our minds. We use a timed, 7 minute writing that seems to be long enough to get at the heart of an issue, idea, or concern.
Try allowing a spontaneous writing to be the spark for a page.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
I've been inspired as of late, by the line work of milo aka Michelle White. I've done some experiments in a pocket-sized Moleskine sketchbook, and I used the same type of lines to begin these pages, but with watercolor pencil. I slowly built up layer after layer of indigo blue leaving the white rectangles as places for the eye to rest. And I finished off the spread with colored pencil allowing the rich, vibrant pigment to build up in select areas of the pages. I tried to do something different by using very limited media, color palette, and concept.
It's good to change things up, experiment, and simplify.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Each two-page spread was started with some random colors and techniques, and there is no preconceived idea of what these pages will evolve into. You can use any material or technique. Try drawing random lines and shapes to ease into a page. Or collaging random elements to a page. Or using random words. But whatever you do, allow it to be random. You are planting the seeds for pages, and with the right care and nuturing those seeds can grow into rich, beautiful, grown-up pages.
For more ideas check out the "How-to Posts" to the right - especially the ones labeled "Encountering the Blank Page."
So, when you are at a loss, try something random.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Although the figure is bound, it struggles against the tangle of lines, and stretches upward. Despite the naysayers and the unbelievers, we all must dream and struggle against the ties that bind us to mediocrity.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
This blog has been up and running for about a year and a half now, and I'm finally figuring out what I want it to really be. I posted a lot when I first started because I had so much to share, but over the months, with the commitments of life and feeling like I didn't have much, I really hadn't posted much. I really want this to be a place that people can come and find some inspiration for journaling as well as for art in general.
So, over the coming months, I am going to try to ramp up my contributions to the blog in a few different ways. First, I want to continue with Illustration Friday. It is a challenge and a push to journal more often, and I know that it has drawn more folks to the blog. Second, I want to do a bit more self promotion and encourage people to stop by the Journal Fodder Junkies website and online shop by posting a "Product of the Week" type thing. And finally, I want to include more posts that are more of journal prompts - ideas, techniques, and concepts to inspire people to work in their journals and try new things.
I am also very appreciative of all of you who have taken time to visit the Journal Fodder Junkies. So, I want to thank all of those people who have stopped by over the last 18 months or so, and a special thank you and shout out goes to all those bloggers and individuals who have linked to this blog or the JFJ website.
A special, special thank you goes out to a friend I have known since college and who has been constant encouragement, and that would be the Turtleboy himself, Go Flying Turtle blogger Steve Loya. Steve encourage me to start blogging, and has also done a great job of helping to promote the JFJ. Stop by his blog, and read the Artist Spotlight he did with me.
Please find a list below of blogs and sites that have linked to the JFJ or included a mention to us. I encourage you to stop by and have a look around. And if I missed your site or blog, please let me know.
Friday, October 3, 2008
My mom was the head baker at a local grocery store in Washington, Pa., and she is a terrific cook and baker. I still consider her chocolate chip cookies to be the best. But as I thought of my mom's baking, I began to really latch onto this idea of "home". So, I opened my journal and began to draw the house shapes in watercolor pencil, and slowly the page took shape. In the end, the page seems to have very little connection to "sugary", but it was all about the mental and emotional connections that I made to come to the final page. Even when I think of the final theme of "comfort", I think how so much comfort food is the sugary, fatty, delicious stuff. So, this page has a bit of a dark side, because I have always struggled with my weight, and my craving for those comfort foods. Also, I came to the idea of "roots" and the notion that sometimes we are stuck in the past unwilling to uproot ourselves. But that's a whole other idea for another post.
So all in all, it was a challenge, but a good challenge.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
I was very fortunate to see two exhibitions of Cornell's work over the last three or four years. The first was at the Art Institute of Chicago. They have several rooms of his work, and it was the first time, I was able to view so many of his pieces in one place. I believe that these are part of the museum's permanent collection. The other was a retrospective that showed at the Smithsonian's American Art Museum in D.C. This exhibition brought together some of Cornell's most famous pieces as well as many of his collages and early works. What really rounded out the retrospective was all the "fodder". When Cornell passed away, he left a basement studio packed with boxes and files of images, objects, and all sorts of random things that he used to create his pieces. Photos of his studio show shelves lined with these boxes. It was a nice glance into his process being able to see his ephemera as well as pieces only partially completed. I was able to go the the retrospective on three different occasions, and I consider myself very lucky.
So, the above page is a little homage to Joseph Cornell with the image of Cornell done as a packaging tape transfer. The page was completed a couple of years ago in Journal #9.
Friday, September 26, 2008
So this packed journal page is my first foray into IF. I hope that it is the first of many.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Feel free to print these and use them as you see fit. Post to the Flickr group if you like, so that we can all see what you have done. Happy Foddering.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
It's an interesting story (at least I think it is) of how she ended up publishing some of my pages. Back in the spring, I was searching the web for new and different opportunities for the Journal Fodder Junkies, and I have know about Teesha's Artfest for many years. I emailed her, told her a little about what Dave and I do, and asked about getting an application to be instructors for Artfest 2009. She emailed back saying that she was dropping the info in the mail and asked if I had a website. I steered her to the blog and to my personal Flickr page, and she emailed asking if I would like to be published in her magazine. I sent her some images, and lo and behold, three glossy pages of my stuff. I know that the magazine has led at least one person to the blog and ultimately to the website, and I'm hoping that it will help get the word out about the Journal Fodder Junkies.
Thanks very much, Teesha.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Now there are still a lot of details to work out and things are in the earliest of stages, but as of now the book (yet untitled) will likely come out in the Spring of 2010. It seems like a long time away, but as I have been assured on several occasions, nothing in the book business moves swiftly. So if you are interested in the book but can't wait that long, we do have our booklet as mentioned in a previous post.
And that leads me to our other news, the JFJ website has been updated and tweaked, and now can accept online orders for the booklet as well as other merchandise and art prints. We have set up features through PayPal that will allow for the acceptance of all major credit cards and PayPal accounts. Also we would appreciate any feedback about the website in order to make it more informative, more interactive, and easier to use. Please email us.
Thanks for all the support, and we will post updates about the book as they come up.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Each booklet is 37 pages and full color. Each booklet is color laser-printed on quality 28lb paper with card stock front and back covers, and each booklet is bound with a comb binding.
If interested in purchasing a booklet, please email me - just go to View Full Profile, and we'll work out the details. If you have any questions, please email me as well.