Monday, November 24, 2008

Product of the Week - JFJ euro Sticker

It's been a couple of weeks since I was able to feature a product off our website. So here it is. The Journal Fodder Junkies Euro sticker. For just $3.00 each, you can proudly proclaim yourself a Journal Fodder Junkie. Slap one on the front of your journal, the bumper of your car, the window of your bedroom, or nearly anywhere else. Visit the online shop here, and find the sticker and much more.

Friday, November 21, 2008

IF - Opinion

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

Stop dreaming about life, and start living the dream...

This past weekend, Dave and I attended the Virginia Art Education Association's annual Fall Professional Development Conference in Centreville, VA. We ended up doing three presentations/workshops total, and we left the conference feeling like we had a definite impact on a number of people. And just as with the North Carolina conference the previous weekend, we had a number of repeat "customers". These conferences, presentations, and workshops never fail to reinforce that we are onto something.

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

You make a lot of ripples dropping pebbles in the pond...

Dave and I headed down to Asheville, NC this past week for the North Carolina Art Education Association's Fall Professional Development Conference. As usual, we had a great time. We saw a lot of familiar faces, and met some new ones. We reconnected with past participants who have taken our workshops and seminars, and made some new connections.

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

JFJ Invade Staunton, VA

It's been a busy couple of weeks. Dave and I have been getting ready for a couple of upcoming conferences. But I am finally getting a chance to post photos from a one night art exhibit that we were part of in Staunton, VA on October 24th. We were invited to hang work by Kronos Gallery owner Kevin Postupack in a temporary exhibit space for one night. I hung ten pieces and actually sold one. I was the one person that sold anything that night. It was definitely a great experience, and I heartedly thank Kevin for including me.
Dave in front of his mixed-media piece "Eastlake"

Me in front of my mixed-media relief "Ampersand"

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

IF - Vacant

This two-page spread began with layering VACANT shapes using various colors of watercolor pencil and water-soluble graphite. Like many others, I thought of "vacant eyes", but as I worked and began to write, I thought a little deeper. I wondered what it was that made certain folks so vapid and vacant. We as a society distract ourselves with all the bells and whistles of technology, with inane entertainment, and with insipid gossip, and we very frequently are not alone with ourselves. I think that much of the stupidity in the world - at least in the U.S. results from many people not getting in touch with themselves and finding the distractions of life much more pleasing to look at and deal with. Getting to know ourselves takes a lot of work, a lot of introspection, and a lot of courage. We often find that we truly are not the people we want to be. It's much easier to sit in front of the tv or the computer or cell phone and not confront the spaces behind our eyes and under our breast bones. Perhaps we need a map to ourselves.

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.