Friday, January 30, 2009

IF - Flawed

This is my journal page for this week's Illustration Friday prompt "flawed". I had a strong preconceived idea of how I wanted this page to turn out, and I did not do my customary writing before hand. I wanted to convey the idea of how we as humans are so very afraid to admit that we are flawed and do almost anything to hide those flaws from the world. By denying our flaws and our mistakes we truly deny ourselves.

But I feel that this page doesn't quite convey that. Instead, it turned out to convey more of a message of being consumed by our flaws. The face, which is a loose self-portrait, dissolves into the background as it is overwhelmed by the various elements. I approached this page in a very spontaneous way keeping my technique loose and "flawed".

Despite not turning out they way I had envisioned, I really like this piece, and it seems very different from my usual pages.

Friday, January 23, 2009

IF - Climbing

This week's Illustration topic "climbing" sparked one of my most conceptual responses. I began, as has become my custom, by writing about the topic, and I ending up writing about how I have spent a lot of time lately "climbing" inside of myself and doing a lot of introspection. So, I wanted to convey the notion of sifting through layers of thoughts and memories - an excavation of sorts. I wanted a shallow space that had different layers and levels - like uncovering various depths. I began with quite a few layers of watercolor pencil and finished with colored pencil.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

There is no such thing as coincidence, but synchronicity is a different story.

"How do you start a page?" has to be the number one question we get. So besides the basic art techniques as listed in the "Encountering the Blank Page" posts, I thought that I would share a page that I recently began.

More often than not, I begin pages with something random having no idea or theme for the page. And even the above page was started with a random piece of fodder. The blue and green rectangle is actually a random 4x6 piece that I had started months ago as a small work of art, but one which I had not developed too far. So about a week ago, I simply glued it into this page with no idea where this page would go. But sometimes in the early stages of a page, I catch a hold of an idea, a word, or a theme. Recently, I wrote about how I don't believe in coincidences where randomness and chance bring us together. I believe instead that we are where we need to be. Our choices, our decisions, our paths have brought us to those points, and if we simply look around, we can notice that there are many, many remarkable learning opportunities all around us, and we should not be surprised when we meet people with whom we just "click". At the mention of this, a friend brought up the word "synchronicity" and the idea of how total strangers can lead separate lives with many parallels and similarities. And at times those lives can converge.

So, I began stenciling the words on this page, and looking up their definitions in a couple of dictionaries as well as looking up the words in a thesaurus. The blue lists of words are from the thesaurus. I'm not certain where this page will go next, but it has a good start.

So, words are often a good way to start. They can be random, meaningful, powerful, or even silly. They can be stenciled, written or collaged. If we pay attention, we can discover so many opportunities for growth and for our journal pages.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

IF - Pale

This week's Illustration Friday topic led to this page in my large journal. I began with some word association with the prompt "pale" which lead me to ghosts and apparitions and the idea of being invisible. As I went through a list of words and phrases that I associated with "pale", an idea solidified. I caught a hold of the idea how some people go go through their lives being rather invisible to others. They are afraid or uncomfortable being out front or the center of attention. They are happy in the background.

But this page has a lot of personal significance to me. At times, I feel almost like a split personality - the one that likes to be out front, center stage, and the one that likes to be in the background observing the situation. I can be rather shy and introverted under certain circumstances which is hard for some people to believe especially with my years of teaching and presenting workshops and seminars. Those are very outward, front and center tasks. But there is, like with most people, a hidden side a quiet side to me. But over the last 4 or 5 years, I have learned to shine.

And this is a call for people to stop being ghosts and barely there in their lives, and to break out, stop hiding, and to SHINE. We all have amazing things to share with the world - what a shame not to share our precious gifts.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I wanted to share a work of art that I created for an ATC swap. It's a large work that I'll cut up to create each card, and I'll be able to get 30 cards from this one work of art. Creating 30 separate pieces was a bit daunting, so creating one piece was a bit more manageable. Of course the idea of slicing this thing up into 30 pieces is a bit scary. But the swap is for the members of the last NCCAT group, and it's all about sharing and connecting.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

IF - Contained

It's been a while since I had the time to focus on an Illustration Friday prompt. So here is this week's for "contained". I began this two page spread in a small collaborative journal by listing words that I associated with the word "contained". Immediately a boxed in image of a figure popped into my mind. As I worked on this piece, I allowed my mind to reflect on the notion of feeling boxed in and struggling to be free of that.
We box ourselves in. We are boxed in by other people. We build walls and are relegated to roles and identities that may or may not be true to our true identities. We struggle to break down these walls and to break free from these roles and boxes. But we can become inconvenient for other people in our lives as we break out of their definitions of who we are. Contained and not allowed to grow, to evolve, or to flourish. Strange notions, but ever so common in our lives. How do we break free from our boxes? How do we grow, yet keep those important people in our lives? How do we become more of who we are without alienating those that love and care about us?

It's a struggle.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Artistic Accomplices: Part 2

I've never been good at doing round-robin or traveling journals. I'm a huge procrastinator, and I know that I would be the cause of a journal jam and back log. So, last February when our NCCAT group decided to do a round robin, I declined to participate. But during our last NCCAT group in December, I began a collaborative journal with one of the participants figuring that it would be much easier for me to share a single journal with one other person. So, during that week, I bought a small journal and began a number of pages based on the connections and the content of the week. When I left NCCAT, I left the journal with Erin, aka Bean, and after three and half weeks, I am in possession of it again.
I am blown away, by what she has done. The really interesting thing is that we have set no real rules, and allow each other the freedom to work on pages that speak to us. So, this allows us to add to pages the other has started, and we don't do separate pages like is typical of round robins. It is interesting to see how our two styles have melded - to wonder where what I did ends and what she did begins making it a truly collaborative process. The two spreads above are truly collaborative pieces, and Erin built on top of what I had started. I have gone back a bit and added more.
The above spread is predominantly my work, and the spread below is predominately her work. But I see all of these spreads as being in process - much like life, and susceptible to evolution and growth. Other pages were started, but are merely in the beginning states waiting for two different hands to bring depth and meaning.

I am very excited to be sharing this journey, and it has me re-energized about my art and my journal. I thank Erin - a new Artistic Accomplice.